Saturday, 1 October 2016

Eric Clapton

Work in progress.....

Clapton with B. B. King

Clapton is God. So they have said. He burst onto the recording scene in 1964 with a blast of electric guitar so fast and slick that its like had not been heard before, and he then went on to shape modern electric guitar playing in rock music. While he always acknowledged the black blues musicians who influenced him, his unique style of playing influenced everyone after him. Technically accomplished with fluid fingers, accompanied with an instinctive feel for music, means his guitar playing is both impressive and emotional. His love for the blues means he he has rarely strayed away from that musical genre, though he has also explored reggae and Cajun music.

Clapton has always been famous. He emerged at a time when the solid body electric guitar was still relatively new (it had been developed a little over ten years earlier), and when electric blues music, or r&b, or guitar based rock & roll (all of which interrelate) was emerging as a new, vibrant and exciting sound, but which at that time was not played on the radio, so had to be discovered via rare imported records from America or even rarer live appearances when arrangements were made to bring over someone like B B King for a tour. Clapton was part of a British movement that produced the Rolling Stones with Keith Richard and Brian Jones, the Kinks with Dave Davies (with help from Jimmy Page), Them (also with help from Jimmy Page), the Animals, and other r&b  groups, as well as key electric guitar players like Jeff Beck (who replaced Clapton in The Yardbirds and recorded their best album the 1965 Roger The Engineer) and Jimmy Page (who replaced Jeff Beck in The Yardbirds, and then renamed it Led Zeppelin). And Clapton was regarded as the best of all of them. He became famous as the slick, fast electric blues guitarist nicknamed "Slowhand" in The Yardbirds (1963–65), he left that band as he felt they were moving in a pop direction he didn't like, worked briefly with Jimmy Page and group called Powerhouse, then briefly joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers (1965–66). Though by this stage he had only appeared on one live album and a handful of singles, John Mayall gave the 21 year old guitarist equal billing. He then formed Cream (1966–68) with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, then Blind Faith (1968–69), worked with Delaney & Bonnie for a while before releasing his first solo album  in 1970 Eric Clapton, which charted at number 17 in the US charts and at number 14 in the British charts. With the same musicians he had worked with on the Delaney & Bonnie tour and his first solo album he set about  making what many feel is his best recording, the double album Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. The e then formed Derek and the Dominos (1970–71), working with Duane Almann, and releasing . He then went into a four year heroin addiction during which he did very little. On overcoming the addiction he he released his second solo album 461 Ocean Boulevard, which was very successful.  His most commercially successful period was from 1989 through 2000. Eric Clapton's best-selling album to date is the live album Unplugged, which has sold more than ten million copies in the United States alone.[2] It is one of the best-selling live albums in the United States.

The key thing about Clapton is that he put Blues feel into RnB riffs. That he plays very fast and clean. That he has immense feel for the music and can hold and bend notes with stunning precision and judgement. And that he knows so many musical phrases that he is able to  join and weave in any way he likes. His most important work was done in the Sixties with John Mayall, with Cream, and with Blind Faith. His peak was the early Seventies with Layla and Ocean Boulevard. He has continued to play with exquisite skill, and has won new fans with his gentle, homely voice, his warm and skillful blues guitar work, and his occasional ballad. His most commercially appealing work has come late in his life, and while it's no longer ground-breaking, he has not lost the respect of fans or critics.

Personally I like his early Seventies period, and the work he did with Cream. The later stuff holds little appeal for me. I don't dislike it, but I can take it or leave it. But his Sixties material into the early Seventies is essential stuff that anyone with any interest in the history and development of modern music needs to pay attention to. Would we have had the development of modern rock music without Clapton? Yes. He wasn't alone - he was part of an emerging scene, and such was the mood of the time that even the best of them, such as Jimmy Page, cannot be distinguished on record from largely unrecorded guitarists such as Dave Davies and the guitarist in Them. Because he was the best he was allowed to take centre stage and do what he wanted, and others followed his lead, but if he hadn't done it, then someone else would have. The work of Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page is equally as stunning and as important.

Key Clapton tracks


Too Much Monkey Business
  • Too Much Monkey Business is a Chuck Berry song recorded April 1956 with prominent r 'n' b guitar work  that was taken up by the emerging British bands such as The Beatles (BBC recording Sept 1963),  with George Harrison playing some fluid r n b licks, The Hollies Nov 1964, with Tony Hicks also copying Berry, though adding in some rockabilly, The Kinks included their raw breathless version on their Oct 1964 album with Dave Davies stuttering Jimmy Page style over the licks before unleashing a torrid set at the end. As can be heard, all these are rock licks, but without the sustain, blend, and emotion of the electric blues. What Clapton put into Monkey that nobody else did, and what made him a God, was the technique and feel of Blues players such as Otis Rush and B B King with the attack, drive, and chop of Berry to produce this.  He also had astonishing technical ability which nmot allowed him to bend and hold notes, but also to play precisely at speed. A combination of technical ability, innovation, and almost unique feel, made him stunning then, and it continues to stun today.
I Got You
Good Morning Schoolgirl



Development of the electric guitar

1947  T-Bone Walker "Stormy Monday", "You're My Poker Hand "
1948  Floyd Jones  - "Stockyard Blues",   Muddy Waters - "I Can't Be Satisfied",
1950  Muddy Waters  -  "Rollin' Stone",
1953 Floyd Jones -  "On The Road Again
!956  B. B. King - Singin' The Blues 
1961  Freddie King - Let's Hide Away and Dance Away With Freddie King (1961)  "Have You Ever Loved A Woman"
1962 Albert King - The Big Blues 


The Albums


Five Live Yardbirds  (Dec 1964)
There are earlier recordings of Clapton*, but this is the first released album, and what a way to burst onto the scene. His opening blast to Too Much Monkey Business is fast, brash, sharp and electric. He flies along like an electrified train, sparks and smoke flying everywhere, and the speed of his licks is staggering - Clapton Is God all right. No one else on the planet is doing this, he has listened to the Blues masters and to Chuck Berry, and he's melded them in a staggering way, and he's made the electric guitar the driving force and the focus of modern rock. It all starts here. Sure, he's going to get better, and sure, in his next main album with John Mayall he'll lay down the blueprint for all rock guitarists, but here he states his intent, and it's stunning. Probably the best debut in the history of rock. Does the rest of the album match Too Much Monkey Business? No. But that opener is a key moment in the history of rock music, and anyone remotely interested in rock music or why Clapton is so important to its development should get this album and listen to the opening track.

