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4.1 out of 5 stars
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 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 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 11 June 2016

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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 4 January 2015
River of tears.... Most beautiful piece of music, buy the cd even if just for this track ..... The rest, good listen, steady rhythmic beat .... Good for, and listen through five speakers, even at risk of being tarred and feathered by two channel purest ....
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on 30 June 2001
This is a beautiful album of great lyrical quality and superb musicianship. Clapton obviously searched long and deep, drawing from his own life experiences, to write such emotive songs. The vast soundscapes produced by band and orchestra create a wonderful backdrop to EC's vocals and guitar-work. Opening with the soul searching 'My Father's Eyes' which is a song of great depth and richness. 'River Of Tears' is a deeply reflective song with a wide palette of sounds supporting and surrounding Clapton's heartfelt vocals "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" - this is so good! The title track reveals Clapton singing with an almost frail and vulnerable voice "And how do I know, and where do I get my belief that things will be alright again?" - and this is right for the song which works well. St. Louis Jimmy's 'Going Down Slow' is excellent with Eric in fine form vocally and including some great distorted guitar playing, also worth mentioning is the apparent vast spaciousness of sound created by the band and orchestra with beautiful keyboard-work by Paul Carrack. 'Sick And Tired' is raw blues with an aggressive attitude and a real live feel to it, once again the orchestra is great! Blues and orchestra! Why not, it works for BB King and it definitely works here! 'You Were There' contains more rich and sensitive lyrics, beautifully sung and performed with some wonderfully controlled guitar - great stuff! The final track 'Inside Of Me' drips with atmosphere - good vocals, superb guitar-work, incredible backing vocals, and fine overall musicianship. Twelve of the fourteen tracks were written or co-written by Clapton. This album confirms EC's blues roots but he never allows his roots to limit or restrict him. He has pushed the boundaries further back into new areas, taking chances and going for something a bit different. I am delighted with this album which is superb and once again confirms Eric Clapton as a world class songwriter, singer, and musician.
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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 8 April 2013
Well produced album (Too well for some purists). I bought this for Track 1 only. "My Fathers Eyes" fantastic slide guitar playing in the style of Joe Walsh. The rest of the album is a bit too laid back for me but quality never the less.
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