George Starostin's Reviews



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Gustavo Rodriguez <> (24.06.98)

I agree with you, George. A phenomenal player.

A guitarist/musician who deserves the living legend status he's earned.

I love him despite his many miserable faults. Rock n' Roll wouldn't be the same without him.

<> (29.09.99)

You need to listen a bit more to the man. He is a fine songwriter, writing from the heart. His singing is sincere. No one can touch him.

Mats Fjäll <> (04.02.2000)

Well, I think I'll have to agree with <> here.

E.C. is a great songwriter! He has written songs such as 'Bell Bottom Blues', 'Let It Grow', 'Circus' and 'Presence Of The Lord'. E.C.'s co. compositions are great too: 'Layla' (with Jim Gordon), 'Badge' (with George Harrison), 'Old Love' (with Robert Cray) and 'Tears in Heaven' (with Will Jennings, at least I think it was with him, I don't have the record with me right now!)

I think Eric's singing isn't that bad as some people say it is, in the early days he sang with a lot of feeling and, as Garret74 says, it was sincere. In the later days, his voice has become more soft and, I don't know, beautiful(?)... he can yell pretty good too, (check out 'Blues Before Sunrise'...)

I like his 70's period, it's has a kind of laidback mood... and it's great. Of course his days with Cream and the Dominos his his peak, all though his 90's is fantastic too (parhaps Pilgrim isn't that good, but it isn't very bad either...) To me the only thing to complain about is his eighties, but he has done so much great stuff that it is very easy to forgive him! Well, that's it...

By the way who is Jimi Hendrix...??? That guy has nothing to put against mr Slowhand!

E.C. is God...

[Special author note: you guys still won't convince me of Eric's greatness as a songwriter. Okay - he does have a handful of solid tunes, but, like we say, every bad poet has written at least one excellent poem. Eric was never able to write solidly on a consistent basis. And as for 'Layla', I've read about him actually stealing that riff from some old blues tune...]

Mats Fjäll <> (11.03.2000)

all right... the story bout "Layla".... I guess that almost every Beatles/Clapton fan knows the story 'bout Pattie Boyd Harrison! But how about that riff? Well this is how it is...

Clapton had the basic stuff for the song when he brought it to the studio, some people says that it was a similar version to the unplugged-version. He played it to Duane who came up with that riff. Eric later found out that if you played the riff slow, you'd play the Albert King song "As Years Keep Passing By". All this information can be found in the book 'Crossroads' written by Michael Schumacher (not the F-1 driver!).

And by the way, I think that the verses are great too, so it doesn't matter where the riff came from! It's a great song.

[Special author note: I quote Eric himself: 'You know what? That riff is a direct lift from an Albert King song... It's a slow blues. We took that line and speeded it up' (quoted in 'The Complete Guide to the Music of Eric Clapton', by Marc Roberty). So I suppose there are different evaluations of the fact.]

<> (24.03.2000)

Why even argue, you are obviously too stuborn and ridiculous to change your views of things. But you know what I dont care, its just because of that that I argue with you! I am laughing at you because of what you wrote about Clapton"the greatest guitarist on earth" afraid SNOT! Before I chew you up and spit you out, I must say that I like and respect Clapton very much, however, to call him that is just pure sin. We have already been through this way back in your hendrix thing, but, here goes....Hendrix can and probably still does everything Clapton does and wishes he could do and BLOODY MORE! Clapton himself has praised Hendrix as the greatest guitar with a head on him ever. What does that say. Now as we have all pointed out from numerous comments from others and myself, everyone has there own tastes, but everyone also has a few cents up there in their think, because if you were to do that, you might find, that...."Gee, these people were right, but that doesnt mean I cant love Clapton still." Exactly which is why we all do. Just pointing out the obvious! its great you should try it sometime.

<> (07.04.2000)

There is no other way to put but the Eric Clapton is the "god" and one of the greatest guitarist ever!!!

I'm 17 and i love metallica and clapton! he is a simple man who plays with the touch of an unworldly creature, plain and simple- awesome!! in the 60's he rocked the 70's he played and spoke and the 80's he did whole music thing. 90's at times rocked, sang and played always with his whole heart. i love the cream stuff and i love the slowish groovy the feel he gives the music the really defines him as a musician and guitarist. he does whatever he feels like not ever giving a crap what people think (usually). Clapton has to be recognized as an all time influence on modern music.

Tony Souza <> (23.04.2000)

A brilliant guitarist and a better-than-average songwriter. His voice is underrated too. The frustrating thing for me is that as great as he is, his recorded output has been inconsistent. Like the Who, I separate him into two catagories: studio and live. The problem with Clapton and his studio albums is, IMHO, that Clapton lets others do his creative thinking for him. On albums like Pilgrim, Behind the Sun and August, the producers (Collins and Babyface) were the ones in charge and that has resulted n mediocre albums. Some of his mid-seventies' albums (There's one in every Crowd, Backless) come off a bit lackluster. These are where Clapton has taken a back seat and let other people do the majority of the creative thinking for him. When Clapton takes charge though, as on From the Cradle and Layla and 461 Ocean Boulevard, the results are much better. He had plenty of help on those albums, but I always had a sense that he was in charge. That's also why I only listen to his live albums now. In a live setting, Clapton takes center stage (most of the time, anyway) and the musical focus is where it should be: on his guitar playing and the blues. Live is always where he shines the brightest.

<> (21.06.2000)

Ok. First of all, yes, Eric Clapton is a good guitar player. A damn fine guitar player. But to say he is the best ever is wrong, dont ya think? There are many good guitarists. I can think of 2 words that makes every guitar player cringe and cry for momma. Jimi Hendrix. Eric Clapton does not have what Jimi had. Dont get me wrong, Clapton is good, but Jimi left him WAYY behind my friend. Now, as far as a PRETTY guitar player (and i dont mean pretty looking), Clapton may have Jimi. Jimi writes pretty songs, and most of Jimi's stuff, even though the guy is my hero, is only pretty if ur on acid. Ya know, im sure the flower children at Woodstock thought Jimi's guitar playing was pretty "Hey man, ya know... that black dude up there.. yeah.. the one with 4 arms getting chased by the purple hippo.. yeah thats him.. he plays real pretty"........

[Special author note: please see my Hendrix page for the Jimi/Eric comparison...]