* Sonny Boy Williamson and the Yardbirds  and London 1963: The First Recordings!  were recorded in 1963

AllMusic (9); WikipediaClassic Albums

Score: 4/5

For Your Love  (June 1965)
An America only compilation which collected the band's singles and demos with Clapton, plus the three tracks from Jeff Beck's first recording session with the band. Clapton had already left the band when the album was released. There's some crisp clean and effective playing on here, though curiously it's the tracks with Beck on that impress the most. He was clearly the right replacement for Clapton. The album as a whole is a curiosity.  I Aint Got You contains some slick guitar work. For Your Love was the pop orientated track that Clapton didn't like, and so left the band.  It's a moody early psychedelic piece, and has more in common with Cream's early psychedelic work than with the blues work he did with the Bluesbreakers, so his reluctance toward progressing the blues into a modern sensibility didn't last long.   Good Morning Little Schoolgirl was originally recorded by Sonny Boy Williamson in 1937,  though it's the 1961 version by Don & Bob, a little known RnB act, on which The Yardbirds based their version. Though the Yardbirds live version was released in Dec 1964, two months after the studio version release in Oct,  it had been recorded over six months earlier in March. The significant change in the studio version is that Clapton does a guitar break in the middle eight/bridge, which is what happens in the Don & Bob version, though Clapton's guitar is crisper, and a little more clued in to what Chuck Berry was doing. However, while crisp, fast, and powerful, it's not the guitar work he'll become famous for.  I Wish You Would was the band's first single, a sweaty, harmonica led version of  Billy Boy Arnold's 1955 Bo Diddley style original.

AllMusic (6);

Score: 3

Sonny Boy Williamson and the Yardbirds  (1965)
Though released in 1965, this was recorded in 1963, so is among the earliest recordings of Clapton. Though the Yardbirds name is on the cover, and they do play on the album, they are very much in the background to Sonny Boy.  Clapton is on the album, but had left the band in March, to be replaced by Jeff Beck; so this was released after he had left.  At around the same time an American album was released with the Jeff Beck recordings on one side, and some tracks with Clapton from the Five Live Yardbirds album. This was called Having a Rave Up with The Yardbirds, and as it doesn't contain any new Clapton tracks, it is of no interest here.

AllMusic (6); 

Score: 3

London 1963: The First Recordings!  (1983)
Like the Sonny Williamson album this is live recordings from 1963, and one of the tracks is the same as that album with Williamson singing. It's an interesting historical recording of Clapton's early playing, but as it wasn't released until 1983 it had no impact in itself, though Clapton's live playing in itself obviously did. I like it slightly more than the Williamson record as it is mainly The Yardbirds playing as The Yardbirds rather than as a backing band.

Score: 3

Blues Anytime (1965)
Recorded in 1965, but first released in 1968, this is Clapton & Page with various members of the Rolling Stones. The Blues Anytime series captured a number of early British blues musicians including John Mayall, Tony McPhee, Savoy Brown, as well as Clapton and Page playing together. Of historical interest. Tracks include Snack Drive,

Score: 3

Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton  (July 1966)
Fifty years ago Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton  was released. Like The Velvet Underground & Nico it's one of those hugely influential albums that few people have listened to (or even heard of). The album shaped modern rock, provided inspiration and structure for electric guitar players, and made Clapton a God. Clapton paired a Gibson Les Paul with a Marshal amp and found the perfect rock sound. Through careful experimentation he found he could hold his guitar a certain distance from the amp and get a harmonic sustain.- taken to excess it results in feedback, but held just right and it creates beauty.

The album was a mix of blues covers and some dreary songs written by
John Mayall. I thought it would be interesting to compare the blues originals with Clapton's version. What Clapton said he was trying to do was "shift that style [the blues] into a Chuck Berry rock format." It was a seismic shift in blues and rock music, and young guitarists could not believe what they were hearing.

The originals:
All Your Love, Otis RushClapton
Hideaway, Freddie King  - Clapton
Ramblin' on My Mind, Robert Johnson - Clapton 
Steppin' Out, Memphis Slim (with Matt Murphy on guitar) - Clapton
 
What's Shakin'  (June 1966)
 Clapton had recorded the same song with Powerhouse just a month earlier. That Powerhouse version doesn't have sustain. It's fairly ordinary. Clapton had clearly come a long way in one month. The track was released on a compilation album, What's Shakin', along with two other tracks by Powerhouse. Steppin' Out is on side two, track three at 14 minutes.

What I noted as I listened to this album is that while the guitar playing is awesome and groundbreaking and inspirational, the songs are a little weak. And I think that's  true throughout Clapton's career, but it's particularly relevant here, as this album is as important (and as unplayed) as Velvet Underground & Nico, but the Velvet's album had great songs, and so can be listened to both for pleasure and for historical importance, while Bluesbreakers is listened to mainly for historical importance. My score reflects more the impressive and historic guitar work than the overall quality of the songs.

Score: 6

Wrapping Paper (Oct 1966)
Clapton left Bluesbreakers to form Cream, and their first recorded release is this odd throwaway jazz ditty as a non-album single. Apparently Clapton and Baker hated it. It is out of keeping with the rest of their output. A true curiosity.

Score: 2


Fresh Cream  (Dec 1966)
The American version included "I Feel Free" but dropped "Spoonful". The remastered CD includes both tracks.  "I Feel Free" was released as a single at the same time as the album and is a far more appropriate release than Wrapping paper, as it catches the spirit of the time with its pop attitude, hints of psychedelia, and the heavy blues-based core. This is also the first example of Clapton's "Woman Tone" in which he turned the tone all the way down on his Gibson SG (nicknamed The Fool because of the paintwork done by The Fool collective), and the volume all the way up  (explained by Clapton here) - which can be heard clearly on the guitar break in the middle bridge, especially when the tone is changed right at the end of the break, when the tone is turned back up, so we hear the more typical screechy sound. Each member of the band demonstrates what they can do. Sinister and fluid bass, screaming precise guitar work, subtle and complex rhythmic drumming. This is the cream of the UK's young musicians coming together to create a "serious" pop single. The album proper opens with "N.S.U.", a cheeky title referring to a genital infection that Clapton had at the time. It's a confident piece, the band working well individually and collectively, and despite the heavy and somewhat serious sound, largely created by Bruce's dark voice and sinister bass work, the band are clearly being playful in their musicianship. There's the blues at the base of what they are doing, evident also in Clapton's hot blues licks that burst out almost randomly now and again, but a desire to explore pop ideas and psychedelia. Sleepy Time Time and Dreaming continue that idea, with more psychedelia coming in. The album really takes off, however, when the band play Spoonful, as it's the first decent song they get to play, and they work it well. This is a whole different world. It starts off as a pretty decent if heavy cover of a great Willie Dixon song, performed   menacingly enough by Muddy Waters in 1960.  The great Hubert Sumlin played the plunky lead guitar with the sudden sharp but unexplored flourishes. Sumlin's guitar playing is fascinating. But what Clapton does at around 2 minutes 20 seconds until around 4 minutes is something else. He takes the guitar sound into new territory. His guitar howls for a while, then he plays around with some blues licks, toys with them, then the guitar sounds goes into a deep, long reverb that's never been heard before.

Near the end of the recording sessions for the album Cream were playing in London when Jimi Hendrix asked to join them, plugged in his guitar and did Killing Floor - this is a Paris recording of that same song at around the same time. Clapton was very impressed with Hendix's performance.

