My favourite period of solo Clapton is that of the late seventies and early eighties, while he still had a passion for the music and still worked with good producers (i.e., before he started working with Phil Collins). And this little gem comes right in the middle of that period.
Following from the mighty `Slowhand' album, this album was always going to be somewhat in the shadow of its illustrious predecessor and struggle to be heard. But there is some strong material here that is the equal of the task.
As usual in this period, Clapton was trying to focus more on singing and leave the guitar legend image behind. He also was settled on one style, country blues, rather than the straight blues of his solo debut, or the hotchpotch of various styles found on albums such as One in Every Crowd. This mellow, relaxed style runs through the whole album, and a thoughtful and introspective record is the result. In all, 4 stars.
on 23 October 2005
This may not be Clapton's finest hour as a guitar player. But amongst the post 'God' collections of shall we say Laid Back Clapton, this could well be the finest. It is such a pleasure to listen to this album...pretty damn consistent in its quality...and although no guitar heroics here, there are some songs which remain my favourite in his entire back catalogue. He is of course helped by having Bob Dylan contribute two songs here, the sublime opener 'Walk Out In The Rain' and the rocking opener to side 2 (vinyl) 'If I Don't Be There By Morning'. One can imagine Claptons's joy at hearing the demos sent to him by Dylan. And apparently he was offered four songs. What happened to the other two? As far as I know they have never surfaced. Maybe they were crap. I doubt it.
'Watch Out For Lucy' is an enjoyable romp with fine guitar and catchy melody. The cover of JJ Cale's I'd Make Love To You Anytime' is extremely laid back for sure but none the worse for that. 'Get Ready' is an improvised jam which is OK but only if played loud. Then the closer to Side 1 (vinyl) 'Tell Me That You Love Me' finds Clapton himself penning a really moving and melodic song. This track stands tall 28 years later. It is mighty fine.
The obligatory blues number 'Early In The Morning' is creditable but somewhat out of place on this warm-hearted album. 'Promises' - another superb choice of cover, boy was he good at choosing songs to cover, is sublime. Tragic perhaps, lyrically, but first class in its delivery...Claptons's vocal here is again wonderfully laid back. To great effect. 'Golden Ring' appears to tackle the subject of the Harrison-Patti-Eric love triangle (though no one has ever confirmed this to my knowledge). Pretty moving really. Then the superb closer Tulsa Time which he would use to open his 1980 tour with. Perhaps even more effective live but this is where we first heard it.
So all in all, a very satisfying album which really hangs together as a mood piece, unlike say 'Slowhand' or 'Another Ticket' the two albums which sandwiched this one. 'Slowhand' had the famous singles for sure which this album doesn't . But this album is something special, which is incidentally the title of the opening track of his next album! The front cover of Eric on the sofa (complete with West Bromwich Albion scarf) will probably give you a clue as to how laid back this album is. But it is one that I return to constantly. Surely the sign of a great album.
I originally bought this album on vinyl soon after its original release and I've always liked it. I was first attracted to the album by Eric's cover of Tulsa time (noticeably different from the equally brilliant original by Don Williams) but the whole album is brilliant. It isn't quite my favorite among Eric's albums (that would be 461 Ocean Boulevard) but it comes close.
Supported by Dick Sims (keyboards), Marcy Levy (backing vocals), George Terry (guitar), Carl Radle (bass guitar and backing vocals), Jamie Oldaker (drums, percussion and backing vocals), Eric sings and plays guitar on ten songs, four of which (Watch out for Lucy, Roll it, Tell me that you love me, Golden ring) he wrote or co-wrote. Bob Dylan co-wrote two of the others (Walk out in the rain, If I don't be there by morning) while J J Cale wrote I'll make love to you anytime. Perhaps the best of the lot is Promises (written by Richard Feldman and Roger Linn) while the traditional Early in the morning is another excellent song.
Overall, this is a fairly mellow album although the tempo picks up here and there. Other s may tell you that this is not one of Eric's most important albums but it remains one of my favorites.
on 11 December 2010
A great album from Clapton, bought this to replace origional cassette version, re mastered and sounding fresh despite its age. A long time admeration for Clapton, from his early days with The Yardbirds, Mayall, Cream and Blind Faith. Nice bluesy style riffs with a hint of a country feel, well balanced album typical of Claptons early solo efforts.