J Martin <> (30.06.2000)

I have read your page a few times along with the comments added by others. I had to keep reminding myself that it was and is just your opinion. And opinions are a personal thing. I am a die hard Clapton fan and have been since I heard 'White Room' for the first time. I like his style of guitar playing and there is nothing better than seeing him live on stage. Maybe the problem is - he makes playing guitar look so easy that you don't see or hear the work he puts into it. I have missed seeing him only once on tour in the last 30 years and once I had the opportunity of a life time - front row centre seats for a concert on the tour he did with Mark Knoffler(spelling) of Dire Straits. The man (EC) does not blow his own horn, and he doesn't have to. He is in my opinion the best guitarist to come out of the 60's. I like Page, Hendrix,Townsend and Beck to name a few - but if I had to ever chose between seeing any one of them - it would be Clapton hands down. I would never call him "God"(but I can understand why people do), and he may not be the best songwriter, he may not be the most flamboyant or colourful guitarist, but he is quietly the best.

Just an times it sounds like you have written his obit...You ended with...."Eric's career was a long and fruitful one".

He is still alive, and I think the best is yet to come.

Richard Rice <> (13.09.2000)

The man has most definitely affected rock in the condition that we have come to know and love/hate. Eric writes some masterful pop and has a voice reminiscent of Ray Charles. While he seems to have cut his teeth on vintage blues, From the Cradle is one of my least favorite Clapton efforts. He has the chops but he lacks the soul. His more recent efforts reek of commerciality. A player's gotta do what a player's gotta do to survive. A lot of the players from his generation (and mine) have had the balls and the tenacity to survive for the last several decades. Many times I'm sure that they produced "music" that made their skin crawl. Oh, well... Comparing Clapton to Hendrix is like comparing is like comparing Stevie Ray Vaughan to Jimmy Vaughan--both are good but are stylistically very different. Hendrix was a visionary of sorts but his image has been magnified and embellished over the years and that is what has elevated him to demi-godhood. I'll get off my soapbox now.

<> (14.10.2000)

Okay. If you play the guitar, I don't know about it. But to tell you the truth, he wasn't that great of a guitar player. Overrated to hell. Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Van Halen, Keith Richards, Duane Allman, and several others are superior to Clapton's guitar playing! They would solo all over the place, and as somebody who studies guitar solos and enjoys playing, get it straight. There are numerous guitarists who surpassed him when playing the guitar. OVERRATED.

Eric Rogozin <> (18.04.2001)

Eric Clapton is great! I admire his guitar skills! And I adore his guitar style! And what a big influence he was and will always be! He influenced almost every guitarist on Earth. I think, he's also a great songwriter, but let's don't discuss it, let's stick to his guitar. He released many excellent albums, and, in general, he played extremely important role in music history. Love the guy! And I can't objectively judge about someone I like. Yardbirds and Cream were great! By the way, a lot of people underestimate The Yardbirds, but this milestone in Clapton's creative work was awesome!

Thanks for reviewing the whole Clapton's catalog (generaly thanks for the site, it's awesome! I've seldom met the people with such musical competence! With SUCH COLOSSAL musical competence I've met the people very seldom).

Glenn Wiener <> (05.07.2001)

What can I say? Certainly the most accomplished guitar player of the rock n roll era, although fans of Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia, and Jimmy Page may say otherwise. Where I like Eric Clapton’s music a great deal, its mostly based on his longevity in the music business as several of his records such as Pilgrim, Behind The Sun, and August, have some very spotty material. Remember Clapton’s first solo recording came out in 1970 and he just released Reptile a few months ago. That’s 31 years of solo Eric alone without taking into account Cream, The Bluesbreakers, and Blind Faith. And there are many great guitar solos during that 31 year period, some passionate vocals (Eric is a badly underatted vocalist), and several song-writing gems and smoking’ blues covers. Eric Clapton will always be revered as a prime time player in the music world.

George, I was really delighted that you decided to review an Eric Clapton Concert in your home country. I saw Eric on the same tour this past June 23rd and let me tell you the man can still play. What really boggles the mind is how much better the Pilgrim songs sound in concert than on that shoddy record. The guitar solos and even the drumming by Stephen Gadd on 'River Of Tears' elevated the song from barely tolerable on record to a show stopper on stage. 'Five Long Years' was another highlight as Billy Preston and David Sancious contributed some stunning keyboard work along with Eric’s usual menacing guitar licks. The acoustic versions of 'Bell Bottom Blues' and 'Driftin’ had some creative embellishments s well. Some of the selections from Reptile were a little questionable( I would have rather heard 'Believe In Life' 'I Aint Gonna Stand For It' instead of 'I Want A Little Girl'), but at least Eric had the good sense to include 'Travelling Light'. But overall the concert was a good one and it was a nice touch to end with 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow'.

Warren <> (03.08.2002)

Eric Clapton is the most overrated guitarist Ive ever heard.

Yes, he is good, hes smooth and was an innovator, but he never played anything very technical, just straight blues, and I was a BIG Cream fan, so I know what Im talking about. I play pretty good myself, and I play along and get boooored. Lets stop the phony reverence and give an unbiased, critical rating, Id say B+. Definately good, but Ive heard MANY better over the years.

Just thought Id get my comments in.

Hendon Swift <> (20.07.2003)

Warren there is a reason why EC is so revered,  obviously you don't get it no one else has that feeling,

Jeff Hendershott <> (05.12.2003)

Clapton = "greatest guitarist ever"? While it is certainly fashionable to say this ("look at me, I know so much about rock and roll that I can say no one touches Eric Clapton!"), I'm sure Steve Morse might have something to say about this. DO ANY OF YOU EVEN KNOW WHO STEVE MORSE IS???? I can rattle off 50 guitarists who can bury Clapton - fast! Do I hate Clapton? No. He's got his place and he's a very good guitarist, but this "legend" business is more a result of hype and luck than talent no matter how you slice the pie. Come on people, think for yourselves. Do you honestly, in your heart of hearts, think he's THAT great?



Jan Beyer <> (04.07.2003)

Well, 'Parchman Farm' is Bukka White's work man. Anyway, its blues record, I wouldnt expect anything more than firsts, fourths and fifths...

Pat Shipp <> (08.12.2003)

Blues masterpiece. That's what this album is. To be quite frank: THESE ARE THE GREATEST GUITAR LICKS THAT CLAPTON EVER CAME UP WITH. Forget about all his 70's solo crap (if I hear "Cocaine" or "Layla" one more time, I'm gonna scream), this is the real deal.

Eric was a mere 20 years old when he played on this album. I've always thought it was cool that a 20 year-old British kid was starting to outshine his mentors. Eric was a clear case of 'the student surpassing the teachers'. I seem to remember hearing that both B.B. King and Mike Bloomfield were blown away by this album. It's almost as if Eric was saying "Move over, boys, there's a new kid in town".