AllMusic (8); sflowman;  BBC;  CRR;  RYM;  JohnMcFerrin; Blog;

Score: 7

Disraeli Gears (Nov 1967)

Released in the same year as
Surrealistic Pillow
The Velvet Underground & Nico
The Grateful Dead
Electric Comic Book
The Electric Prunes
Are You Experienced
Moby Grape
Vanilla Fudge

So a sense of a progressive, psychedelic, blues based, guitar driven rock sound had arrived.  This fits in well with that, and has three pretty good songs (Strange Brew, Sunshine, Ulysses), among a lot of filler. This is generally regarded as the best of the Cream albums, but there's nothing here to match Spoonful from Fresh Cream, or the live tracks on Wheels of Fire.

The general consensus of reviewers is that Disraeli Gears is Cream's best album. Most see it as a complete, satisfying, accomplished album with varied music styles and astonishing musical skills, a few see it as not quite demonstrating what Cream were capable of, but the best recorded example they produced. I need to explore it further, because for me the best of Cream, and where they shook the music world, was in their extended jams, and in Clapton's exceptional guitar playing, neither of which are demonstrated here. I'm not quite getting this album yet.

AllMusic (9);  Rolling StoneBBC, UCR; Sputnik; ASC; CRR; Keno; Pop Matters;

Score: 5

Wheels of Fire  (Aug 1968)
Sitting On Top Of The World was written and first recorded in 1930 by the Mississippi Sheiks; a number of others covered it, most notably Howling Wolf in 1957. Grateful Dead covered it the year before Cream, in a jolly jug band rendition with some slick surf-rock lead guitar from Jerry Garcia that feels all white, trivial, and part of the music hall pop tradition that the Beatles cornered. Cream's version is simply stunning in every aspect. The band approach the song in a serious, heavy, progressive manner. This is rock. Modern rock.

AllMusic (8);

Score: 8

Goodbye  (1969)
The album opens with a live version of "I'm So Glad", a blues song they had found for the debut album.  The contrast is interesting; the version on the debut is a fresh and remarkable three minutes, here it's an extended nine minutes. Some may say that the live version shows how the band had developed as an act, with an emphasis on jazzy live improvisation, stretching the bounds of blues music; others may say the opposite, that the live version shows how they had lost the plot, and that they destroy the energy and freshness of the song by their self-indulgent musicianship. Both views are plausible, and therein lies the problem with Cream as a whole, and this album in particular. The album isn't Fresh - it does feel in places tired, worn out, and lacking in ideas. But it's also a band who have taken modern music into a new field - and probably as far as they or anyone could go at the time. Critical opinion was divided at the time, and is still divided today.

"I'm So Glad", Fresh Cream - "I'm So Glad", Goodbye
"Politician", Wheels On Fire,  "Politician", Goodbye
"Sitting On Top of The World", Wheels On Fire - "Sitting On Top of The World", Goodbye

Each member had to write a song
"Badge", co-written by Clapton and George Harrison
"Doing That Scrapyard Thing", co-written by Jack Bruce and Pete Brown
"What a Bringdown",  written by Ginger Baker - which has a feel of Jethro Tull's first album This Was (1968)

The album feels patchy, though individual songs like "Badge" are very strong. The live tracks, for me, don't quite match the originals, and the live recordings as a whole don't match the experience of the live tracks on Wheels.

AllMusic (6); 

Score: 5

 Blind Faith   (1969) 
This was Clapton's second (or third if you count The Powerhouse) "supergroup", essentially Cream, but replacing Jack Bruce with Ric Grech of Family on bass, and Steve Winwood, of the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic on keyboards and vocals. Great musicians all, and on paper this group should have been better than Cream, but somehow it didn't work. The songs, three by Winwood, one - a dirge-like religious piece, by Clapton, a drum solo by Baker, and a Buddy Holly cover, were fairly weak, and the band vamp through them very professionally but without the inventive spark and energy of Cream. The best song is without a doubt "Sea of Joy", which, though written by Winwood, feels and sounds like classic Cream.

It's an OK album, but just a little dull. On the 2009 live album with Clapton and Winwood, all the tracks on Side One, plus the unreleased at the time "Sleeping On The Ground" are covered and are done with more feel. This is the more important album, because it's here that the boys first blend blues, soul, and r&b, but the 2009 album is more attractive. If they could have played together in 1969 with the same feeling they had in 2009, then Blind Faith might have continued, and who knows where that may have led....
Score: 4

Live Peace in Toronto 1969   (1969)
This is a John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band album on which Eric Clapton plays guitar. It's a live recording of a fairly spontaneous band assembled just the day before. They do three covers, three Lennon songs, and then Ono wails for the last two songs. It's of minor interest only.

Score: 2


On Tour with Eric Clapton   (March 1970)
This is a very attractive album, with a sound that would be repeated on Clapton's Ocean Boulevard album. This has a big band sound, with soul and Southern elements. Loose and ragged, but great playing throughout. This is a band clearly enjoying themselves. Clapton's playing is light and fluid; fast in places, but never stressed. The lightness means that while it's attractive and fun to listen to, this is not some of Clapton's most noteworthy or important guitar playing. This is a man enjoying himself after the strain of Cream, and the expectation and failure of Blind Faith.

Score: 5

Live Cream (April 1970)
Released a year after the band broke up this offers nothing significant. There's live versions of NSU, Sleepy Time Time, Sweet Wine, and Rollin' and Tumblin', all songs from their first album, and a recording of Lawdy Mama the base track of which was used for Strange Brew with new lyrics and lead guitar.

N.S.U., Fresh Cream -  N.S.U., Live Cream
Sleepy Time Time, Fresh Cream  -  Sleepy Time Time, Live Cream
Sweet Wine, Fresh Cream  - Sweet Wine, Live Cream
Rollin' and Tumblin', Fresh Cream -  Rollin' and Tumblin', Live Cream
Strange Brew, Disraeli Gears    -  Lawdy Mama, Live Cream

Of mild interest, but there's nothing essential here. A commercial rather than a creative release.

Score: 3


Eric Clapton  (Aug 1970)
His first album under his own name. This is very pleasant listening, carrying on with the same feel and the same musicians he had with Delaney and Bonnie. His playing is assured, zippy where needed, laid back where appropriate. It's a very professional album with a range of music styles. He's extending his singing as he has to handle the whole album rather than just one of two songs as he was previously accustomed to.

AllMusic (9); 

Score: 6


All Things Must Pass (Nov 1970)
During much of 1970 Harrison was working on this album and used Clapton and his Delaney and Bonnie musicians, along with various others, to assist him. Clapton is believed to play on 16 of the 25 tracks, playing the main guitar on several of the tracks, including "I'd Have You Any Time", "Art of Dying", and "I Remember Jeep". Though this is Harrison's album, there is a similar feel and sound to Clapton's first album under his own name, and the Layla album. 1970 was a particular peak of creativity and work load for Clapton.

