Tell the Truth (song)

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"Tell the Truth"
Song by Derek and the Dominos from the album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Released December 1970
Recorded August–September 1970, at Criteria Studios, Miami
Genre Blues rock
Length 6:39 (Album)/ 3:19 (Single)/ 9:27 (Jam)
Label Polydor, Atco
Writer Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock
Producer Tom Dowd
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs track listing
"Key to the Highway"
"Tell the Truth"
"Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?"

"Tell the Truth" is the eighth song from the album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos. The song was composed primarily by keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, with guitarist Eric Clapton adding the last verse.[1]


Just twenty-two at the time, Whitlock wrote the song during the early summer of 1970, while living temporarily with Clapton:


As admirers of Sam and Dave, Clapton and Whitlock styled the song as a "call and response" with the pair singing alternating verses. "Tell the Truth" was recorded on June 14, 1970 as the first original song of the Dominos. The band's then line-up featured Dave Mason as co-lead guitarist, and debuted the song in concert four days later at the Lyceum Ballroom. Joining Whitlock, Clapton, Mason, drummer Jim Gordon, and bassist Carl Radle was Beatle George Harrison on guitar.[3] With Wall of Sound producer Phil Spector at the console, "Tell the Truth" was recorded as a single at Apple Records, with "Roll It Over" as the B side.[4] This version is played at a faster tempo than the version that would be on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, and is featured on Eric Clapton's four-CD compilation Crossroads.

In August 1970, this song was re-recorded in the studio in Miami with Tom Dowd as producer. Dowd and the members of the band struggled with the song until Duane Allman was added to the group after Clapton and members of Derek and the Dominos met Duane Allman in a concert. Immediately after the concert, Duane Allman joined the band in the studio and, soon after, recorded "Tell the Truth".[5] With Allman's slide guitar providing a counterpoint to the melody played by Whitlock and Clapton, Dowd and the band were finally satisfied with the song. Soon after, Clapton called Robert Stigwood, record executive of RSO, and told him not to release the original version of "Tell the Truth" as a single.[5] In the USA, Atco Records pressed the 45 and released it but the record was immediately withdrawn. That single is now a sought after collectors item. The two versions of "Tell the Truth" were later released on History of Eric Clapton (1972).

Whitlock included an upbeat version on his second solo album Raw Velvet in 1972. This was recently included in the 2013 compilation 'Bobby Whitlock: where there's a will there's a way. The ABC Dunhill Recordings'. Musicians on that recording included all the Dominos, plus George Harrison, Jim Price, Bobby Keys and Rick Vito.

Live performances[edit]

"Tell the Truth" has been frequently played at Eric Clapton's subsequent concerts. Live versions of the song have been included on several of Clapton's albums as well including the deluxe release of 461 Ocean Boulevard, Crossroads Guitar Festival and Live From Madison Square Garden. The song has been sometimes played with and sometimes without the slide part added by Allman. At the Crossroads Festival of 2007, Derek Trucks played the Allman licks. In the Live from Madison Square Garden concert of 2008, with Steve Winwood, there is no slide guitar but Clapton plays a longer solo than what was originally recorded in the studio.


  1. ^ Schumacher, Michael, Crossroads: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton, page 143, Hyperion, ISBN 0-7868-6074-X, 1995.
  2. ^ Reid, Jan, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos, page 104,Holtzbrinck Publishers, ISBN 978-1-59486-369-1, 2006.
  3. ^ Castleman, Harry; Podrazik, Walter J. (1977). "1970 – And God Had Indigestion". All Together Now – The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975 (Second ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. p. 92. ISBN 0-345-25680-8. 
  4. ^ Jan Reid, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos, pp. 103–105.
  5. ^ a b Jan Reid, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos, p. 123.

External links[edit]