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3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Old Sock
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I can understand why many Clapton fans feel disappointed by this album, certainly those who are more fans of his rock and blues material and those who prefer harder-edged music in general. When I first played "Old Sock", I was quite surprised at how gentle and sleepy this album is at times and wasn't sure about it at all. However, after I'd given it a few more plays, I realised that there is plenty here to like, but only if you also enjoy your music at a more relaxed pace and aren't expecting Clapton to be playing electrifying blues with any kind of fire in his belly. There are a few tracks which sound a little dated and have been given the gentle reggae treatment that Clapton favoured in the 1970's, such as "Further On Down The Road" which kicks of the album with a whimper rather than a bang, and the distinctly average "Your One And Only Man". Despite lacking any kind of edge, they're pleasant enough songs, although I'm well aware I'm damning them with faint praise. Sadly, that is the story of most of this album as there is far too much pedestrian content on "Old Sock" for it be regarded as one of Eric's better albums and there is nothing that really moves out of first gear.

The worst offenders on this disappointingly underwhelming album are the supposedly upbeat numbers, such as "Gotta Get Over", which lack the punch they should deliver, whereas the slower, more purposely relaxed songs actually sound rather lovely. "The Folks Who Live On The Hill", for example, is dreamy and romantic, "All Of Me" with Paul McCartney, is a charming rendition of the old standard, "Goodnight Irene" is genuinely likeable and "Our Love Is Here To Stay" is affably delivered. It is on the more crafted, subtle songs that Eric really excels and he manages to handle much covered material with taste and restraint. His tribute to Gary Moore, "Still Got The Blues" is superb. Eric could have gone for a straight forward cover, but his low-key, smoky rendition highlights the class and beauty of the composition. Sadly, "Every Little Thing" is, by far, the worst thing I have ever heard Eric Clapton release - an absolute abomination. I am not a great fan of artists adding a choir of children onto songs at the best of times, but rarely do they sound as cringeworthy, twee and sickening as they do on this song. A seriously bad mistake. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I felt digusted and nauseous when I first heard it. I've subjected myself to it again before writing this review and I can only say that my feelings are not only upheld, but they're possibly stronger in my hatred of this track.

So, is this a good album? No, not really. A bad album? I wouldn't go that far either. It's actually a rather confused mess of an album which lacks any real musical identity. Given my eclectic personal taste, I actually like what many of Clapton's fans may hate about the album, the slow, relaxed, mellowed-out Clapton adding subtle acoustic guitar licks to old standards and covers. People who particularly enjoyed the "Unplugged" album, for example, may find plenty to enjoy here. I can't help thinking that if the whole album would have been like that, it would have been a lot more likeable. A Clapton album of old standards would be divisive amongst his admirers, probably, but at least it would have been focused and cohesive. Anyway, it is what it is and there's no point in ranting about what Eric "should be doing". This is a musician approaching seventy years old who is making the music he wants to make and it's our choice whether to buy it and listen to it or not. There's just enough good music on this album for me to not regret buying it, but it's a close call.

Incidentally, "Old Sock", according to Clapton, is a term of endearment that older men address each other with - i.e. "Hello, old sock". I will have to take his word for it, as it's not something I have ever heard of before. Better luck next time, old sock.
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I can't say much good about this new EC album. The theme of this new Eric Clapton seems to be 'lets take it nice and easy' and it really shows. Too much mediocre tunes that just don't inspire me at all. The reggae stuff is awful as is the ballads with the smooth vocals. Where is the fire Eric? Where is the innovation Eric? Where is the soul Eric?
Very sad to say as a big Clapton fan this CD has no fire or inspiration for me at all. The production is very polished without the great songs. This is the first Clapton album I could not listen right through, it's very ordinary sadly.
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on 10 October 2013
As an ardent Clapton fan for decades I couldn't believe just how poor this album is. Might suit some but the only reason I purchased this was to maintain my 100% EC collection. Hope next album gets back on track
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on 18 August 2013
Have been a fan of EC since his days with the Yardbirds. He has been through a number of incarnations over the years, some better than others. This CD is a strange and varied collection of numbers covering various styles and periods. Some work, some don't.
All done very professionally and skilfully, but I expected something better from Eric.
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on 22 April 2013
This album disappoints those who want Eric to produce the kind of stuff he used to do in his 30s and 40s. On the other hand he is 68 this year (2013), has had some awful things happen to him in his life, has had some intensive professional counselling and has managed to meet and marry somebody who clearly gives him the love he has craved for so long. Couple this with his having three little girls to dote over him and it seems his guy has found some serious tranquillity and joy in life. Good for him.
What has this to do with the album? It means he is a laid back, serious performer these days who lays down exactly what tracks he wants on his albums, according to the arrangements he prefers.
If you are a guitarist you will appreciate the diversity of guitsrs he plays on this CD, always with that virtuoso touch. Getting a tune out of a Dobro is not just a matter of tuning to open "E" and whacking at it with plectrum and bottleneck. This man makes his guitars sing in the most subtle manner. He has also obviously been working on his voice. "Less is more" applies to this compilation.
For me the big surprise is "Goodnbight Irene". Of all the songs to cover this one might be the least accessible, but you know - it really works! And I really hope the girls singing on "Every Little Thing" are his own kids. bet you they are.
Conclusion? If you want hard rocking go buy AC-DC, but I played this CD in the car all the way from Portsmouth to mid-France and found that I was so chilled out listening, that fuel consumption improved by 10%.
So buy the CD to save fuel! This album will pay for itself after 800 miles or so...
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#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 12 March 2013
For getting on for five decades now I have been firmly of the belief that Eric Clapton is a major deity, and seeing him in concert remains a highlight of my musical life, so I say this through clenched teeth and with great sadness: this album isn't very good. I thoroughly disliked it on first hearing, but I have made myself listen to it several more times to see whether I was missing something. It did get a bit better on repeated listening, being salvaged to an extent by some of Eric's guitar work (of course it is) but overall I think it's distressingly feeble.