If I had to choose one favorite on here, it would definitely be "All Your Love". Listen to the ear-piercing screams of Clapton's guitar at the end of the solo. Totally unbelievable. How the hell does the guy hit notes like that? And he's also devastating on his two instrumentals "Hideaway" and "Steppin' Out", playing with such raw fire that it never ceases to take my breath away. "Double Crossin' Time" might even feature his best solo on the whole album. Listen to it again, George, and you'll see. "Have You Heard" is deprecated by some boring saxophone, but once again, Eric comes in with a tremendous solo to save it. Okay, I enjoy ALL of the songs on here enormously. The only exceptions would be "Ramblin' On My Mind" and "Another Man". These sound like 50's blues, which never excited me that much in the first place. The harmonica-driven numbers "Parchman Farm" and "It Ain't Right" show Mayall to be a wonderful harpist, and the jazz tunes "What'd I Say" and "Key To! Love" are both excellent swingers. The drum solo on the former isn't all that impressive, though. All in all, this is undoubtedly Clapton's greatest playing ever. God, the fire of youth...


Glenn Wiener <> (25.09.99)

I like this record quite a bit. As a matter of fact at least as much as the overhyped Layla if not more. You do not mention 'Bad Boy' as I feel this song combines a good rocking blues beat with a strong horn section. Most of the other songs are quite spirited as Eric sings with much emotion on many of the tracks.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (02.01.2001)

Nice debut, but you're 100% right when you say that Eric is influenced by his support team. There's only one song whichis written by Eric without anyone's help - 'Easy now'. Though, this influence has it's good side - there are no bad songs at all. The best one here, IMHO, is 'Let it rain' which reminds me Harrison's 'If I needed someone'. By the way, Ringo's 'It don't come easy' is obvious ripoff (though, very good ripoff) of this song. 'After midnight' is pretty number, too. As I said before, I can't find any filler here and all songs are good and enjoyable. My rating is 8/10.


Bryan B. <> (10.12.98)

Yes, it is a good album. And that's what is important. Good albums start becoming awful albums when everybody and their brother says that the good album is the best album ever made. I don't really consider it a "blues" album as some people do. I don't even consider Clapton a blues player. His tone isn't bluesy at all! It's a rock guitar tone. He's a rock player. He always was, and always will be, I think. Still, I enjoy soul-less rock guitar playing if it is done well, and Clapton certainly does do it well. Lots to love about this record, and the hits have survived overplay fairly well. I'd definitely recommend it ahead of any other post-Cream Clapton material. You noted Duane Allman's presence on this album, and I think it has an awful lot to do with how the finished product turned out. Clapton seems to be at his best when other musicians are pushing him to his musical limit, and Duane does give him at least a run for his money here.

Gustavo Rodriguez <> (24.06.99)

George, my friend! Are you nuts?! "I Looked Away"? "I Am Yours"? "Keep On Growing?" "Thorn Tree In The Garden"?

How can you sleep on these wonderful songs?

"I Am Yours" is brilliant. Very Spanish-Latin sounding. Just heartbreaking-- Nizami or no Nizami.

This album is Clapton's finest hour as a songwriter. "Bell Bottom Blues" is his finest composition.

"Key to the Highway" is overlong and "Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad" sounds like a dopey Steven Stills record.

Simon Hearn <> (07.09.99)

We all have this album for one song - 'layla', which is a pity as there are some undiscovered gems here. 'Bell Bottom Blues', 'no body knows when youre down and out' (unplugged version is better though) and 'Why does love got to be so sad' are great. Looking on the sleeve you would think this was a bad album as everyone is stoned out of their faces, but talent and class will out. Patti Boyd must be so proud!

Glenn Wiener <> (25.09.99)

Whereas I admit this is a strong effort for E.C., I feel the bitter blues tone is hard to take over an extended period of time. Most of the songs are very good. However, the constant style is a little hard to take on some days. I still rate it between an 11 and 12 on your scale.

Fredrik Tydal <> (24.03.2000)

Is there really any filler on this one? The only possible suspect is "Thorn Tree In The Garden", but it's too short to really bother you - particulary when it follows the incredibly-fantastic-multiplied-with-ten title track. Wow, what a song. And that riff; completely unheard of (well, if you don't have a thing for speeding up old blues patterns). And that magnificent moving second part... Really great. I have to say I dislike the acoustic re-make which flooded the airwaves a couple of years ago. Horrible, in the sense that the original has been clouded in people's mind. Why did they have to put it out as a single? Couldn't they have chosen "Rollin' And Tumblin'" instead? Ah, well; no reason to get excited. Big Bill Broonzy's "Key To The Highway" smokes - the complete nine and a half minutes of it. Clapton and Allman Brother Duane pushes themselves to new artistic heights on that one. The tribute to the departed Hendrix with "Little Wing" is really nice... I could go on with the whole track list and say something positive about every single song, because this album is so darn good. The rating? Hard to say. Nine or ten, surely. Let's say nine and a half.

John McFerrin <> (08.05.2000)

No, George, this is a ten, and an easy 13 on the overall scale.

As far as filler goes, I count 'I am Yours', 'Thorntree', and 'It's Too Late'. And that's it.

'Bell Bottom Blues' is absolutely heartwrenching, 'I Looked Away' is neat, the lazy guitar licks on 'Keep on Growing' are fascinating, 'Anyday' is gorgeous ... guh, I can go on about virtually everything on here.

And, of course, the bluesy stuff is simply topnotch (I think I'm a closet blues lover - I mean, I adore the Wheels of Fire version of 'Spoonful', for crying out loud!).

Again, a 13.

