Category: Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton – No Reason to Cry

ARTIST: Eric Clapton             EC_No_Reason_to_Cry.jpeg

TITLE: No Reason to Cry

YEAR RELEASED: 1976

CHART ACTION: #15 US, #8 UK

SINGLES: Hello Old Friend (#24), Carnival

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Sign Language

LINEUP: Eric Clapton, the Band, Yvonne Ellman, Bob Dylan, Ron Wood, Carl Radle, and so many others.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Clapton rallies a bit, and makes an album that’s not boring.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Breaking out of the torpor of his previous album, Eric Clapton worked with The Band at their studio, and had a duet with Bob Dylan on the latter’s “Sign Language”. As with any duet with Dylan, Bob’s got his own rhythm, and his gruff growl and Clapton’s reedy voice (which is raspy this time around too) don’t mesh that well, but at least it’s played well by The Band.

Elsewhere, there are a couple of blues tunes, songs written by Rick Danko, and the typical laid-back shuffles that Clapton was specializing in during this time. There’s some energy here, though. I credit The Band.

It’s not a masterpiece, but at least Clapton’s on the right path here.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Dylan was just hanging around, and not only growled a duet with Clapton, offered another track. Clapton passed, but Ron Wood, also hanging out, grabbed the song “Seven Days” for his solo album.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: B: At least you won’t fall asleep here.

Eric Clapton – There’s One in Every Crowd

ARTIST: Eric Clapton                  220px-EricClaptonTheresOneInEveryCrowd

TITLE: There’s One in Every Crowd

YEAR RELEASED: 1975

CHART ACTION: #21 US, #15 UK

SINGLES: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (#19 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: A cover of The Sky Is Crying

LINEUP: Eric Clapton, George Terry, Carl Radle,, Jamie Oldaker, Dick Sims, Albhy Galutein, Yvonne Ellman, Marcy Levy

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: How bland can you get? None, none more bland.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This whole damn album smacks of calculation, not spontaneity. Since there was a reggae song that was a hit on their last album, let’s put THREE on this one, and record it in Jamaica to boot – never mind the drug and alcohol problem that almost everyone had.

Clapton’s love for the JJ Cale “Tulsa” sound has made this album so laid back, it needs a jolt of caffeine to rouse it from its torpor just to be mellow.

Only the deep cut “High” roused ME from my slumber. The playing is good, yeah, and there’s some attempts at energy, but you know, this album was rushed, and didn’t need to happen. But it did.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The original title as supposed to be “EC is God…There’s One in Every Crowd”. The record company said nix on that.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C-: Wake me up when it’s over. I 86’d a bunch of tracks.

Derek & the Dominoes – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

ARTIST: Derek & the Dominoes         laylacover

TITLE:  Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #16 US, #68 UK

SINGLES: Tell the Truth, Layla (#10 US, #7 UK), Bell Bottom Blues (#78 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Little Wing, Key to the Highway

LINEUP: Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle, Jim Gordon, Duane Allman. Aibhy Galuten on one track.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Clapton forms a band and releases his magnum opus.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Tired of the crushing fame and adulation he was receiving, and wanting just to play, Eric Clapton formed a band hot on the heels of his work with Delaney & Bonnie and George Harrison. The core (Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon) foursome had grown tight while touring with Delaney & Bonnie.

Clapton wanted to be anonymous, so they toured under this name in the UK and then moved to Miami to record this album. Duane Allman joined the sessions soon after he and Clapton jammed together, and over time, the quintet recorded this classic mix of blues and rock-and-roll, with Allman’s slide guitar fitting in seamlessly over Clapton’s blues based guitar playing. The songs were mostly co-written by Clapton and Whitlock, with some tasty covers thrown in for good measure.

The production by Tom Dowd is absolutely perfect, with all of the musicians blending well together seamlessly. Whitlock and Clapton’s vocal pairings were complimentary – neither a perfect vocalist, but they made it work together.