AllMusic (10): 

Score: 7

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (Nov 1970)
One of the great moments in music history. A quantum leap forward from the August album, here everything is assured, confident, taken to the limit. The guitar playing is sublime, perhaps Clapton's best in his career, and he has found his voice so is able to sing with true tenderness and emotion. It perhaps helped him to be vocally supported by Bobbie Whitlock in the soul style they had seen Delaney & Bonnie do when they toured with them. The songs are good, and his fellow musicians are accomplished - the band have worked together well since touring with Delaney and Bonnie, and there is a great spirit and understanding. But the main key to this album's musical achievement is Duane Allman.  Clapton had first heard Allman when he was working as a session player for Muscle Shoals and played guitar on Wilson Picket's Hey Jude (1968) album, particularly the title track. But it wasn't until The Allman Brothers Band played a concert in Miami near to where he was recording the Layla album that he met Allman. They jammed together and found they had a rare instinctive affinity, so Allman joined Clapton's band, Derek and the Dominos for the recording of the album. Extended blues jams with dual electric guitars were becoming popular through bands such as the Grateful Dead who, like Cream, were releasing live albums, the first being Live/Dead (1969),  Quicksilver Messenger Service whose debut album Quicksilver Messenger Service (1968) had twin lead guitars, as well as Allman's own band who had just finished recording Idlewild South (1970). Though not displaying extended jams, Big Brother & The Holding Company had twin lead guitars on their 1967 debut Big Brother & The Holding Company;  and there is some interesting twin lead interplay on their second Cheap Thrills (1968). Fleetwood Mac were also experimenting with twin lead guitars from their first album Fleetwood Mac (1968). The British band most associated with twin guitars was Wishbone Ash whose debut album Wishbone Ash (1970) has extensive twin guitar. A little known band, Bubble Puppy, used twin leads on their 1969 psychedelic/progressive album A Gathering Of Promises. Interest in twin lead guitars declined after the early Seventies.

AllMusic (10);

Score: 9

The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions  (Aug 1971)
1970 was a busy year for Clapton. He starts the year finishing off an American tour with Delaney and Bonnie, finishes off his solo album with the same musicians from that tour, records the London Sessions with Howlin Wolf, plays guitar on nearly every track on Harrison's All Things Must Pass, records his double album Layla, and then tours with Derek & the Dominos. He was at a peak of energy and creativity. This is probably his weakest moment that year. Perhaps he was a little overawed playing with one of his heroes, but the playing seems a little stiff and unadventurous. AllMusic says that Clapton also dislikes it.

Two tracks, including Killing Floor, from the same 1970 sessions but not released until 2003.

AllMusic (5); 

Score: 3

The Concert For Bangladesh (1971)
An acclaimed and influential charity concert organised by George Harrison from which a film and a live triple album were made. The album is highly regarded and, though the presentation is ragged and the performances under rehearsed, is an interesting document. Clapton plays guitar on four of the original vinyl's six sides, putting in a workmanlike rather than impressive performance. More listenable and entertaining than the 1969 Lennon live album, it's more of a curiosity than a work of art.

AllMusic (9); 

Score: 3

The History of  Eric Clapton  (1972)
A great compilation album. One of the best for any artist. Was put out by the record label because Clapton's heroin addiction had made him lose interest in making albums.

AllMusic (9); 

Score: 7

In Concert Derek and the Dominos (1973)
Recorded in 1970. Another record released because Clapton wasn't doing anything creative. It has been updated by the 1994 Live At The Fillmore, which contains the same songs, and mostly the same recordings, though remixed for a better sound, and with some extra tracks from the tour added. To get a feel for the difference, here's Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad from In Concert, and here it is from Live At The Fillmore. This album is now merely an historical curiosity.

AllMusic

Score: 3

Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert  (Sept 1973)
A live concert organised by Pete Townsend in an attempt to get Clapton working again. There are several versions of the album - the original six song vinyl, minus Layla,  the 14 song 1998 CD release, with Layla, and a 25th anniversary release which is the entire 15 song first concert of the two he did that night when he used his "Blackie" Fender guitar in public for the first time (he used his red Gibson Lucy for the second concert).  The 25th Anniversary release is apparantly a bootleg - but it's taken from the sounboard, so the sound is clean and crisp. And there are bootlegs available of the second concert as well. The musicians, though under rehearsed,  are solid enough, but this is about Clapton, and as he starts his voice is weak, off-key, shy and weary, and his guitar playing is just going through the motions - while often sounding very pleasant and skilful, initially he doesn't seem able to spark off anyone. As the show progresses, he gets better, Tell The Truth is quite blistering, but to really get a feel for what he can do with good sound, it's the bootlegs that are the essential listening - the original release is of historical interest only.The concert is regarded as important as it got Clapton working again, which resulted in Ocean Boulevard, and then his entire solo career.....

Ultimate: Rolling Stone; Tom Caswell; AllMusic (6); Collectors;

Score: 4

461 Ocean Boulevard (July 1974)
Probably my favourite Clapton album. One of my all time favourite albums. This is Clapton's come back album after recovering from his heroin addiction.

AllMusic (9); 

Score: 10

There's One In Every Crowd  (March 1975)
Similar in style and sound to Ocean Boulevard, this is a pleasant album, but feels like a shadow lacking the substance of its predecessor. OK to listen to, though.

AllMusic (4); 

Score: 5

E. C. Was Here  (August 1975) 
Clapton is usually at his best playing live - and this is an album sampler of his come back tour - the first tour he had done since 1970. This is a low key album, but it contains some beautiful fluid playing. For some reason this is the last of his vinyl albums I bought.

Rolling StoneAllMusic (6); ClaptonFans;

Score: 5

No Reason To Cry  (August 1976)
I wasn't aware of this album, but looking ahead at the rest of Clapton's albums I see that I had none of them. It looks like I stopped buying his albums at E. C. Was Here. Listening to this I can see why. He's settled down into his niche, and makes attractive music in the style he's adopted since 1970, and which is epitomised by Ocean Boulevard, and he's quite happy to remain there. This is a dull album without the feel of Ocean Boulevard. I probably lost interest at this point, and then along came New Wave and Punk which made Clapton seem a little too old fashioned with his retro blues styling.

AllMusic (7); 

Score: 2

Slowhand  (Nov 1977)
This album was a commercial success. It probably introduced Clapton to a whole new audience. The playing is again confident and clever. The album contains some of his most famous and commercially successful songs, like "Wonderful Tonight", "Cocaine", and "Lay Down Sally". In between these songs he never bores. A relaxing and enjoyable album from a guitar master.  Nothing ground-breaking at all. Just decent songs played decently, and with enough tender romance to have wide appeal.  The cover is familiar, and I may have owned it, but not played it much as its a little too superficial and glossy for my taste.