Seth Edwards <> (30.01.2001)

Speaking of being stolen from somewhere, not only did he take the main riff (as you pointed out) but the piano bit that comes at the end of the title track has a melody that sounds deceptively similar to the "Pet Sounds" instrumental from the album of the same name. That aside, this is definately a great album. Maybe not as great as popular opinion dictates, but easily worth the 9 you give it. I really dig the way they completely change "Little Wing" around and make it their own! Killer guitar playing, but that goes without saying. I'll have to pick up Live at the Fillmore within the week, no doubt about it!

mello <> (11.02.2001)

Yep, I too was a bit disappointed when I first listened to this album, and it had to do with the fact that many of the songs have that country/rock-country/pop sound that I just don't dig (with the exception of CCR and the original Allman Brothers, which is great stuff). Nevertheless, I respect Clapton for having the cojones to change his musical style in such a short period of time. I mean, this is as far removed from Disraeli Gears as you can get! For the highlights: 'Bell Bottom Blues' is a great bluesy song that doesn't resort to the traditional blues structure, but is very sorrowful nonetheless; 'Why Does Love Have to Be So Sad' is just a full energy blast with awesome interweaving guitar lines; 'Have You Ever Loved A Woman' is very good, but for the definitive Clapton version of this song, check out a live version he did with The Bluesbreakers four years before in a collection called Primal Solos; 'Key to the Highway' is just excellent jammin'; 'Nobody Knows You When You Are Down and Out' is again given a beautiful sorrowful, bluesy treatment, the solo is primitive and simple but very powerful; and of course, 'Layla', one of the top 5 pop/rock songs of all time.

I suspect that this album could have had more of an impact if it had been a single record, and would have tipped the scales more towards the gritty rock material and jettisoned that 'country' sound.  As it is, it's a very professionally played record, full of energy and enthusiasm, and even the fillers manage to stay in your head for a while. You can definitely tell that Clapton and company had a blast making this album...(an interesting note:  the band  -minus Duane Allman-  played 'It's Too Late' in a country-music show of the early '70s, 'The Johnny Cash Show'. Johnny Cash, 'Mr. Country Music' himself, seemed mystified that Clapton, guitar god, and not far removed from Cream, would be playing country tunes!).

Chris Papadopoulos <> (22.11.2001)

Sorry, George, this is still the best thing EC ever did. I disagree with much of what you say here, but I'll restrict myself to this. It's not overrated; Anyday is one of the best tunes on the entire record; that was a cheap shot at The Band: they wrote some fine lyrics; and, while I can't remember having heard the live Dominos LP, I can't imagine even Eric could cover for the absence of Duane Allman. Eric himself once called Allman the best guitarist on the planet.

Ryan Maffei <> (30.03.2002)

I don't think there's any filler or weak material here, really. Clapton set out to make a dictionary of love-inspired music for his unreachable object of affection Patti Boyd, and he succeeded. Sometimes the record is driven by his soul and earnesty, sometimes his (and Allman's) virtuoso playing, sometimes just the quality of the songs themselves--and seriously, they're all quite good. This is a 9 record (I rarely give 10s anyway), maybe with a point off because of lack of innovative qualities (these are covers, give me a break), but it is Clapton's finest moment as an artist, and the perfect soundtrack to love's trials, tribulations and travails.

Did that sound corny? I apologize. Yeah, a high 9 for Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

Oh, wait! The title track. The astonishing title track, one of the absolute greatest songs ever written. One of those songs that I give 5.1 ratings instead of 5s, like "Biko" and "Are You Experienced?". Not only is Layla an astonishing recording feat, it's an unbeatably powerful piece of writing, brilliantly structured so that one does not tire of the brilliant riff-and-chorus section, giving the listener a soaring instrumental blowout to be enchanted by. And that riff is so clever and effective in its utter simplicity, even Elton John had the audacity to steal it for his "Have Mercy on the Criminal"...these are all just scattered thoughts. Hmm...maybe I should write a "Layla" thesis. Or, better yet, I should persuade somebody else to. Yes, that's it.

Did I mention that Layla is a high 9 record?

Jaime Vargas <> (10.05.2002)

George, you nailed it on the head with the comparioson to John Mayall in "Have you ever loved a woman". In fact, I don't think you have heard to the Crossroads box set - well the first record (on the vinyl version) ends with...a Bluesbreakers rendition of this song and the singing is exactly the same, but by Mayall. It's not original, either; the song is a Freddie King cover, and the singing comes straight from Eric's hero Buddy Guy. If you ever get your hands in a Buddy Guy compilation from the fifties, listen to the slowest pieces like "Worried Blues (Stick Around)". It's exacly the same way Mayall sings the slow blues songs. (By the way, on the version on the various artists LP Live at Big Bill's Copa Cabana you'll also learn where Robert Plant learnt that "I got a bird that whistles..." verse he stuck into "You Shook Me"; that album has also Sonny Boy Williamson doing "Bring It On Home" so I guess it was in Plant's collection. Oh my, I digressed mightily on this parenthesis. Are you affecting my writing style?). ;-)

Federico Fernández <> (20.08.2002)

When I listened to this record for first time I found it pretty monotonous, but some more listenings more and I was completely in love with this album. Filler??? I don't think so, in fact I can't name many double albums as consistent as this one... Exile? White Album? Physical Graffiti? Surely not. "I looked away" has got a great riff and nice melody, "Anyday" is gorgeous, with ferocious slide and a very passionate chorus, "Keep On Growing" has a rocking introduction... then it drags a little, especially on the overlong coda, but I consider it a nice catchy tune. I actually like "I Am Yours"; I know it's not the best song of the album, and the melody is kinda odd, but still, it sounds like a classic to me. And why you don't even mention Bell Bottom Blues? That one's easily the best song ever written by Eric alone, nevermind the lyrics... melodyless? Nope, "Bell Bottom Blues" is full of great melodies, it's a great classic and the second or third best one of this album. And the other songs are great; "Layla", "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?", "Tell The Truth", "Key To The Highway", "Little Wing"... even "Too Late" is great.

Also, there's a little thing I found quite weird about your review. In the third paragraph you accuse Eric of improvising his solos and jamming on this record. You say you prefer when, in his Cream days, he "took the time to work on his solos in the studio" so they became more structured and planned. But then, reading your Pink Floyd reviews, I find you accuse David Gilmour of exactly the opposite; his carefully planned and calculated solos seem to bother you. You call him a "dentist" and despise him for not taking a chance to improvise. What do you like exactly? A balance between both extremes? You like "structured improvisations"? When Clapton jams, you are not happy, when Gilmour calculates each note, you are not happy. You're so hard to please!

This is a great record. I think it deserves a 14, AT LEAST a 13. But a 12 is a brutally unfair note for this gem.

