Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tell the Truth

First released (as a single) by Derek and the Dominos (1970).
Hit album version re-recorded by Derek and the Dominos (1970).
Also recorded by Bobby Whitlock (1972).

From the wiki: “‘Tell the Truth’ was composed primarily by keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, with guitarist Eric Clapton adding the last verse. As admirers of Sam and Dave, Clapton and Whitlock styled the song as a ‘call and response’ with the pair singing alternating verses.

“The original version of ‘Tell the Truth’ was recorded in London on 18 June 1970 during the sessions for George Harrison’s triple album All Things Must Pass. Four days before the session, Derek and the Dominos, with Dave Mason as second guitarist, had played ‘Tell the Truth’ at their debut concert, held at London’s Lyceum Ballroom.

“The Harrison sessions marked the first recording of ‘To Tell the Truth’ by Derek and the Dominos. Produced by Phil Spector, this original, faster version of the song featured guitar contributions from both Harrison and Mason. It was issued as Derek and the Dominos’ debut single, in September 1970, although the band had the release withdrawn.

“Author Jan Reid writes of the London-recorded version: ‘[T]he problem wasn’t Spector’s fabled Wall of Sound engineering control – rather, it sounded as though they sang and played the song about 20 percent too fast. In Spector’s production, the lyrics and the voices of Clapton and Whitlock flew by in meaningless garble: the song lost its insight and sense of humor.’ 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 him in a concert. Following the concert, Allman joined the band at Criteria Studios, in Miami, FL, where they re-recorded “Tell the Truth” on 28 August.

“Clapton subsequently called Robert Stigwood, record executive of RSO, and told him not to issue the original version of ‘Tell the Truth’ as a single. In the United States, Atco Records had already scheduled the London-version to be released on 14 September 1970, but the single was soon withdrawn. The Dowd production of the song then appeared as the opening song on side three of the Layla double album, issued in November 1970.

“Two years later, keyboardist Whitlock recorded an upbeat version of his own of ‘Tell the Truth’ for his second solo album, Raw Velvet (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.”

Derek and the Dominos, “Tell the Truth” album version (1970):

Bobby Whitlock, “Tell the Truth” (1972):

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