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4.1 out of 5 stars56
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Better people than me have chucked in their few Euros worth of negative critique on the Amazon site about this album. The production's slick, there appears to be more of the rather processed sound, with less of the grit and grain of ol' Slowhand of yore. However, and shoot me down in flames if you like, this is Grade 'A', quality gear throughout. He's singing well (and he gets more plus points from me for including the word 'toerag' in 'My Father's Eyes') and on the blues chestnut 'Goin' Down Slow', renders a kind of afterhours cocktail lounge Blues that is as musically elegantly tailored as his suits. I think Clapton deserves credit for not necessarily 'Giving The Audience What It Wants'; his music should be allowed to mature and grow - and there's nothing worse than a rock and roll elder statesman trying to sound hip. Clapton writes and performs brilliantly on 'Pilgrim' - with style and a certain grace. Give it a chance - it doesn't disappoint.
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In his autobiography EC says he wanted to make `the saddest record of all time`. He hasn`t quite done that, but much of this very fine, if over-slick, album consists of sad or, in a couple of cases, bleak songs.
It opens with the truly superb song My Father`s Eyes, beautifully performed by all concerned, a song about both his never-seen father and his late son Conor. It`s a perfectly judged song.
Next is one of the most astounding tracks this man has ever recorded, a very slow, seven-minute-plus heart-rending ballad called River of Tears. I don`t understand why this glorious number isn`t better known, it`s quite wonderful, with a career best vocal by EC, a lovely melody, and some limpid guitar by the man himself. It`s worth the price of the album on its own.
The title track is an excellent moody song, while Broken Hearted is similarly memorable.
One or two tracks are less compelling, such as One Chance and She`s Gone, but Dylan`s Born in Time and the blues Sick and Tired are superb, as is a fine song called Needs His Woman.
You Were There (with a very tasty guitar solo near the end) and Inside Of Me close this lengthy album in fine style, and this never feels like `the saddest record in the world`, but rather Clapton (by now off the drugs and booze) coming to terms with a life fully lived, if not always happily so. He`s singing up a storm, and sounds committed to these songs in a way he hadn`t always, even on some of his most praised records - who really needs half of the tracks on the rather overrated 461 Ocean Boulevard?
Pilgrim can seem over-produced, too reliant on echo, bland at times, too much in thrall to drum-programming and the like, but it`s a strong set of songs, and Eric hadn`t sounded this interested in his own music since the great Journeyman in 1989 (to my mind his best album of the last 25 years).
It`s to his credit that he`s rarely stood still, through all the drink, drugs and tragedies, invariably surprising his fans with each new album. This is up there with his good ones.
And River of Tears is seven minutes of sheer heaven...

It`s three miles to the river, that would carry me away
and two miles to the dusty street that I saw you on today
It`s four miles to my lonely room, where I will hide my face
and about half a mile to the downtown bar, that I ran from in disgrace
Lord, how long have I got to keep on running,
seven hours, seven days, or seven years?
All I know is, since you`ve been gone
feel like I`m drowning
in a river of tears
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on 7 August 2012
I originally bought this album when it was released in 1998. I was 14 when I bought it and was a massive Clapton fan and I will forever be grateful to the man for inspiring me to pick up the guitar at 12 years old and never again putting it back down! I was, and always will, be an enormous fan of his guitar playing. I also love most of his songs from 'Layla' right through to 'Tears In Heaven'. Eric Clapton has certainly had a diverse yet hugely successful career. When I bought this album I was only really aware of the single 'My Father's Eyes' which had been getting a great deal of airplay and is a song that I think is absolutely wonderful. 'My Father's Eyes' is the first track on 'Pilgrim' and a fine opener indeed. The second track is a very slow ballad entitled 'River Of Tears', a song I wasn't too keen on when I first heard it but it does grow on you...listen to the words! 'Pilgrim' is track 3 and a fine song too; catchy, uplifting and melodic. What tracks did I most enjoy? Well I enjoyed those 3 songs very much. 'Broken-Hearted' is a fantastic song...again melodic and almost haunting at times. 'One Chance' is a slightly more rockier song. Other songs include 'Circus', 'Needs His Woman' and 'Born In Time'. Big fans of Eric's blues guitar playing shenanigans will probably enjoy 'Sick And Tired', which is a somewhat lyrically odd blues rocker but has a few great guitar licks by Clapton. To sum up the point here, if you buy this record expecting Cream-style extended guitar workouts and lavish feedback you will be dissapointed. There are some fine guitar moments but they are just in much more of a laid-back manner rather than 'in yer face'. This is a very soulful record and I must praise the songwriting and also Clapton's beautifully soulful vocals - he sings fantastically on every track and his voice seems to have developed a new kind of maturity. His voice is soothing throughout and he never overdoes his singing. To sum up, Eric Clapton over the previous 35 years before this album was released, has accomplished a hell of a lot as a guitarist. He has nothing to prove to himself or his audience on that part. He is and always will be one of, if not THE greatest guitar player England has ever produced. Make sure you enjoy this album for what it is; a beautifully written and very personal record from Eric Clapton's heart that should be taken seriously and given the credit it deserves. Give it time and listen to it over and over again and you should get the point.
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on 23 August 2009
If you hanker after the kind of performances that Clapton delivered in his younger days then you are likely to be disappointed with this album- as many evidently are. If, on the other hand, you reckon that Clapton has earned the right to make the music that feels most appropriate for him with the passing of years, this record contains much to surprise and enjoy on its own terms. Yes, it's a sleek production but never overtly so. In fact, it's quite understated and seldom obtrusive . This is a mature collection by a mature artist, featuring crafted musicianship and frequently affecting vocals. Repeat plays reveal much to savour here but 'Fall Like Rain' stands out as a latter-day Clapton classic. This is the sound of a man aging with commendable taste and grace. Recommended late-night listening, certainly, with the lights turned way down low. All of which adds up to this: it's cool to like this record because cool is exactly what it is.
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on 24 May 2012
I remember when i bought this album, there were a lot of them, and the store gave a "best value" price to it. I though it was goin to be a album with a couple of hits, but what a surprise ! This is a album that deserves your money and time. It will grow on you.