I'm returning to this album, as it is both a popular album, and a highly regarded album. I like Cocaine as the opening track - it's a good song, and the bang romp through it well, with Clapton firing off some nice riffs, and the drummer tapping away rhythmically. Though I prefer JJ Cale's original - Cale has, for me, a more appealing voice, a more relaxed, natural, and intriguing music style, and the guitar work is more interesting and inventive, I still find Clapton's version very likeable. I understand the commercial attraction of Wonderful Tonight, but it irritates me. Lay Down Sally is a jolly romp along, and appears to come straight off the Ocean Boulevard album. I like it. Next Time You See Her is a tongue-in-cheek country piece - at least it comes across that way. It's a fun piece, mixing country and some sly JJ Cale with a touch of blues. Clapton's voice is warm and endearing, with just the right touch of humour and irony. We're All The Way is a cover of a gentle country ballad by Don Williams. It's a moderately pleasant song done well by Clapton. It's an album filler, and continues the mood well enough, finishing the first side. Side two opens with the album's longest and most complex song.  Co-written and sung by Marcella Levy (who would later be one half of Shakespeare's Sister) it has a Delaney & Bonnie / Derek & The Dominoes feel which works quite well up to a point, except it doesn't quite have the expansive feel of those bands, nor the energy and creativity. Clapton makes a mistake covering John Martin's most famous song, May You Never. Clapton's version is weaker, and compares badly. You can hear him attempting to sing in the same style as Martin, but failing embarrassingly. The guitar playing is lumpen, as is the whole band who just thump their way woodenly to the end.Ouch! Clapton moves onto firmer ground with a cover of Mean Ol' Frisco by the little known (and financially unrewarded) blues and rock pioneer Arthur Crudup.  He slows it down, adding depth, and a touch of JJ Cale. It's probably the finest song on the album. We then go from the sublime to the ridiculous with a totally empty and tacky instrumental which picks up some of the musical motifs from Wonderful Tonight and fiddles with them to death. Grief!

A 35th anniversary release adds four previously unreleased tracks which could have comfortably stayed unreleased.

This is an easy listening album with some attractive commercial songs; it has a pleasant laid back feel, and can in some respects be compared to Ocean Boulevard, but where that album was stunning in the moment of its release, marking the return to recording of an iconic and important guitarist, where it impressed then and continues to with the supreme feel of the music - the gentle touch, the relaxed homely feel, the gentle confidence, the very humanity of it, where the world's most acclaimed guitarist was back with the exuberant rush of Motherless Children, and where the album was cohesive, timeless and quite brilliant, so much so that Clapton has spent the rest of his life attempting (as here on Slowhand) to recreate it, where the album succeeds artistically as pretty much the perfect album, this Slowhand comes up as a pale shadow with too much inconsistency, too many mistakes, and too unbalanced an experience. The album is OK, but it's not, for me, one of Clapton's best moments.

Rolling Stone; Keno; Classic Rock; AllMusic (9);

Score: 4


Backless (Nov 1978)
The follow up shadow to Slowhand.

AllMusic (7); 

Score: 3


Just One Night  (April 1980) 
Double live album.  It's pleasant enough, but Clapton is just going through the motions. Tracks are mainly from Slowhand.

AllMusic (9); 

Score: 3

Another Ticket  (Feb, 1981)
Another band, another album. This has a retro feel, and is Clapton moving a little away from the more pop orientated songs of the Seventies, to return to a bluesier feel. It's a solid, pleasant album, but unremarkable.

AllMusic (6); 

Score: 4

Money and Cigarettes  (Feb 1983) 
Coming out of an addiction seems to generate something in Clapton, because he then emerges more creative, more determined, and with a fresh approach. When Clapton emerged from rehabilitation after his addition to alcohol he set about this album with a fierce energy, bringing in a new set of musicians, and writing six of the ten songs himself. There's an authentic musicianship about this with a natural blend of Clapton's interests in blues, JJ Cale, and skiffle rock. This isn't about being flash, it isn't about shifting units, it's about a man having a good time playing music. Possibly the last of his decent albums. It was the first album for his new record company, Warner Bros, and was the first to sell poorly.

AllMusic (6); 

Score: 5

Behind The Sun  (1985)
Clapton's second for Warner Bros, and the record company were concerned that the first version they heard contained no hits. Clapton and Patti Boyd went through a trial separation during recording, so Clapton's song writing was mordant and downbeat. As Money & Cigarettes had not sold well, Warner wanted a return on their investment, and so brought in new writers and producers who gave the new songs a bouncy happy feel. Commentators noted that the album was inconsistent or even schizophrenic, and it was too slick and commercial for someone with Clapton's talent. It has the "help" of Phil Collins who gives it an Eighties gloss with upfront echoing drums and an empty feel which doesn't sit well with Clapton's style of playing.

AllMusic (6); 

Score: 2

Edge Of Darkness Soundtrack (Nov 1985)

Soundtrack to the TV series. Stunning guitar work. This is what all guitarists now aim for when doing soundtracks. Atmospheric though it is, it does work best as a soundtrack, and the music doesn't really develop or explore much beyond the initial theme. There is little anyone can do, even Clapton, with a simple plaintive motif, that is going to sustain interest much beyond seven minutes. Well, maybe Brian Eno could play with it.....

Score: 3

August  (August 1986)
The album is blocked on YouTube by UMG who are notorious for blocking or deleting music on YouTube (but it's available to stream for free on Spotify) The tracks are Its The Way That You Use It,  RunTearing Us ApartBad InfluenceWalk AwayHung Up On Your LoveGrand Illusion, and I've stopped now because the tracks are awful. Sappy Eighties pop. There's little awareness that this is Eric Clapton, it could be anyone.

AllMusic (4); 

Score: 2

Crossroads (1988 Box Set)
The ultimate Clapton compilation album spread over six vinyl or four CD discs, and covering all his essential work. This is the box set that made box sets commercially viable. Not available online.

AllMusic (10); 

Score: 8

Homeboy Soundtrack (Sept 1988)
I've only just come across this recording. Seems to be something that's largely slipped under the radar.  I can't find a copy of the album online, but there are some tracks: Homeboy, Travelling East, and Ruby. This appears to be mostly plinky plonky instrumentals with a country feel. I quite like Ruby, but not enough to buy the album based on just that track.

AllMusic (6);

Score: 3

Journeyman (Nov 1989)
I was keen to hear this as it's one of his highest rated albums, and one of the few to be consistently critically ranked alongside his peak Sixties and Seventies work. It comes after the huge Crossroads box set, which overviewed his entire career, and showed folks why he is considered God. But he doesn't return to what he does best, instead he makes an album with the same superficial commercial gloss that has marred most of his work since Slowhand. This is not the same Clapton who left the Yardbirds because they were becoming too pop orientated.

However, despite the slick Eighties production, there's some strong songs on here, though only one written by Clapton (Bad Love), and there is a patchy and inconsistent feel to the album. It feels like a collection of songs rather than a proper album. This is a long way from Ocean Boulevard, Cream, the Yardbirds, and Derek & The Dominos. It's the sort of album that people are pleased to hear from a music legend who has been around for years and which shows  that he's still got it, but it's a long way from being among his greatest work. It breaks no new ground, and doesn't even cover what he's already done in any impressive way. It is what it says, a journeyman album. Adequate and impressive for what it is, but it is not going to stand the test of time.  This is not even as good as Slowhand.

