This, for me, is one of Clapton's best solo albums. In his earlier solo career he seemed to be looking for a musical identity, while trying to leave the guitar god image behind. His first few albums saw him trying out a wide range of musical styles, and bringing his singing to the fore. Some great stuff resulted, but here it just seemed to click and a really great album resulted.
Clapton has always been at his best when working with other artists of the same stature, his work with Cream or Derek and the Dominos for example. And I think it is the impressive roster of guest artists on this album that pushes Clapton to do something special. With guest appearances from Bob Dylan, most of the Band, Ronnie Wood and Georgie Fame, there was a lot of talent floating around the recording studio.
The tone of the album is largely laid back and reflective, bluesy but with a pop element. The presence of Danko, Manuel and Dylan ensure that there is a strong feel of country blues to proceedings, especially on the songs they wrote.
Clapton finds the right blend of guitar and vocals, and both are pretty good on this album. Leaving the guitar pyrotechnics behind he still manages to weave rich musical tapestries with his more understated style, all the more impressive as it is so understated. The guests add to the album, but never take over. And, unusually for an album with so many big names contributing, it feels like a very unified album. It's an old friend, and one that goes on the record player quite regularly.