<> (07.09.2002)

I'm going to start by making a lofty claim. The second half of 'layla' is the definitive moment in rock and roll history. The surprising fact is that for years I used to complain about how overrated the song is. Never has a song that once seemed so average become so indispensible to me. The second half of the song was always good, but one day its true beauty just hit me like some sort of strange enlightenment. That brief, steady instrumental possesses a feeling of majesty and an emotional sincerity that all musicians strive for, but few achieve. One of the greatest strikes against Clapton's career is his lack of originality, creating music that never strays far from his deep-rooted blues influences. But in that (almost) final chapter of this pivotal album, the Dominos create an atmosphere so unique that there is no piece of music that has quite a similar feeling. Recently I broke down the two main slide guitar parts of coda, and what Allman and Clapton have done is cunningly graceful. Allman's guitar sings clearly for much of the solo, while Clapton's line lies immersed quietly in the ensemble, largely unnoticed by the listener. But Clapton's guitar is the key, as the emotional intensity rises and falls with his line. As Clapton rises in pitch and dynamic to Allman's level, the deut creates an climax that the listener realizes, but because they are fixed firmly on Allman's lead, cannot grasp its creation. The ability of these two guitarists to use this technique with such brilliance over that amazing piano piece creates the singular beauty of the song. Allman's bird lick is wonderful closure would surely have been a fantastic ending to the album. Why they decided to throw the hideous "Tree Thorn in the Garden" in at the end is beyond me. Without Layla, this album is mediocre. But its fantastic title track is not only great in itself, but enhances the entire album, making Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs a rock and roll classic.

Michael Hanson <> (16.02.2003)

Hey this is a pretty good album, but it gets old when you sit through it in one listing. I also have a question, in an interview, Clapton talks about how him and George Harrison play on each other's albums. He said he played on All Things Must Pass a little and Cloud Nine, and George plays on Layla and Assorted Love Songs and Journeyman. It doesn't list in the in the Layla liner notes, so I was just wondering if anyone knows what tracks Harrison plays on and if it is rhythm or slide or what.

Michael Byrne <> (20.12.2003)

I personally consider Layla to be one of the handfull of greatest rock albums ever recorded. If I were on a desert island and could only have 5 rock albums, it would be Layla, The Allman Brothers Live at Fillmore East, the Allmans Eat a Peach, and Dylans Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde.

Adrian Subrt <> (01.07.2004)

Overall, this is a very good album. For the most part, I agree with your overall rating of 12, although it could possibly be a 13 on a good day (like Pet Sounds, it fluctuates). It's very consistent throughout and there are very few poor songs, although it's a bit long to be considered great. However, I'm going to make a bold statement and say that 'Layla' is NOT the best song on the album. I realize that I'm probably the first person in the world to make this argument, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that there are THREE better songs on this album. Now I admit that 'Layla' is good, but who wants to listen a piano solo that repeats over and over for 4 minutes? It's so simple that I could play it, but it's boring and it kills the song. If it wasn't for this part, or even if they cut it to about one minute this song would be one of the greatest ever, but as it is now, it's not even in the top 3 on the album. However, the first part is simply too good to discard, so it's still a good song.

'I Looked Away' is the first song, and rightly so, because it is one of the best. It's very catchy, and is just an overall feel-good song. The next song, 'Bell Bottom Blues' is also a classic. Although everyone thinks that he is just whining, the lyrics are very meaningful and Eric is singing at his best. "I don't want to fade away. Give me one more day, please. I don't want to fade away. In your heart I want to stay." Damn right I don't want to fade away. Now if that doesn't speak to you, I don't know what does. Later, Clapton takes a page out of David Bowie's book (Aladdin Sane in particular) by ending with a great song. 'Thorn Tree In The Garden', despite what several of your commentators will have you think, is a wonderful piece of art. The lyrics are also very meaningful, "if you know just what I mean." If you've ever been left by a girl, then you can definitely appreciate this song. Now all three of these songs could be the number one song on any given day, it just depends on what mood you're in, but they are definitely a step above 'Layla'.

And to the "worthy commentator" who would bring not one but two Allman Brothers Band albums (out of five!) on his desert island... what the hell are you thinking? Even if they are your favourite band, you cannot honestly say that you'd rather have those two than Revolver and Exile On Main Street, or Aladdin Sane and Ziggy Stardust (so what if I'm biased towards Bowie, there's no one in their right mind who could possibly say that The Allman Brothers Band is better than David Bowie. In fact, on VH1's 100 greatest artists list, the Allman Brothers Band was 68th! Bowie was 7th by the way.) There are at least 50 albums that I would rather take then those. But I suppose he was being bold, just like I am about Layla, so I applaud you. You probably think my ranking of the songs of this album is stupid, and everyone entitled to their opinion. Mine is just right.


<> (13.08.2000)

What can I say? I am huge fan of live albums, and a huge fan of Clapton; this album is absolutely the best of either category in my book. I could do nothing but shake my head in some wierd state of deja vu when reading your review of this album. I've just recently picked it up (had listened to a couple tracks of a friend's copy)...I had been putting it off because of the price (even if it was $33, I kicked myself for doing so!) Clapton's use of the wah on this album really appeals to me, it's usually quite tasteful and often gives the songs extra push, as if they already didn't have enough energy. This album without a doubt contains the best guitar leads ever. "Little Wing" and "Why does love got to be so sad?" stand out as favorites, along with "Presence of the Lord", despite the vocals which leave a little to be desired. Also a note on the side...'Layla' was certainly written at the time of the shows...the liner notes included with my CD say the studio album had been finished a few weeks prior to these shows. Eric was still apparently unsure of his vocal ability, which is obvious after hearing Whitlock's "harmony" vocals, which often double Clapton's; thus Clapton was not sure he could sing the chorus of 'Layla' and play the riff simultaneously. Everyone would have certainly welcomed the inclusion of that track however...couldn't Whitlock sing the chorus alone?

Mats Fjäll <> (19.08.2000)

To me it's not that strange that they didn't do 'Layla'. It has whole lotta guitars and it really wouldn't be fair to either Eric or the song to play it with just one guitar. I more surprised 'bout that they didn't so 'Bell Bottom Blues'... That one could have been a killer!

This album is great as you already pointed out, Eric is in top form! I don't miss Duane even once when I listen to this record.

To me the best stuff is 'Got to Get Better In A Little While', 'Why Does Love'... and 'Have You Ever Loved A Woman'. Actually I don't like 'Little Wing', it's been a while since I listened to it but I remember that I used to hate the solos in it! Some of the WEAKEST stuff Clapton ever given us! He does it much better on the video from the MSG Crossroads Benefit Concert.

Everything else is great! Except for the l o n g drum solo on 'Let It Rain' and that 'Little Wing'-version. And I don't get why people doesn't like his vocals? Sure he ain't no Freddie Mercury, but then, who wants to be?

