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4.6 out of 5 stars81
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 19 December 2012
Slowhand is Eric's most successful solo album from the '70's, and not without good reason, although as the first 3 tracks became hit singles and live set staples, it developed something of a 'greatest hits' feel - "Cocaine", "Wonderful Tonight" and "Lay Down Sally" became so familiar that the numbers which follow seemed to be eclipsed and the album started to sound unbalanced (unlike on its original release). 35 years on, this expanded double-disc edition is a welcome opportunity to revisit what remains one of his best-selling albums, having now had the 'deluxe' treatment.

Disc 1 includes 3 previously unreleased out-takes from the album sessions, along with a solo version of "Alberta", which appeared on Blues. These are all interesting tracks but, as with most out-takes, the reason they didn't appear on the original album is that they just weren't as good as those that did. An interesting listen none-the-less. Actually, I like "Stars, Strays And Ashtrays" and can't help picturing Eric singing it sitting at a lonely bar in the Deep South (Baton Rouge, not Bexhill-on-Sea).

Disc 2 is billed as the "Best of" Clapton's live set from the Hammersmith Odeon (27/4/77). For most, the main reason for wanting to have this Deluxe Edition will probably be the 5 previously unreleased tracks, "Steady Rollin' Man", "Can't Find My Way Home", "Badge", "I Shot The Sheriff" and "Layla". "Steady Rollin' Man" - one of my favourite numbers from 461 Ocean Boulevard - really rocks, although Eric's main solo sometimes promises more than it delivers. Ironically, one of the highlights of this set is when Clapton hands over to Yvonne Elliman, for a deeply moving "Can't Find My Way Home". Listeners of a nervous disposition are warned that "I Shot The Sheriff" descends alarmingly into a lengthy drum solo (apologies to Jamie Oldaker and appreciative drummers everywhere!). "Layla" is Eric's 'first half' version without the keyboard ending and "Badge" really rocks too.

Of the other 4 live numbers, "Further On Up The Road" appeared on Crossroads and "Tell The Truth", "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" and "Stormy Monday" appeared on Crossroads 2. This is where the main disappointment lies with this edition, as over 30mins. of the live material has been released previously. The Super Deluxe version contains 5 more unreleased tracks from the show and if the opening three numbers on that release ("Hello Old Friend", "Sign Language" and "Alberta") effectively eased Eric gently into the set, "Nobody Knows When You're Down And Out" and "Key To The Highway" - which come later - would have been welcome additions to the Deluxe Edition. Still, if you don't have the Crossroads box sets you won't be disappointed with what is included.

The package is very nicely presented - although the discs are even harder to extract from this latest version of the digi-paks (and without the plastic sleeve of earlier versions, they don't look so "deluxe") and there is a glossy 16 page booklet with an essay by David Hepworth, telling the story of the recording session, along with photos and some extra recording details. This latest remastering sounds good to me on a first listen - I haven't compared versions, although from memory Carl Radle's bass now sometimes sounds to have more presence (a definite plus point). Where did those 35 years go? Answers on a postcard please ...
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Along with 1974's "461 Ocean Boulevard" – Eric Clapton's hugely popular and commercially successful "Slowhand" album from 1977 was always going to be the subject of a 2CD DELUXE EDITION set at some point in time. And chock full of crowd-pleasers like "Wonderful Tonight", "Lay Down Sally" and J.J. Cale's "Cocaine" that Eric plays in concert to this day (some 40 years later) - it's surprising Universal took so bloody long in releasing it. Yet you have to say – it's absolutely been worth the wait - with a 2nd disc that is both thrilling and a reminder of just how good old EC was/is in the 'live' arena. Here are the Diesel and Peaches...

UK and USA released December 2012 – "Slowhand: 35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" by ERIC CLAPTON is a 2CD Reissue/Remaster on Polydor 0600753407202 (Barcode 600753407202) and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (53:22 minutes):
1. Cocaine
2. Wonderful Tonight
3. Lay Down Sally
4. Next Time You See Her
5. We're All The Way
6. The Core [Side 2]
7. May You Never
8. Mean Old Frisco
9. Peaches And Diesel

10. Looking At The Rain – a Gordon Lightfoot cover version, recorded 6 May 1977 - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
11. Alberta – a cover version variant of the Blues song "Alberta" by Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter – Clapton's version is more akin to "Alberta Blues" by The Mississippi Sheiks. Recorded 4 May 1977 – it was first issued on the 1999 Eric Clapton compilation "Blues" as an outtake from "Slowhand"
12. Greyhound Bus – an Eric Clapton song recorded 20 May 1977 - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
13. Stars, Strays And Ashtrays – an Eric Clapton song recorded May 1977 - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