With the title cut, “Bell Bottom Blues” (one of my all-time favorite tracks by anyone) and the other tracks, it’s just a fantastic record from start to finish.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was the only studio record the band recorded. They made a live album, but sessions for their second album broke down thanks to the band’s prodigious use of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. Whitlock and Clapton didn’t work together again until 2000.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, sessions for the album, and some of the completed or semi-completed tracks for their second album are on releases.

GRADE: A+:  Listen to “Bell Bottom Blues” closely, hearing how they interplay, and hear the production.

Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard

ARTIST: Eric Clapton 220px-EricClapton461OceanBoulevar

TITLE:  461 Ocean Boulevard

YEAR RELEASED: 1974

CHART ACTION: #1 US, #3 UK

SINGLES: I Shot the Sheriff (#1 US, #9 UK), Willie and the Hand Jive (#26 US).

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Let It Grow, Motherless Children.

LINEUP: Eric Clapton, Yvonne Ellman, Dick Sims, George Terry, Carl Radle, Jamie Oldaker, Albhy Galuten, Marcy Levy. Al Jackson, Jr. drummed on one cut.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A triumphant comeback from addiction, and some of the best ensemble playing of Clapton’s career.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Fat and addicted to heroin was no way for a guitar legend to go through life, so Clapton got clean and then got the itch to play again. However, instead of being the guitar hero everyone expected, he wanted to create more of an ensemble and wanted to play with musicians who he knew and could work well together.

“Motherless Children” kicks this off on a high note, but most of the album has a nice, laid back groove with some great playing by Clapton in the context of his band. Most everyone knows his cover of “I Shot the Sheriff” from this album, but the album’s highlight is “Let It Grow”, a fantastic mellow blues.

At times, Clapton cedes too much to his band, but it’s his finest solo record and ranks up there with the best stuff by Cream and Derek & the Dominoes.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Carl Radle was the impetuous behind the sessions. He gave Clapton a tape of he, Dick Sims and Terry Oldaker playing and Clapton thought he definitely could work in that context.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Five outtakes and some live cuts

GRADE: A-: A welcome comeback, and an album that established Clapton as a great ensemble guitarist, not just a great soloist.

 

Eric Clapton – Eric Clapton

ARTIST: Eric Clapton Eric_Clapton_Album_Cover
TITLE: Eric Clapton
YEAR RELEASED: 1970
CHART ACTION: #13 US, #14 UK
SINGLES: After Midnight (#18), Let It Rain (#48)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Blues Power
LINEUP: Eric Clapton, Delaney Bramlett, Leon Russell, Bobby Whitlock, John Simon, Carle Radle, Jim Gordon, session horns and singers.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Noted UK guitarist finally records his first solo album with some decent and some so-so material and performances.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Clapton made his bones in groups, and seemed always drive his groups toward more of a blues sound than not (though his later work with Cream definitely had him favoring rock guitar), so it was a little surprising that his first solo album, made basically with Delaney & Bonnie’s band, was more rock oriented than anything,

What wasn’t surprising was Clapton’s guitar work, when he unleashed it. It seemed that the production and the songs held him back a bit. Everything here is an original (except for “After Midnight” which might as well have been) and only a hint of the blues.

Another issue, that Clapton himself has, is his vocals. While they sound adequate, they’re a bit thin, and higher pitched than his later singing. Sometimes, for me, the backing vocals seem a bit much – I’d rather have had simple productions, longer guitar workouts, and maybe more blues.

There are some good songs – the singles above and “Blues Power” are solid and the opening instrumental is very tasty, though cut off surprisingly. That, I didn’t like or expect.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Clapton, Radle, Whitlock, and Gordon formed the core of Derek & the Dominos, which started up right after these sessions.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, two different mixes and some extra songs.

GRADE: B: A few average cuts, a few great songs, but overall just an OK record in the whole.