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What is it with Clapton ?,
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This review is from: Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 (Audio CD)
Something has been bothering me of late, concerning EC's studio albums. From Back Home to Old Sock has revealed that EC's studio recordings currently have serious feet of clay. There's something missing, that you cannot really put your finger on: it's as if a yearning is there, but the execution is pointless, or wrong-headed.
That's not to say, however, that his collaborations, and other live albums, lack something: far from it. EC has worked wonders with Wynton Marsalis, reunited with Cream for some excellent concerts in 2005, and given us an amazing live album with Steve Winwood. He's also cut the mustard with the late JJ Cale on The Road to Escondido, and this various artists, EC curated, album shows that the live and collaborative material is what EC currently does best.
It opens with a great Tears In Heaven, and follows that with a nod to the Tulsa sound, with Vince Gill, on Lay Down Sally. Then the guests take over, with an amazing Green Onions by Booker T, Steve Cropper, Albert Lee etc. I have an obscure ferocious take on Green Onions on a Stax 4cd set, and this version summons up that ghost. John Mayer also channels an inner Brothers & Sisters / Harvest mellow rock feel on Queen of California, and what he does with Keith Urban on Don't Let Me Down is amazing. Urban is excellent in recent collaborations with Jimmy Webb and John Fogerty, and this only highlights his brilliance.
I am also fond of Gary Clark Jnr, who also appears on the recent Buddy Guy album, and was a guest on some of the Rolling Stones 50th anniversary gigs. He's a revelation on this album, whether it be with Doyle Bramhall, electric blues, or acoustic blues. Additionally, he's the younger blues in contrast to the fiery older blues of Buddy Guy, represented here on Damn Right I Got The Blues, and shows the blues to be in safe hands.
I would add too that EC's revisitation of Derek-era material with Derek Trucks and the rest of the curremt Allman Brothers Band is brilliant, and maybe that could be, or should be, the roots of a great live collaboration. Bobby Whitlock is still alive, and it could be worthwhile.
Furthermore, Jeff Beck on Women Of Ireland is far better than he was with the Corrs doing the same track. It's not a patch on The Chieftains original version, but it's still good.
I would add, finally, that EC really knows what to do with his back catalogue: his live archives are coming to light with a recent 2 disc Unplugged reissue, a 1977 concert as a bonus on Slowhand, and highlights from the Johnny Cash show on a deluxe Layla. Unlike the Stones, he's really giving the fans what they want, in the last year, be it a new studio album, Old Sock, the live concert with Wynton Marsalis, and the deluxe Slowhand, in addition to the deluxe Unplugges. We, in the forthcoming week, will also be expecting Give Me Strength; the 1974-75 Sessions, and , hopefully, there'll be more in 2014.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Dec 2013 09:15:42 GMT
Mr. S. J. Thorpe says:
I tell you what it is with Clapton studio albums...he uses a producer called Simon Climie. Unfortunately this collaboration has sterilised Clapton's playing even to the extent that the guitar is barely audible in the mix on some tracks! He needs a producer like Rick Rubin to get Clapton back on track with albums like the superb "Journeyman" I totally agree that nowadays Clapton seems best suited to live performances....when his guitar can often soar and take you to another planet.....
In reply to an earlier post on 28 Dec 2013 12:50:40 GMT
T. C. Casagranda says:
I agree with you on this point.
Journeyman through to From The Cradle were superb albums: Pilgrim was an underrated gem, too. Contentedness may have brought some poor albums, but then his live material is still excellent.
I wonder what's happened with the joint concerts with Jeff Beck: why have they not been released ?
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2014 14:01:21 GMT
nice review; as a confessing non-die-hard-Clapton fan, I think he's accomplished a great deal with this edition and your review bears testimony to this fact; his work as a curator of some fine guitar excellence reminds me more and more of Claude Nobs' work at the Montreux/Switzerland Jazz-Festival; Vince Gill deserves a particular mention on Rodney's killer - exactly like you did !
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