Disc 2 – Live At Hammersmith Odeon, London, 27 April 1977 (74:42 minutes):
1. Tell The Truth (Live) – an Eric Clapton and Bobby Whitlock Song originally on the 1970 "Layla" 2LP set by Derek & The Dominoes
2. Knocking On Heaven's Door (Live) – a Bob Dylan cover
3. Steady Rolling Man (Live) - originally on "461 Ocean Boulevard"
4. Can't Find My Way Home (Live) – a Blind Faith song written by Steve Winwood – sung here by Yvonne Elliman only
5. Further On Up The Road (Live) – a Bobby "Blue" Bland cover version (written by Joe Veasey)
6. Stormy Monday (Live) – a T-Bone Walker cover version
7. Badge (Live) – a Cream cover written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison
8. I Shot The Sheriff (Live) – a Bob Marley & The Wailers cover version
9. Layla (Live) – a Derek & The Dominoes song

Lead Guitar & Vocals – ERIC CLAPTON
Keyboards – DICK SIMS
Duet Lead Vocals – YVONNE ELLIMAN
Duet Lead Vocals, Harmonica and Guitar – MARCY LEVY
Drums and Percussion – JAMIE OLDAKER

Tracks 3, 4, 7 8 and 9 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
Tracks 1, 2 and 6 first appeared in 1996 on the 4CD Polydor/Chronicles Book Set “Crossroads 2 (Live In The Seventies)”

BILL LEVENSON produced the compilation that features 16-page liner notes by noted writer DAVID HEPWORTH (assisted by Richard Havers) with the tape research, transfers and remastering handled by ANDY SKUROW, KEVIN REEVES and SETH FOSTER at Sterling Sound. The booklet is a very functional affair – a few photos and paragraphs on Clapton’s career and the huge impact tunes like J.J. Cale's "Cocaine", the love song and perennial compilation filler "Wonderful Tonight" and the poppy "Lay Down Sally" had on his radio popularity. The inner flaps of the card digipak have the inner sleeve collage photos of the LP – it's good but hardly great.

The remasters are fantastic – warm, clear and not over trebled for the sake of it. The big riff of "Cocaine" hits you with a wallop – immediately followed by the "'s late in the evening...she's wondering what clothes to wear..." smooch of “Wonderful Tonight” which despite being overplayed still has the power to make the old soft machine feel a little more mushy. I must admit I never much cared for the throwaway pop of "Lay Down Sally" then and it remains that way now – but I've always loved the jaunt of Don Williams' "We're All The Way" – a genius choice cover version which Clapton makes his own through arrangements. The big rock track of the album "The Core" was co-written with Marcy Levy (as was "Lay Down Sally") and features Yvonne Elliman on Duet Vocals. It dominates Side 2 for nearly nine minutes and yet doesn’t overstay its welcome made interesting with crafty chord changes and that bounce-off vocal. I dare say Scotland’s John Martyn put a few kids through college on the royalties from “May You Never” – a beautiful ballad from his 1973 classic "Solid Air" on Island Records. Clapton keeps the simple melody but again makes it feel like it was an EC song all along. We then get the album’s only Blues outing – a cover of Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "Mean Old Frisco" – that EC arranges into an irresistible combo of Electric Slide Guitar alongside high string Dobro fills and a muscle doubled-vocal. It's a winner. The album ends on "Peaches And Diesel" – an instrumental I always felt is lightweight re-run of “Wonderful Tonight” but not in a good way (the remaster of it though is gorgeous). I'd have to say that the Bonus Tracks on Disc 1 are largely disappointing and it's pretty obvious why his dreadful "Stars, Strays And Ashtrays" stayed in the can (his vocal is awful and he sounds stoned). Better is the pretty cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "Looking At The Rain" – a nice outtake – as is the washboard harmonica drive of "Greyhound Bus" (sweet duet vocals with Elliman). The Bluesy and acoustic "Alberta" – which first turned up on the 1999 "Blues" Box Set – is the best of the bunch (great audio and vocals too). But all that pales into the distance when you get to the shock of Disc 2...

Although live inclusions are seen by fans as convenient filler in these DE's - the 'Live' Disc here from April 1977 in England's Hammersmith Odeon is a sensation – making mincemeat of the four insipid outtakes that end Disc 1. The band (the same line-up he had on the album minus Saxophonist Mel Collins) is on fire and each version of each song is infused with energy and playing that is amazing ("Further On Up The Road" rocks like a mother and receives a warm audience response). If this had been released as a definitive 2LP set in the late Seventies – it would stand up as a winner to this day. A major bummer is that there's amp feedback prevalent throughout the 13-minute Blues of "Stormy Monday" which really detracts (especially in the solos) - but it's still a great purist performance. Better is "Badge" which gets slightly funked up and elicits crowd handclapping and cheers. Running to 14 minutes - the Reggae-Funk-Rock of Bob Marley's "I Shot The Sheriff" sees the band cooking on all fronts – the vocals, rhythms, drum solos and guitars – it's wickedly good. Disc 2 ends (as it had to do) on the crowd-pleaser "Layla" where the guitars rock out. Apart from that terrible feedback problem on "Stormy Monday" – it's a cool addition and actually worth of the moniker 'Bonus'.