The songs are largely covers and reworkings of standards. Now, Clapton has often been able to bring something exceptional to older, sometimes very familiar songs; the blues material goes without saying, but Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Cocaine and the stunning live version of Can't Find My Way Home on E.C Was Here, just to take three random examples, show the brilliance he is capable of in a wide variety of styles. Here, there is (to me, anyway) a slick but slightly empty, cocktail lounge feel to songs like The Folks Who Live On the Hill and Goodnight Irene and I can find very little real heart or genuine emotional content anywhere.

Every Little Thing rather typifies the album for me. It begins very well with a solid riff from the band and some really good vocals from Eric, but it stumbles between styles, doesn't really go anywhere and ends up with - get this - a choir of very young, lisping, slightly-out-of-tune children singing "Every little thing you do is beautiful..." It's twee, sickly, manipulative and musically vacuous - and it's on an Eric Clapton album, for heavens' sake! The whole album seems to me to have an insincere, corporate gloss over it which is a world away from the depth and passion of Eric's best work. Even the reggae arrangements which he has done so brilliantly in the past sound pretty middle-of-the-road and lack any real bite.

Of course there are some fine solos from Eric, including some great bottleneck work, and he still has that incomparable touch and the ability to improvise a miniature work of genius. The trouble is, it's all but swamped by its desperately disappointing context. There is a stellar cast of guests here, but even JJ Cale, another of my greatest heroes, can't really lift Angel much above the ordinary, and I leave you to make up your own mind about what the presence of Paul McCartney might imply for the style of the music.

I am genuinely very sad to have to say this about an album by a man whose work I have so admired and who has meant so much to me for so long. I have given it three stars because of the guitar work and partly, to be honest, because I couldn't bring myself to give EC any less, but I can't really recommend it.
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on 27 March 2013
Sitting through this album was only slightly less mind-numbing than watching the paint dry on my living room wall. I did it anyway in the hope that there might be some life left in the bloated musical corpse that is eric clapton. Of course - there isnt. This is so middle of the road and comfortable it makes me wanna puke. Its hard to believe that this is the same towering musical giant who turned his guitar up to 11 and pretty much single handedley invented heavy rock with cream back in 1966. How strange that after that blitzkrieg musical tour de force between 66-69 eric settled into the bland and irrelevant persona he remains in to this day. You cant even blame it on age cos hes been like this basically since cream ended (a few tracks from the 'derek and the dominoes' project excepted)

I would give this album one star but he gets the extra one simply because of who he once was and the righteous respect he has for the cyclone that was cream. Its truly bizarre that eric himself cant see how everything he has recorded in the past 40 years pales into insignificance when compared to those glory days. Im glad hes still alive and still making music, but eric, havent you ever heard the phrase 'rage against the dying of the light'? how sad it is to see you going out so meekly and gutless with music as bland, empty and spineless as this. old sock? you aint kidding brother.
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on 16 April 2013
Been a clapton fan since fresh cream was released. Had some difficulty making the transition to 461 Ocean Boulevard but got there in the end. Recent output harder to appreciate. Hesitate to use word " ordinary " , it is clapton after all, but..... I'll persevere but I don't think I'll automatically order his next one.
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on 2 April 2013
having been a great fan of E C since my teens(i am now late 50's)i do begin to think he is losing the plot.The last album was awful,this is worse!Where has his spirit and gusto gone?The last concert i attended it seemed as if he would rather have not been there and this album seems the same.His rendition of ^still got the blues^ would have Gary Moore turning in his grave.Come on Eric,still love you but please please get back to your roots.
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on 3 January 2014
If you love the EC of Layla, Sunshine Of Your Love, Badge or Politician - then do yourself a favour and avoid this monstrosity.

EC's worst album of his career, and makes Max Bygraves sound like Slipknot.

One for nodding off to, or ending a career with......

Eric - please - no more of this dross.
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