Jeff Hlavaty <> (25.06.2001)

I think the version of 'Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad' that was included on the original Derek and the Dominos In Concert is played better.  The remastering and additional songs make Live At The Fillmore a much better collection.

joshua hornsby <> (23.01.2004)

I used to think that Clapton was an overrated guitarist who wasn't as good as people said he was. Then I grew to like him more and more, and after hearing this album, I now agree with you, George - he is the greatest guitarist of all time.

"Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?" is all that you said it was and more. You're also right about "the agonizing wails of his instrument at 5:14 into the song". All I can say is GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! I nearly fell out of my chair when I first heard that! And "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" is just unreal, and it features the greatest blues licks that EVER came from an electric guitar. I've never heard another guitarist play with such heartfelt intensity; not B.B., not Buddy, not Albert, not John Lee, not Jimi, not friggin' anyone. Period. Those two songs alone are worth the price of this whole album. Can't believe that you didn't mention "Key To The Highway", George, as it features some more searing guitar work that always seems to twist my insides in a knot. Unbelievable. "Bottle Of Red Wine" is a kick-ass tune that shows Eric can really just flat-out ROCK when he wants to. "Little Wing" and "Presence Of The Lord" both come straight from the heart and soul. The only real weak song on here is "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out", which is poorly played and just seems to drag on. Also, I think the drum solo on "Let It Rain" isn't all that great. But the other songs more than make up for this, believe me. This album is home to the greatest guitar licks in the universe. It's that simple. Clapton is God.

Don Schmittdiel <> (10.07.2005)

Your reviews on this and Stills' Manassas albums give me complete confidence in your ear. However (of course), I find the criticisms superfluous... I don't CARE that Eric, in your opinion, can't sing, or that the arrangements tend toward repitition (I can listen to both discs in one glorious sitting). This production is a PACKAGE, and everything in it was ordained (let's stay honorable to the 'god' angle) to be together. Is there someone you would rather sing Clapton's songs? There's better voices, but give me the horses mouth. By the way, this second release of In Concert was repackaged to protect the integrity of the original vinyl release. While 'Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad' is around 4-5 minutes longer here, Clapton's guitar is even tighter on In Concert. The version of 'Tell the Truth' features noticably better vocals from Eric on the In Concert discs as well.


Glenn Wiener <> (05.04.2002)

Plenty of good energy going on during this cocnert by Eric and friends. I do agree that 'Little Wing' is performed much better on here than on the Layla disc. Eric actually softens the tone as it was Jimi Hendirx's most touching song. Naturally 'Presence Of The Lord' is a highlight. That guitar solo just does it for me even if its a little disjointed from the song's basic melody. Windwood sings it well in addition to 'Pearly Queen'. I even kind of like the jam at the end even if it gets crazy. Traffic sure could have used Eric as a guitarist after Dave Mason left.

My only slight complaint is that the overall tone and style does not vary too much on this live release. The piano sounds are a little bit buried amongst all the guitars as well. But outside of those comments its always a joy to listen to Eric play guitar.

Luke Pacholski <> (06.04.2004)

FYI, the 1995 remix/remaster is *heavily* edited - most of the tracks on the original album are longer there. In addition, a few songs were left off, and much of the dialog has been edited and moved around. There's a 4 CD bootleg out there that compiles both concerts in their entirety (sans a few bits here and there, notably much of the first 'Layla' from the second show, which didn't get recorded).

Here's how the releases compare:

Early Show: Intro/Layla/Badge/Blues Power/Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out/Roll It Over/Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?/Little Wing/Bottle Of Red Wine/After Midnight/Bell Bottom Blues/Presence Of The Lord/Tell The Truth/Pearly Queen/Let It Rain/Crossroads

Late Show: Layla (incomplete - from solos after the third verse on only)/Badge/Blues Power/Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out/Roll It Over/Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?/Little Wing/Bottle Of Red Wine/Presence Of The Lord/Tell The Truth/Pearly Queen/Key To The Highway/Let It Rain/Crossroads/Layla

Compare that to the 1995 remixed CD (also note the longer times): Layla 5:49/6:25 (early show) Badge 3:18 (late show) Blues Power (late show, I think) Roll It Over 4:08/6:23 (late show) Little Wing 4:35/6:04 (late show) Bottle Of Red Wine 3:47/4:36 (late show) After Midnight 4:18/4:55 (early show) Bell Bottom Blues 5:14/5:34 (early show) Presence Of The Lord 5:17 (late show) Tell The Truth 5:41/7:00 (late show) Pearly Queen 4:50/7:00 (late show) Key To The Highway 5:40/5:57 (late show) Let It Rain 7:04/12:00 (late show) Crossroads 3:47/4:15 (late show)

In addition, both official releases have various overdubs, most notably vocals and guitars during 'Badge'.


Bryan B. <> (10.12.98)

Well, Clapton's skill at covering other folks' songs seem to have deteriorated(they wouldn't truly come back till From the Cradle). He even takes some really good songs like "Willy and the Hand Jive" and "I Shot the Sheriff" and makes them sound dull and lifeless. Sorry, I know you like "I Shot the Sheriff" but the original is one of Marley's best songs and I'd rather listen to it any day than Clapton's version. Mind you, I still can't figure out why everybody likes that stupid Marley "Jammin'" song. Clapton says himself that during the 70s he was more of an absorber musically than a creator. He was absorbing a lot of different musical influences that did not come naturally to him(country, reggae, gospel, Diddley style rhythm guitar, etc). As you might expect, the results of that mass absorption often end up sounding a little questionable. At least Clapton popularized some good music during the period.

Glenn Wiener <> (25.09.99)

A decent effort. I strongly agree with you that 'Let It Grow' is probably Eric's best solo composition with the searing effects at the end. It creates a heavenly effect. However, you seem to overlook the heavy guitar soloing on the opening track, 'Motherless Children'. 'Mainline Florida' and 'I Can't Hold Out' have some nice soling too even though the later one is a bit understated.


Glenn Wiener <> (25.09.99)

VERY BADLY UNDERRATED. Maybe I just appreciate the OTHER SIDE of Eric Clapton more. Both reggae numbers do it for me and the gospel influence works for my ears. Some of Eric's singing is a bit spotty but the solos are quite good if a bit understated. Call me crazy but I put this one ahead of Layla for diversity's sake.


Charles Oliver <> (13.06.2001)


Nice to hear EC playing what he does best - the Blues. Funny, the back cover looks more like a pair of TITS than 'female BUTTS'.