I'm listening again to see if I've missed anything.  The opening track is so slickly Eighties, and so superficial it really puts me off, but Running On Faith, a plodding, but effective gospel blues number catches my attention. By itself its not a great song, and would be the weak song on Ocean Boulevard, but it wouldn't be completely out of place there. There's some genuine feel here. Yes, he's a little tired and past it, but here he can engineer some emotional strength to carry the song in some genuine manner. It puts us in the mood for the throwaway but pleasant enough cover of Ray Charles' Hard Times, The guitar solo is a little loose and haphazard, and not as precise or telling as Clapton in his prime, but it reminds us that he once could play those licks with an intense sensitivity and a technical flourish that would leave listeners gasping in wonder. But he throws away what sympathy he has gained from me with a godawful rendition of Hound Dog, and then more plodding journeyman AOR rock as written by Jerry Lynn Williams. The album finishes with a cover of Bo Diddley's Before You Accuse Me, which had also been covered by the 13th Floor Elevators, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, each noticeably blues, but each done in the artists recognisable unique style. Clapton's is the crispest and most attractive version, though the rythym section is very heavy and plodding, and the finished result is more a look backyards than a look forward. Fine if that's what you're after, but as Clapton's specialness is his groundbreaking work, his ability to take the blues and do something else with it, this is a very lumpen product, and it feels as old and tired as the man must have been. He might have stopped his alcohol addiction, but it doesn't sound like he's recovered from it it either emotionally or physically. The best guitar playing here is professional but empty. Clapton's skills are such that he could throw off slick licks in his sleep - and that's what this feels like.

I can understand why people like this album as it's harder edged and more bluesworthy than the rest of his Eighties output, but it doesn't do the man service to call this one of his best albums. He is more important than that. Go revisit Layla, then say this is a great album.


Rolling Stone; Classic Rock; AllMusic (9); Express; Ultimate; Blog;

Score: 3

24 Nights  (Oct 1991)
Clapton played two series of gigs at the Royal Hall - 18 in 1990 and 24 in 1991, taking the best of them for this double live album. Really! This is the best?

Watch Yourself is a good track. 

AllMusic (6);

Score: 2

Rush (Jan 1992 soundtrack)
Instrumental soundtrack with three songs at the end, including the popular "Tears In Heaven". It's not an album folks are likely to listen to more than once, especially as "Tears In Heaven" also appears on Unplugged.

AllMusic (6); 

Score: 1

Live In Japan George Harrison With Eric Clapton & Band  (July 1992)

 Recorded during Clapton and Harrison's joint tour of Japan in 1991, this is a mediocre affair.

AllMusic (7);

Score: 3

Unplugged  (August 1992)
Highly regarded, I've yet to fully listen to this. I'm not really impressed on first listening, but am prepared to give it another go. Well, listened again, and I simply don't get it. His good time upbeat shoe shuffle through Layla is particularly painful. There's pleasant stuff here, but essential Clapton it aint. I suppose this served as an introduction to his music for those who didn't know him. It's safe, relaxed, pleasant mush.

I have returned again to this album, and while some of it romps along pleasantly, I find on the whole that it's mushy, maudlin commercialism is too unpalatable to try a fourth listen.

AllMusic (9);

Critical opinion is that the album is relaxed and pleasant if unexceptional, and that Clapton was able to present himself successfully as a middle aged and middle of the road performer, even if that meant reducing songs like "Layla" into "a cozy shuffle" or a "wispery greetings card".

Score: 3

Derek and the Dominos  Live at the Fillmore  (Feb 1994)
This contains the same songs, and mostly the very same recordings, as the 1973 Derek and the Dominos In Concert album, plus some tracks released on Crossroads, and a few unreleased recordings. As this material is twenty years out of date, and mostly previously released, it was presumably released in the wake of the interest in Clapton generated by the Unplugged album two years earlier. This stands in stark contrast to that album. Unplugged being acoustic, commercial, slick, superficial, sentimental, and with little of Clapton's skills as an electric blues guitarist in evidence, and this being Clapton at his sleek and shimmering best, with some joyful and extended electric blues. Two hours of pleasure. Sit back, relax, and sigh.

Score: 5/6

From The Cradle (Sept 1994)
A good number of folks respect this album, and I understand why, because the guitar playing is lovely, but it's just what he's been doing for years. He slips on his comfy slippers and mooches his way through some blues covers, flicking off some slick moves here and there. It's all been done before, and Clapton is not adding anything new or interesting here to what he's done before. Different songs, same old thing. And when you look back on his ground-breaking 60's blues work, this album comes over as rather tired and trivial. If you like the Blues, go for the originals. If you like exciting guitar work, go for Clapton's 60's albums. If you want perfectly judged mood music, go for Ocean Boulevard, if you want the perfect Clapton album, go for Layla. If you want great electric blues licks by Clapton, try EC Was Here. He sparks and crackles on that. But credit for the rootsy feel of this, and that he does play guitar really, really well on some tracks - among the best playing he's put on record since the Seventies, so this is very refreshing after the pap of his Eighties output.

AllMusic (9); 

Score: 4

Crossroads 2: Live in the Seventies  (1996 Box Set)
A box set of live recordings and studio "outtakes"from 1974 to 1978. So what, I said at first, but the recordings are well chosen to reflect Clapton's unique skills at improvising, and bringing a band along with him. Sadly, this is not vintage Clapton as he isn't working with those musicians who were able to bring out the best in him such as Jack Bruce or Duanne Allman, but it's good stuff anyway.

AllMusic (6); 

Score: 4

Pilgrim (March 1998)
Hollow, empty, echoing production with no soul, and some of the worse songs Clapton has written, combined with a maudlin voice, and throwaway guitar playing. This is dreadful.

AllMusic (4); 

Score: 1


Riding With The King  (June, 2000)
Quiet and respectful and largely quite boring, this does neither musician any favours, though King comes across more positively than Clapton. King carries Clapton along for the ride. For this to be the collaboration we all want, Clapton needs to man up a lot more.

AllMusic (8); 

Score: 2

Reptile  (2001)
More competent stuff. OK to listen to. Nothing special or memorable. Easy listening.

AllMusic (5); 

Score: 3

One More Car, One More Rider  (Nov, 2002)
Recorded during two nights on Clapton's 2001 world tour. Easy listening and mostly harmless.

AllMusic (4); 

Score: 3


Me and Mr. Johnson  (March 2004) 
Competent stuff, but he's done it all before and better. He's not saying anything new here, other than lazily going through the motions with his superb technical skills on songs by Robert Johnson. Most critics seem to feel it's an OK album, and take it for what it is, but nobody gets excited about it, other than UltimateClassicRock, who list it as the third best solo Clapton album.

To get a feel for the album here's his version of Love in Vain, the Stones version done 35 years earlier in 1969, and Johnson's original version done 30 years earlier than that in 1939.  Each to their own, but I don't get the point of Clapton's version other than a bit of easy listening. He simply copies the interesting bits from each of those recordings, adds nothing new other than a polished production, and reduces the song to Muzak.

AllMusic (7); 

Score: 3

Back Home  (Aug 2005)
This contains six songs written by Clapton, five with Simon Climie, plus songs written by others. It's a pleasant, harmless, up-beat album. Clapton, as always, is very good. Good background music, but totally non-essential. I like it, but not enough to rush out and buy it. If I had this I could imagine getting very comfy with it, and if I discovered this album at a key point in my life - start of a new relationship, starting university, etc, I can imagine it being a memorable back drop to those times, and it becoming a fond album. But today, it's just another Clapton album.

AllMusic (4); 

Score: 4

Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005  (Oct 2005)
It's good stuff, very professional and competent (though Clapton is rather off the boil most of the time), but it's a nostalgia thing, and can't compare with their performances in the Sixties, let alone their impact.