Even though the booklet could have done with some serious beefing up (photos, memorabilia, interviews) – the great remaster and that live bonus material make this a DE winner. I'd love to see the underrated "Backless" from 1978 receive the same treatment - and for that matter the equally underrated and forgotten "Another Ticket" from 1981. Once more unto the tape vaults Mister Levenson...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 January 2015
I was bought the 2 CD set as a present, through Amazon, and am delighted to own it.

The original album was Clapton's high point in terms of sales in the 1970s. It starts with three tracks that have become Clapton standards over the years: 'Cocaine', 'Wonderful Tonight' and 'Lay Down Sally'. Rarely has an album started with three tracks of such high standard.

Clapton was touring at the time this album was recorded and it was an easy decision to take his touring band into the studios with him. They were used to playing with each other and had become a tight unit, and this is amply demonstrated on this record where the musicianship is of the highest quality. The vocals included contributions from Yvonne Elliman, of whom Clapton writes with great affection in his autobiography. She has a wonderful voice, There is also some very tight tempo-strict percussion from Jamie Oldaker - a feature of this drummer and therefore of this album.

Sometimes Clapton's vocals sound a little hoarse: he had kicked his drug habit at this time but was severely affected by his use of alcohol. Nevertheless all the tracks are excellent. The album concludes with 'Peaches and Diesel' an instrumental on which Clapton achieves a wonderfully rich tone in his playing.

If I have a criticism of this album, it is that, just when it sounds as if he's going to embark on an extended guitar solo, Clapton cuts its short. But that is made up for on the live album in the deluxe edition. Here we have some excellent performances, culminating in 'Badge', 'I Shot the Sheriff' and 'Layla'.

'Slowhand' offers a collection of Clapton tracks that show him at his very best. Thoroughly recommended: five stars.
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on 2 October 2001
From the first to the last track this is a CD of great music. Opening with the wonderfully rocky feel of "Cocaine", and following up with a mix of blues and love songs, including the ever popular "Wonderful tonight" and my personal favourite "Lay down Sally". All the way through there is the usual excellent guitar work (although this isn't as prominent as it might be) overlaid with Eric's unique voice. All the tracks have a feel of having been lovingly put together by a mastercraftsman. A must for anyone's Clapton collection
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on 3 August 2005
Slowhand pulls some damn fine guitaring out of somewhere with this album, Cocaine is a classic, as are most of the tracks, Clapton's style is bluesy as usual and if you're a fan of clappers you should have this album really.
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on 2 September 2013
One of hiis best studio albums now enhanced with additional studio recordings and a live London Hammersmith concert on the second CD.
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on 23 July 2014
Sadly, the new albums released by Eric are a total change from his older albums and in my opinion very sad. So a trip down memory lane is all that is left for his older fans. This is a great collection of many of his great recording plus some additions that are less know and live. I cannot stand his current ventures so these anniversary releases are a welcome addition to my collection.
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What lets this otherwise fine 1977 Clapton record down is Eric himself, whose rather underpowered singing and reticent guitar work lets the side down. That`s a pity, as this nine-track disc (I`m reviewing the original album, not the 2-disc deluxe edition - Amazon have lumped them together, as they usually and annoyingly do) is full of great songs.
EC was in the depths of his long period of alcoholism (not to mention the drugs and fags) at this point, and his weakened voice proclaims as much, though not on every track, Wonderful Tonight being one honourable exception, given a peerless, never bettered treatment.
His duet with Marcy Levy on a song they co-wrote called The Core is another joyous highlight, an almost nine-minute tour de force, with Marcy singing her heart out in stirring style.
The opening JJ Cale cover of Cocaine lacks the understated quiet power of Cale`s original (nobody, but nobody, can sing Cale like the man himself) and the Cale-like Lay Down Sally is a good song which could have been even better had Eric`s health permitted.
This goes for the excellent self-penned Next Time You See Her and the lovely We`re All The Way, a Don Williams country song that suits EC well.
May You Never falls far short of the mercurial original by John Martyn, EC making something a touch too pedantic out of a subtly slight song.
Arthur Crudup`s Mean Old Frisco is just fine, while the instrumental closer Peaches And Diesel (by Clapton & his pal Albhy Galuten) is a pleasing way to end this likeable yet frustratingly `incomplete` set of songs.
My four stars testify to my affection for Slowhand - the record and the man - but it could have been so much more powerful, more punchy, and more effective.
I`m no doubt in a minority in thinking that, song-wise, this is a stronger album
than the too often over-praised 461 Ocean Boulevard (though his singing is clearer and more confident on that record) so it`s doubly sad that Eric`s lights are being hidden under bushels on much of Slowhand. It`s stil a fine album, which I play a lot - but always wishing it were that much better...
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on 4 June 2014
It was relevant to my wife as the track Wonderful tonight was something that she saida long time ago that I never commented on how she looked and after that I always said "you look wonderful tonight"
It is a personal thing.
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on 5 June 2015
Brilliant becausevof the addition of extra tracks and the live stuff. Some people claimed ec was finished after creamvwell take a listen to this stuff that was never meant for release excellent as usual
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