|Eric Clapton is
in a unique position, he is both the world's best known rock guitarist
and a bona fide pop star.
with the King
Clapton, B.B. King
What they do here is cover 12 classic
blues songs, many of them staples of King's repertoire, so the title of
this album makes sense. Whether it's the rollicking rock & roll of
the title track, or the acoustic shuffle of "Key to the Highway," or the
sweet notes of "When My Heart Beats Like a Hammer," a real sense of pleasure
comes through on this album, the kind of pleasure one gets from jamming
late at night with a good friend. --Genevieve Williams
[LIVE] Eric Clapton
Clapton caught the "unplugged"
trend just at the right time, when the public was hungry to hear how well
rock stars and their material can hold up when stripped of elaborate production
values. Clapton himself seemed baffled by the phenomenon, especially when
picking up the armload of Grammys Unplugged earned him, including Record
and Song of the Year for "Tears in Heaven," the heart-rending elegy to
his young son, Conor. That song and a reworked version of "Layla" got most
of the attention, but the rest of the album has fine versions of acoustic
blues numbers such as "Malted Milk," "Rollin' & Tumblin', and "Before
You Accuse Me" that make it worth investigating further. --Daniel Durchholz
[ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]
Clapton had already established
himself as a guitar legend by the time he released Slowhand. His heroin
habit long behind him, Clapton's songwriting mastery was fully evident
on the album, particularly in the stunning ballad "Wonderful Tonight."
It fully actualized all of the potential hinted at in his earlier "Promises,"
and Clapton trusted himself enough to slow things down. Some of his most
expressive guitar work can be found throughout this album, not just within
"Wonderful." Ironically enough, Slowhand is probably best known for the
Reason to Cry [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]
More Car: One More Rider (CD & DVD Set) [ENHANCED]
Clapton's first live album since1992's
zeitgeist-capturing Unplugged, is, as one would expect, full of well tailored
highlights from his back-catalog of bristly, well-kept blues. Recorded
in Los Angeles and Tokyo during his 2001 world tour (the accompanying DVD
is taken exclusively from the Los Angeles show), and featuring backing
from the likes of Andy Fairweather-Low and Billy Preston, it's an album
that serves to satisfy both Clapton purists (there's a four-song sequence
of tracks from Pilgrim, shorn of their original anodyne synthesizer embellishments)
and adult pop fans who prefer their blues from the decanter rather than
the bottle ("Tears in Heaven," a sublime "Bell Bottom Blues," a rather
poised, applause-riddled "Layla"). One More Car is an engaging live document
that finds EC far from asleep at the wheel. -K.Maidment
There's a telling subtext to this
retrospective of Eric Clapton blues sides. Culled from recordings cut between
1970 (the Layla sessions) and 1980 (when Clapton cut his final Polydor
album, Another Ticket), these sides finds EC exploring his beloved blues
while in a fragile state of mind and body. After all, he was on heroin
when he concocted Layla, and though he kicked that habit in the early '70s,
he continued to test his tolerance for alcohol throughout the decade. When
you think of the Clapton of the '60s, you think of the fire and ice of
his playing with the Yardbirds, John Mayall, and Cream. When you think
of his '70s playing, it's wearier and perhaps more reflective. (It was
easy to mistake melancholic for mellow at the time.) The 35 selections
included on these two discs find the temporarily deflated rock superstar
leaning on the blues for support as he draws on likes of Muddy Waters,
Robert Johnson, and Little Walter for inspiration.
Working with essentially the same
team that put together '00's Riding with the King (sans, of course, B.B.
King), Reptile feels like a summary of the many guises Clapton has adopted
in his illustrious past. Blues has always been the backbone of EC's music
and here he tackles Walter Davis's "Come Back Baby" with surefootedness.
Clapton has mined J.J. Cale's fine-and-mellow repertoire in the past, coming
up with the hits "Cocaine" and "After Midnight"; here he revives Cale's
"Travelin' Light" with unfussy aplomb. He kicks things off with an instrumental
samba, ventures back into lite rock, and mixes originals and covers, the
latter bunch including Stevie Wonder's "I Ain't Gonna Stand for It" and
James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight." In the end, it's apparent
this reptile is something of a chameleon. --Steven Stolder
The Clapton Chronicles owes less
to the groundbreaking blues-rock of Clapton's '60s and '70s classics than
to the polished-to-a-glare pop of Phil Collins, who produced one of the
tracks included in this 14-song anthology.
Cream of Clapton
For a single disc this is an admirable
chronological tour of superstar Eric Clapton's mid '60s to early '80s career.
Ocean Boulevard [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]
This was Clapton's comeback record
after a long bout with heroin addiction. Some of his best songs are here,
as well as his cover of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff."
Pieces: Best of Eric Clapton
If you're looking for that perfect
slow hand CD to carry around in the car, Time Pieces is the disc for you.
Featuring 11 of Clapton's most radio-friendly hits ("I Shot the Sheriff,"
"After Midnight," and "Layla," of course), this CD also offers up some
of Clapton's most romantic moments in "Wonderful Tonight" and his most
cynical in "Promises." Though there's nothing here that you don't have
on another couple of discs, Time Pieces is a convenient package of great
hits that make you want to roll down the windows, crank up the stereo,
and roll. --L.A. Smith
One Night [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]
Great guitar album! Guitar legend
Clapton continues to amaze in concert.
A fine collection of songs with
brilliant lead guitar work. One of Clapton's best albums.
One in Every Crowd [ORIG. RECORD. REMAST.]