AllMusic (6); 

Score: 3

 The Road to Escondido  (Nov, 2006)
As with the BB King album, this is Clapton's concept, but he ends up being the supporting artist - something to which he seems more ideologically suited. So we have Cale songs sung and played by Cale and Clapton together; though most of the singing and playing is Clapton, it is all done in Cale's style. It works well. It may not be as laid back, gritty and charming as some of Cale's own albums, such as my favourite Cajun Moon, but Clapton adds a width and depth that brings Cale's music out of the shadow. And they work well together like a well oiled partnership. I like it. A lot.

Revisited this album, and I love it. This is such an infectiously warm and affectionate album, and Clapton plays so beautifully - touching his guitar with extraordinary delicacy.  One of Clapton's most listenable and attractive albums, and one of the few post Seventies album where  his guitar playing is significant rather than nostalgic. He's not going through the motions here, he's finding new ways of expression.

AllMusic (8);  PopMatters; Slant; AAJ; Accoustic; Swampland; Vintage; Rolling Stone;

Score: 6/7


Live From Madison Square Garden (May, 2009)
A double live album with Steve Winwood who was with Clapton in Blind Faith and before that in the Powerhouse.  Five songs were from the Blind Faith album - all the tracks on side one of that album, plus a song only released later. The two tracks on side two of the album were not used.

This is a powerful and very attractive album. Winwood and Clapton work well together, and one wonders what might have happened if they had continued working as Blind Faith. Perhaps we would never had Layla,,,,  My main complaint with the album is that it is very long, and it would have benefited from a more selective choice of songs. Also, to be a genuine standout work of art, the boys could have worked together on creating new songs rather than comfortably playing around with old stuff. The more I play this the more I think it would have benefited from being just a single album, and the more tedious I am finding some of the long tracks, such as Voodoo Chile.

"Had To Cry Today", Blind Faith  - "Had To Cry Today", Clapton/Winwood
"Can't Find My Way Home", Blind Faith -  "Can't Find My Way Home", Clapton/Winwood
"Well All Right", Blind Faith -  "Well All Right", Clapton/Winwood
"Presence of the Lord", Blind Faith - "Presence of the Lord",  Clapton/Winwood
"Sleeping in the Ground", Blind Faith  - "Sleeping in the Ground",  Clapton/Winwood

AllMusic (7); 

Score: 5

Clapton  (Sept 2010) 
This is good stuff. Yes, it's a personal stroll though various songs that Clapton likes, and there's nothing ground breaking or worthwhile here, but of all the later  casual Clapton albums, this is probably the best. Top quality music. Yes, it's ultimately quite empty, but sometimes all we want is really good wallpaper music.

AllMusic (9); 

Score: 5

Play the Blues: Live from Jazz at Lincoln Center  (Sept 2011)

Another oddity which I've just turned up. Good time trad jazz combines with blues, which has long been a frequent combination as they come from the same roots, and were often played by the same musicians.It's harmonious toe-tapping stuff, mostly harmless. Not really my bag.

AllMusic (8):

Score:3

Old Sock  (March 2013) 
Another comfy album of covers. The reggae style opener gives a reminiscent feel of Ocean Boulevard, which is pleasant for old timers like me, but it does place this album in the past as though the last 40 years haven't happened.

AllMusic (7); 

Score: 2

An Appreciation of JJ Cale  (2014)
Another casual throwaway album of covers. I like JJ Cale, so I don't like this very much. Seriously folks, go to the Cale albums directly, bypass this shit.

AllMusic (5);

Score: 2

Slowhand at 70  (Nov 2015)
Live at the Royal Albert Hall
Another comfy yet impressive live album. He's a musician well in command of his instrument - as much now as he ever was. He hasn't been interested in exploring new techniques or new music styles for so long that it's not even remotely expected of him. This is an assured and professional performance which displays his considerable and unique guitar skills, and his homely and relaxed style. It's nourishing comfort food that will still manage to impress. It's not great music, but I like it.

As an example of where Clapton is at with this album, let's take Key To The Highway, a song Clapton has played a lot in his career. It's unclear who wrote the song - it is a combination of various existing tunes and themes and standard lines. The earliest recording is by Charlie Segar in 1940, who - as was normal in those days for traditional songs - claimed he wrote it. Jazz Gillum recorded a slightly more driving eight bar version later that same year, also claiming authorship. Big Bill Broonzy recorded another eight bar version in 1941, also claiming he wrote it.  It is Broonzy's version that is best known, and is the one that Clapton has said fired his enthusiasm for the blues. After Broonzy's death in 1958 Little Walter recorded the first electric Chicago Blues version with a band including Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters. It was Walters biggest hit. The song has been recorded by a number of people since Little Walter's 1958 recording, including by the Stones in 1964, but that song wasn't released until 1986. However, there was nothing of note until in 1970 Sam The Sham was recording it at Criterion Studios in Miami, and the band in the next room heard it, and spontaneously started playing it. The recording engineer realised something special was happening and turned on the recording equipment. The band was Derek and The Dominos, and the recording was released on Layla. It's essentially a playful jam with exquisite crackling guitar bursts by both Clapton and Allman. The left channel slide work is Alman, the right channel blues work is by Clapton. He played it live at the Rainbow Concert in 1973, though it wasn't released until 1998. He recorded it in 2000 with BB King. Did acoustic versions during his 2001 tour. He's recorded it live with The Allman Brothers, with Keith Richards, and with Buddy Guy in 1987 (Clapton is stunning here),; and then there's this old man's version at the Albert Hall for his 70th.  Plenty of drums, piano, organ, backing singers, etc, and a casual, slick, professional flick over the strings, no sweat. It's pleasant, but oh so pedestrian.

AllMusic (6); 

Score: 3

I Still Do  (May 2016)
Another comfy as an old pair of slippers Clapton album. Pleasant wallpaper music with some songs I'd be happy to hear a good few times.

AllMusic (7); 

Score: 3

Live in San Diego ( Sept 2016)
Recorded in 2007 when JJ Cale was still alive, this includes a string of Cale songs played by the man himself.  Clapton is generally very good live, so it tends to work out best if he's going to do just a throwaway album of old songs, that he should do it live. As of Nov 2016, this is the most recent album released by Clapton, though the previous album (I Still Do) contains his most recent recordings.

