Thorn Tree In The Garden

My fascination for Layla (the album and the girl 🙂 ) must be coming out of your ears.
But bear with me just a bit more. . .

Bobby Whitlock

Thorn Tree In The Garden   (Layla)
There’s a thorn tree in the garden, if you know just what I mean,
And I hate to hurt your feelings but it’s not the way it seems,
‘Cause I miss her.

She’s the only girl I’ve cared for, the only one I’ve known.
And no one ever shared more love than we’ve known.
And I miss her.

But it all seems so strange to see,
That she’d never turn her back on me
And leave without a last goodbye.
And if she winds up walking the streets,
Loving every other man she meets
Who’ll be the one to answer why?
Lord, I hope it’s not me, it’s not me.

And if I never see her face again, I never hold her hand.
And if she’s in somebody’s arms, I know I’ll understand
But I miss that girl. I still miss that girl.

Maybe someday soon, somewhere.


Was this Bob Whitlock’s own tribute to Patti (Layla)?
Was this written for one of their groupies?
Or was this for that long lost childhood sweetheart?
Guess again . . . this was for his dog!

From the net:
Whitlock: “I was living at The Plantation in the valley – you remember the shootout at The Plantation in the Leon Russell song. I was living there with Indian Head Davis and Chuck Blackwell and Jimmy Constantine – there were about 13 of us in this house in Sherman Oaks in the valley. I had a little dog and a little cat. One guy told me to get rid of my dog and cat because there wasn’t room. I took my cat out to Delaney’s house in Hawthorn, and when I got back my little dog was gone. This one guy in the house had taken my dog and done away with it.
That was my only friend – this was the first time I had been anywhere outside of Macon, Georgia or the Memphis area. All of this was new to me, and I have an animal thing. I wanted to punch him out, and I thought, ‘No, you can’t do that,’ so I went to my bedroom and sat down. I was thinking about a snake in the grass and some other ideas and I thought, ‘He’s the thorn tree in my garden.’ I had this beautiful garden built in my consciousness where I was safe and secure with my little dog and my cat, and there’s this thorn tree – that would be the guy who had my little dog put away.
I wrote the song and it just came out of me. I hadn’t even put it on paper, and I went out of my bedroom and knocked on his door. I said, ‘Come here, I want to play you something.’ We sat down at the table in the kitchen and I played him that song. He said, ‘Wow, Bobby, that’s beautiful.’ I said, ‘You’re the thorn tree. There’s going to come a day when I have the opportunity to record this song, and the whole world will know about it. You’ll know what you did to me for the rest of your life.’ I didn’t realize it was going to go on the end of one of the biggest-selling records of all time. That was the furthest thing from my mind.”


A bit more Thorn Tree trivia:
Layla was produced/engineered by the legendary Tom Dowd.
Before he died of Leukemia, Tom Dowd did an interview in Producer magazine where he called this “The Perfect Stereo Recording.”

Whitlock:“Eric and Duane and Jim and Carl and myself all got around one microphone. Tom Down came out and placed us just so; everybody was a certain distance in and out, and we did it just like that. I was sitting on a bar stool – Eric was to my left, Duane was directly across from me, Carl was to my right and Jim was between Duane and Eric with a little bell. Carl was playing a pedal bass, Duane was on Dobro and Eric was playing acoustic guitar with a pick next to me. I was picking with my fingers.



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