Glenn Wiener <> (30.07.2001)

Due to the involvement of the members of The Band, Bob Dylan, and Ron Wood, Eric plays a limited role on this record. The aforementioned members make some nice contributions and Eric solos nicely on 'County Jail Blues', 'Hungry', and 'Double Trouble'. His song, 'Black Country Rain' is fairly well written with some nice backing vocals by Yvonne Ellman and Marcy Levy. In general, the album is pretty good, as nothing is glaringly offensive. However, in the same respect nothing is groundbreaking or even ear catching. Somehow one can tell that the effort was not at 100%.

Peter Trizna <> (06.02.2004)

This album has one prime under eric's records. it is done in the same mood. i like it's calm atmosphere.but it doesn't mean it is great. it has some good songs. i love the one with dylan and 'black summer rain' is one of the best songs eric has ever written. but there is too much country crap on here.i like "hello old friend",butit's not one of his best. and the blues covers are just stupid average numbers, excluding"double trouble",which is a gem. eric's guitar on this one blew me away after all those sweet country melod ies.


Glenn Wiener <> (25.09.99)

Whereas much of the material is of a lightweight nature, this is a quality recording. The general impression is that this album does not rock enough as 'Cocaine' and 'The Core' are the only numbers that really grab one by the throat. However this is a consistent release song-wise and is quite worthy if not overly exciting.


Glenn Wiener <> (25.09.99)

This one is a bit weaker than Slowhand due to a couple of filler pieces. However this record contains enough good material to make it worthy of a listen now and then. Bob Dylan actually contributes two good songs on this one and 'Tulsa Time' and 'Watch Out For Lucy' are quite spunky in the way they shuffle along. 'Early In The Morning' is nice blues although not on the level of 'Five Long Years'.


Bob Josef <> (13.12.2005)

This album was a freebie for me, and I hadn't played it in years. I didn't totally appreciate it until a few years later, when I actually saw him live (also for free -- I was a lot luckier in those days!). I was prepared to be not very impressed, seeing that he was promoting Behind the Sun. But then he started in on one of those slow blues numbers, and my jaw dropped. That amazement came back after relistening to this album a few times recently. The slow numbers are hardly boring because of Eric's truly mind-boggling playing. The fast numbers are fun ("Blues Power" and "After Midnight" are my faves, too), but they come across as solid, rather than definitive. This is pretty contrary to my usual tastes, but there you go! He had lost the power he had in his Cream/Dominos days by this point, but he certainly compensates with a lot of soul. I do have to say, though, that I've always thought that "Wonderful Tonight" and "Cocaine" are stupid, monotonous songs in any setting, including here. I'm in a minority of one on that one, I suppose, and they certainly aren't enough to detract from a recommendation to get this album for some great examples of Eric's playing.


Glenn Wiener <> (31.08.99)

In my book, this record is a real gem. Eric seems to be playing solos again as the riffs on 'Blow Wind Blow', 'Catch Me If You Can', 'Something Special', and 'Floating Bridg'e are extremely ear catching. A little bit laid back, but then again I'm a pretty laid back guy. Even the song-writing is very good as Eric wrote two thirds of the album. Its a shame Eric collapsed on stage while touring in support of this excellent recording. The record company then stopped promoting this disc, and a lost classic it became. But don't you readers overlook this recording.


Glenn Wiener <> (01.09.99)

I don't know what it is but somehow I find myself playing this casette(yes I taped it from the library)fairly often. Is it Eric's best work? Not by a longshot. But there are at least four strong songs and no real clunkers in this batch. A ten point five on your fifteen point scale for consistency. Gee, am I turning into one of the Olympic Judges???

Mats Fjäll <> (07.02.2001)

This could have been a great album... But Eric's vocals sounds totaly uninspiered and I don't think of this as a jam-session. I think it's too poduced! Well, there are two good songs on the album, 'Pretty Girl' & 'The Shape you're In'. 'Ain't Going Down' is an embarrasing rip-off of Dylan's/Hendrix's 'All Along The Watchtower'. 'Slow Down Linda' sounds more like a Status Quo number than an Eric Clapton one.

Not a very good album, may be the one that I dislike the most in his catalouge!



Mats Fjäll <> (11.03.2000)

I haven't listen to this album very carfully, but it isn't one of his greatest moments...

I think that 'Same Old Blues' is only quite good and then we have about four or five decent songs left: I confess, I do think that 'She's Waiting' is catchy, 'Forever Man' is listenble and 'Behind The Sun' is a nice little pice of music with Eric on rythym guitar and Phil Collins on keyboards. Now the thing that really lifts this record is that fantastic outro on 'Just Like A Prisoner'! Amazing guitarwork by Mr. Slowhand!

What else to say bout this album? Well, the record company did reject it when Eric and Phil first played it to them. They said that it wasn't bad but it was too electric. It didn't follow the fashion at the time. Eric went back to the studio and added a some synths and finally it was released. So what started out as a blues-rock album turned out as a not too good pop album. So don't blame Eric and Phil for the synths, blame the Warner Brothers!

This album feature some new musicians that have appeared on Clapton albums through the years: Nathan East did his first apperance on this album and so did the song writer Jerry Williams (he wrote 'Forever Man'). Just listen to Journyman and you'll understand what he ment for the albums, I mean, he wrote about half Journyman ('Running On Faith', 'Pretending'...) Nathan East does still appear on E.C.'s records and is a standard member during tours!

Behind The Sun is not as good as Journyman but you can find some good songs on it. This album is the beggining of the sound that Eric would stick to for the next 5 years.

I give it a 6 ( the solo on 'Just Like A Prisoner' is the reason for the, in this case, high rating)


Richard C. Dickison <> (12.06.99)

Why did they let Phil produce other peoples albums? He consistently takes other peoples work, runs them through a grinder, and loses all individuality of the artist.

You have to admit that Eric must have allowed them, the record company, to do this because he obviously made ('It's In The Way That You Use It') to copy Steve Winwood ('Don't You Know What The Night Can Do') (Yuck).

Anyway Phil the pill Collins can share the blame for this one and some of his other projects, including turning Genesis into nothing more than an extention of his solo career. Not to mention the acting career he tried to start, did you see any of that? (very yUUUcK)!!!

Mats Fjäll <> (23.10.99)

This is not a good album, actually it's a bit enoying with the Phil Collins sound.

'Miss You' and 'Holy Mother' are two very good songs, though.


Gustavo Rodriguez <> (24.06.99)

I hate this album more than August. I actually liked parts of August but I found nothing redemptive on this one; it's more of the same bad beer commercial music devoid of personality or taste for that matter.

Like the title of the album implies-- heavy on slickness and craft--light on any kind of real artistry.