AllMusic (7); 

Score: 3


Scores

Chronological

Five Live Yardbirds  (Dec 1964), Score 4/5, AllMusic
For Your Love  (June 1965), Score 3, AllMusic
Sonny Boy Williamson and the Yardbirds  (1965), Score 3,
Blues Anytime (1965), Score 3,
What's Shakin'  (June 1966). Score 3,
Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton  (July 1966), Score 6,
Fresh Cream  (Dec 1966), Score 7, AllMusic 8
Disraeli Gears (Nov 1967),
Wheels of Fire  (Aug 1968),
Goodbye  (1969), Score 5,
Blind Faith   (1969) , Score 4,
Live Peace in Toronto 1969   (1969), Score 2,
On Tour with Eric Clapton   (March 1970),  Score 5,
Live Cream (April 1970), Score 3
Eric Clapton (Aug 1970),  Score 6,  AllMusic9
All Things Must Pass (Nov 1970), Score 7, AllMusic 10
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (Nov 1970), Score 9,  AllMusic 10
The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions  (Aug 1971), Score 3, All Music 6
The Concert For Bangladesh (1971), Score 3, AllMusic 10
The History of  Eric Clapton  (1972),  Score 7,  AllMusic 9
In Concert Derek and the Dominos (1973), Score 3, AllMusic 7
Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert  (Sept 1973), Score 4,  AllMusic 6
461 Ocean Boulevard (1974), Score 10,  AllMusic 10
There's One In Every Crowd  (March 1975), Score 5, AllMusic 4
E. C. Was Here (August 1975), Score 5, AllMusic  6
No Reason To Cry  (August 1976), Score 2, AllMusic 6
Slowhand  (Nov 1977), Score 4,  AllMusic 10
Backless (Nov 1978), Score 3, AllMusic 6
Just One Night  (April 1980), Score 3,  AllMusic 10
Another Ticket  (Feb, 1981),  Score 4,  AllMusic 6 
Money and Cigarettes  (Feb 1983), Score 5,  AllMusic 6
London 1963: The First Recordings!  (1983), Score 6
Behind The Sun  (1985), Score 2, AllMusic 6
Edge Of Darkness Soundtrack (Nov 1985), Score 6
August  (August 1986),  Score 2, AllMusic 4
Crossroads (1988 Box Set), Score 8, AllMusic 10
Homeboy Soundtrack (Sept 1988), Score 3, AllMusic 6
Journeyman (Nov 1989),   Score 3, AllMusic 10
24 Nights  (Oct 1991), Score 2, AllMusic 6
Rush (Jan 1992 soundtrack), Score 1, AllMusic 6
Live In Japan George Harrison With Eric Clapton & Band  (July 1992), Score 3, AllMusic 7
Unplugged  (August 1992), Score 3, AllMusic 9
Derek and the Dominos  Live at the Fillmore  (Feb 1994), Score 5/6 ,  AllMusic 6
From The Cradle (Sept 1994), Score 4,  AllMusic 10
Crossroads 2: Live in the Seventies  (1996 Box Set),  Score 4, AllMusic 6
Pilgrim (March 1998), Score 1, AllMusic 4
Riding With The King  (June, 2000), Score: 2, AllMusic 8
Reptile  (2001), Score 3, AllMusic 6
One More Car, One More Rider  (Nov, 2002), Score 3,  AllMusic 4
Me and Mr. Johnson  (March 2004) , Score 3, AllMusic 8,
Back Home  (Aug 2005), Score 4, AllMusic 4
The Road to Escondido  (Nov, 2006), Score 6,  AllMusic 8
Live From Madison Square Garden (May, 2009), Score 5, AllMusic 8
Clapton  (Sept 2010) , Score 5, AllMusic 10
Play the Blues: Live from Jazz at Lincoln Center  (Sept 2011), Score 3, AllMusic 8
Old Sock  (March 2013), Score 2, AllMusic 8
The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale  (2014), Score 2,  AllMusic5
Slowhand at 70  (Nov 2015),  Score 3,  AllMusic 6
I Still Do  (May 2016),  Score 3,  AllMusic 7
Live in San Diego ( Sept 2016), Score 3,  AllMusic 7


Ranking
461 Ocean Boulevard (1974), Score 10,  AllMusic 10
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (Nov 1970), Score 9,  AllMusic  10
Wheels of Fire  (Aug 1968), Score 8,  
Crossroads (1988 Box Set), Score 8, AllMusic 10
The History of  Eric Clapton  (1972),  Score 7, AllMusic
Fresh Cream  (Dec 1966), Score 7, AllMusic 8
All Things Must Pass (Nov 1970), Score 7,
The Road to Escondido  (Nov, 2006), Score 6/7,  AllMusic 8
Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton  (July 1966), Score 6,
London 1963: The First Recordings!  (1983), Score 6,
Derek and the Dominos  Live at the Fillmore  (Feb 1994), Score 5/6,  AllMusic 6
Goodbye  (1969), Score 5,
E. C. Was Here (August 1975), Score 5, AllMusic  6
On Tour with Eric Clapton   (March 1970),  Score 5, 
There's One In Every Crowd  (March 1975), Score 5, AllMusic  4,
Money and Cigarettes  (Feb 1983), Score 5,  AllMusic  6
Live From Madison Square Garden (May, 2009), Score 5, AllMusic 8
Clapton  (Sept 2010) , Score 5,  AllMusic 10
Five Live Yardbirds  (Dec 1964), Score 4/5, AllMusic
From The Cradle (Sept 1994), Score 4,  AllMusic 10
Crossroads 2: Live in the Seventies  (1996 Box Set),  Score 4, AllMusic 6

Tracks

Steppin' Out
Memphis Slim (1956);  Bluebreakers (1965); Cream  (1968);


Links


"I was obsessed with black blues guitar players, and for me the ultimate problem was trying to shift that style into a Chuck Berry rock format."  Eric Clapton


Best albums
* UltimateClassicRock
* GuitarWorld
* Ranker
* BestEverAlbums Clapton

BestEverAlbums put Clapton's recordings into different names, so it can be difficult to pick out the exact order the users rank his albums, but it appears to go like this:

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Disraeli Gears
Blind Faith
Unplugged
Wheels of Fire
Fresh Cream
Slowhand
Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton
471 Ocean Boulevard
Journeyman


Layla is the only Clapton album on All Time Top 100 Albums (near the bottom)

On AcclaimedMusic's top 1000 albums, the order is Layla (81), Disraeli Gears (174), Blues Breakers (350), Wheels on Fire (618), Ocean Boulevard (624), and Blind Faith (965).

Reviews and articles

* Just How Good Is Clapton?
* Reviews
* Rock of Ages article
* Wilson&Alroy
* 50BestGuitarMoments
Robert Christgau
* Rolling Stone


GuitarWorlds 50 Greatest Clapton Guitar Moments

Fan clubs

* Where's Eric 

Conclusion

Voice/Musicianship
Clapton's voice is not what he will be remember for. He can accompany himself and carry the tune, and mostly it's not awful, and just sometimes, as on Layla, it can work quite well. But it's his guitar playing that is key, and that is top.
10/10

Image
He's all over the place.
5/10

Lyrics
He's not really a songwriter, but has written songs that work.
4/10

Music
He's not really a composer, but has written tunes that work.
4/10

Impact/Influence
Wow!
10/10

Importance
Central.
10/10

Popularity
One of his albums is among the best selling of al time, and he has retained an audience since the mid Sixties.
10/10

Legacy
His work with The Yardbirds, Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek & The Dominos, and his solo work is really quite extraordinary. His live work is stunning. Some of his albums are essential. His influence on other guitarists, and on the shape of rock music is unequalled. He will be remembered for as long as rock music is listened to, and likely his stature will grew even bigger over time. His death will be world news.
10/10

Star quality
He's a shy, quiet character who doesn't like the limelight.
4/10

Emotional appeal
His guitar playing is the most emotional of all guitarists. Stunning.
10/10

Total: 77/100



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