Spotlight: Bobby Whitlock & CoCo Carmel
Derek's still-standing Domino and his new vocal counterpart
8pm, Cedar Door
Out steps the host of the The Johnny Cash Show, barrel-chested in a blue tuxedo shirt and black velvet vest.
"If you detect some country blues pickin' in this song you're about to hear, you're right," announces Cash. "Played by one of the finest musical groups in the world, welcome Bobby Whitlock, Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, and Eric Clapton – Derek & the Dominos!"
Up cues track 12 on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, "It's Too Late," Whitlock yowling ferocious harmonies at the piano. His close-up confirms who possessed the quartet's best voice, it soon becoming clear what isn't always on the LP: The Dominoes sported two vocalists, only one of them blessed with a total soul exhale.
"When he introduced us at first, he said, 'Ladies and gentleman, from London, England, Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock ... Derek & the Dominos!'" recalls Whitlock from his home in Austin.
"We're getting ready to start, and I went: 'Wait a minute! I'm not from England, and neither is he, and neither is he.' I said, 'My family's in the front row. I'm from Memphis, Tennessee!'
"And Johnny Cash started laughing."
In fact, Radle and Gordon, one dead and the other long imprisoned for killing his mother with a hammer and knife, were both from Oklahoma. Honorary fifth Domino, Duane Allman, another Southern epitaph. Whitlock's one of the last Dominos standing, only now he's got a new vocal counterpoint, wife CoCo Carmel. Once married to Whitlock's former employer Delaney Bramlett, the multi-instrumentalist and Whitlock moved to Austin in winter 2006 from Nashville. Their debut studio recording, Lovers, came out Valentine's Day and closes with a new "Layla."
"After 'It's Too Late,' Johnny and Carl Perkins came up, and we did 'Matchbox' and 'Blue Suede Shoes.' After that was over, they let all the country folk out, and there was people lined two deep, twice around the block, at the Ryman Auditorium. They let all the rockers in, and [the Dominos] rocked that joint for about two hours."
With guitarists Stephen Bruton, David Grissom, and hopefully Eric Johnson backing Whitlock and Carmel live, expect the South to rise again.