This is ERIC CLAPTON at his most personal and intimate album. The production is great, intimate and the collection leads you trough several intimate emotions.

The surprise is not only in the songs, all of them great or good. Not a single filler ! The surprise comes in Clapton s' vocal performance: inspired, delicate, passionate and intimate.

My Father's Eyes. What a opener. Great single and a good solid song. 10/10

2. River Of Tears. This is a superb song and Clapton plays the blues and sings with passion rarely captured in his studio recordings. This is a warm intimate song. Maybe among his best recordings ever. 10/10

3. Pilgrim 5:50 Great title cut. The same as the one before. 10/10

4. Broken Hearted. Superb song ! Clapton sings with passion and sadness. This song ranks among the albums best ! 10/10

5. One Chance 5:55 A good blues song. Intimate and fills in well with the rest of the album. 8/10

6. Circus 4:11 Clapton plays the accoustic ! Good solid song. 10/10

7. Going Down Slow 5:19 A classic blues song. 8/10

8. Fall Like Rain 3:50 Clapton plays country. Good song also and gives the album a change of colour. 10/10

9. Born In Time 4:41 Super song also. 9/10

10. Sick And Tired 5:43 Great Blues song. Great guitar intercharge and solos. 8/10

11. Needs His Woman 3:45 A intimate solid ballad. A hit ! 10/10

12. She's Gone (Album Bonus Version) 4:45 Sounds like this song should have been played by CREAM. Perfect for that band. 10/10

13. You Were There 5:31 Solid sad ballad. Great song and Clapton sings with passion and makes the guitar cry. 10/10

14. Inside Of Me good songs. The last song, is also intimate in the vein of the majority of the album. Good solid solo. 8/10

If you are a Clapton fan, and dont owne this one...get it. It is a album that grows on you. It is not a first listen ride, it deserves and you will understand why...many listens !
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on 10 November 2014
What can I say about this album? Well my first listen was in the car and I was expecting a typical Clapton album - good to drive to. Well, the sound is dominated by synthesized drums, which gives it a really bland sound. So, why did he employ Steve Gadd, one of the most serious sessions drummers around? I really haven't a clue. I mean, who hasn't he played with? You could list them quite comfortably on the back of a stamp! This synthesized sound so dominates the CD (it wouldn't surprise me if this is the most played album in lifts/elevators) that it undermines the really good music that tries to filter through. Considering this is the first album to contain original music since 'Journeyman' it's a poor effort (not the song writing, but the end product - as if he didn't care). I know he wanted to produce the saddest album ever and for me he succeeded, but in my opinion not as he intended. Very disappointing. Still, it is a Clapton album and is part of my 'collection'. Not all is lost, though. His next album 'Riding With The King' (with B.B. King) is a cracker - back to real quality.
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on 23 January 2010
Although I liked this, non-blues album from Eric, I did not fully appreciate it until I had read his autobiography, that describes his state of mind when he made it - very black indeed, when you revisit it knowing this, and what he had just gone through you realise what an intense, personal, and at times beautiful album, and worth a little more effort from his listeners. OK it is not blues, but even Eric does not have to play it all the time!
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'Pilgrim' is definitely an album that grows on you and takes repeated listening before you really enjoy what it has to offer. The actual music and songs are pretty good and there are some real gems hidden on this album. The problem is Simon Climie's terrible production. Never have I heard such flat, uninspiring rendering of any artists work, especially Clapton. Unfortunately Climie continues to produce for Clapton, which is a real shame. Choosing a friend to produce your work is one thing, but production like this is unforgivable. Never the less this album has some great blues and a wonderfully melancholic feel to it, perfect for late night listening sessions or down beat moments. I do recommend this album, but try to look past the dire production and flat sound.

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on 6 March 2007
I love E.C. I've recently been buying his back catalogue of albums as part of my musical education. This album is very different from normal Clapton stuff. Its much slower paced and the techno feel to it is unusual for him. I have to say its growing on me quickly. The songs are well written and the ultimately 'Eric' style of guitar still comes through well. River of Tears is excellent. If your an Eric fan like me you need to have this, if you dont like it at first, listen to it a few times and it will grow on you. However, if you are starting to learn about E.C. go for some of his more classic Eric stuff. My favorite album is without doubt, 'Slowhand'. Or try 'Another Ticket', 'Journeyman' or the excellent Live 'E.C. was here'.
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This has to be one of Clapton's most personal and open hearted albums, in which he puts into music the effect of his young son's tragic death had upon him. In that respect it is a moving piece of work. However, for some reason this album has always struck me as a bit bland. Lying as it does between 1994's superb `From the Cradle' and 2000's `Riding With the King', this 1998 release just struggles to shine. Yes it's got some great lyrical content, but the reliance on drum machine and synthesiser serves to mask Clapton's emotion, distancing him from the music. A few good guitar solos would have really brought it all home and lifted the record. In all 3 stars. It's OK, but not great.
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