The only glimmer of hope here was "Before You Accuse Me" but by the time that song came round the album was over. I think I ended giving this CD away to someone I didn't like too much.

Mats Fjäll <> (11.03.2000)

Some good stuff, some bad stuff... Eric won his first grammy for the song 'Bad Love' (best vocal) and it has a great solo, great riff... everything a good rock song needs! If you listen to the song, you might recognize the bridge. Yeah, Clapton stole the bridge from his own song 'Badge' ( I don't mind, I think it's great!). 'Before You Accuse Me', 'Old Love' and 'Running On Faith' can all be found on his Unplugged album. He does 'Hound Dog' to with lyrics that's different from the Elvis version. 'Hard Times' is nice and 'Pretending' is all right.

A quite good album, but you should pick up Unplugged and 24 Nights for better versions. After all, Eric is much better live!

Glenn Wiener <> (03.05.2000)

This is a good record. However there is quite a bit of filler especially on the second side. 'Lean On Me' and 'Breakin' Point' are the prime examples as the lack of lyrics make it seem like some amateur song-writing was going on in this session. I kind of like 'Anything For Your Love' though as the synthesizers and special effects just create the right mood for this piece. 'Bad Love' is the highlight of the record with a super guitar solo by Eric in the middle. Overall your rating of 10 is just about right.

Nicholas Rogerson <> (23.01.2003)

I hadn't heard any of Clapton's 80's albums before I got this one. Since the 80's are generally considered to be his artistic nadir, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, although you had said that this was a pretty good album. I set my expectations very low, so as not to be disappointed. I put the CD on, listened to it through, and really enjoyed it. Clapton's in great form throughout. A lot of his guitarwork is really, really emotional, and this definitely enhances the listen. This emotional guitarwork means I can actually enjoy, 'No Alibis', for instance, perhaps against my better judgement. This is a good indication of how powerful and effective his guitar is-and how silly he was to let it take the back seat on albums where his songwriting is not great. I really enjoy 'Anything For Your Love' too, definitely for the same reason. There are though, some tracks here which I enjoy full stop, and are not necessarily saved by his Eric's guitar, but are raised even higher by it. 'Bad Love' and 'Old Love' are definitely the two standout tracks her. 'Bad Love' is so, so catchy. The album tails off a bit after 'Old Love', but overall I'd say this is a thoroughly enjoyable listen. I can't really stress enough how much his guitarwork hits me on this album. Dammit, why did he stop playing his guitar for so long?


ebru volkan <> (30.01.2001)

I believe that Rush is a marvellous album. "Tears In Heaven" is a great song of Clapton. It gives such a sense that it may make you even cry. But there's another song on album that makes me cry, "Help Me Up". I don't know if you ever felt so, but I did. He cries out the sorrow as he cries out his love in "Leyla". the way he plays guitar makes me blue. All the other tracks are so touchy and tough, I think. It is the best soundtrack he ever done I believe. Once they said "Clapton Is God", they were right. He's the best white blues man of all times.


No reader comments yet.


Simon Hearn <> (07.09.99)

His best album in my opinion. Shows his guitar prowess in its rawest form. 'Sanfran bay blues' is excellent as is 'Alberta' - 'rolling and tumbling' is good, but by no means the best track. 'Layla' is quite good - more interesting than the definitive version.

Forget electric eric - settle down to acoutic eric - it's to be recommended. CLASS, PURE CLASS. The most relaxed album in the world......ever.

Glenn Wiener <> (03.05.2000)

Your on the money here. I don't understand why more people can't appreciate "BOTH" versions of 'Layla'. Different interpetations make this world a better place and this acoustic version adds some touches the older one lacks. 'Nobody Know You When Your Down And Out' shuffles along at a nice pace. My favorite of this lot is 'San Fransisco Bay Blues'. Performed with a wodnerful spirit, the mind blowing kazoo solo(do you really take me that seriously) is a nice amusing touch. Anyway, Chuck leavel adds some nice piano touches throughout. Anyway, this is one of the first discs to get by Eric.

John McFerrin <> (27.09.2000)

Oh my, I haven't yet commented on this one.

Layla may have been my first studio purchase, but this was my very first bought-for-myself rock album. Hence, I attach a lot of sentimental value to it. The thing is, though, for a little while, I had lots of bad thoughts towards the time-frame in which I bought and became immersed in this album, and as such I put it away for a long time, and even convinced myself that it wasn't any good. After a while, though, I came back to it, and sure enough! It ruled!

I honestly cannot think of a bad song on here. 'Malted Milk' drags a wee bit, but the rest is wonderful. I even like the 'Layla' version here (probably because I heard it before the original), and 'San Francisco Bay Blues' is simply hilarious!

I'd easily give this a ten.

Nicholas Rogerson <> (02.03.2003)

I noticed that your review of this album is quite short, and I can see why. It really does go without saying that Eric is a master of the acoustic guitar, as he has shown many times over the years. This album hits all the right notes for me. A good selection of blues covers, which he performs splendidly as always, particularly on 'Rollin' and Tumblin' and 'Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out', and some of his own compositions, compositions which, by no coincidence, work brilliantly in this acoustic setting. 'Tears In Heaven' and particularly 'Old Love' go off splendidly.

I'm ashamed to admit that the acoustic guitar can bore me a little at times, and was a tad wary of buying an entire album dedicated to it. In Eric's hands I need not have worried.


Bryan B. <> (10.12.98)

Aye, it is a good album. Clapton comes the closest he's ever come before to being a genuine blues player after thirty years of being considered as bluesy as Robert Johnson. Eric has good taste. The songs are well performed. And he sings pretty dang well, too! Whether I'd prefer the versions here to the originals is something I'd have to consider song by song. When we come to Muddy Waters, I'd say no. I love Muddy. He's one of the three best singers ever in my book, and a very fine minimalistic guitar player(very different from Clapton stylistically). Still, a beginner couldn't go wrong with this one, and it certainly was the right album for the right time for both Clapton and the musical world(an album of blues tunes #1 in America? Yes! But why in 1994? When people were hardly listening to either classic rock or blues? Well, you have to take what you can get I guess...).

Glenn Wiener <> (25.09.99)

This is Eric at his bluesy best. Whereas its not always easy to listen to an entire album of the blues, this album is performed with the upmost musicianship by Eric and his supporting band that I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment.

<> (24.06.2000)

Apparently you have very little knowledge of Blues music if this is a great album to you. Eric Clapton the "Manual of Blues"? This is ultimately a cheap knockoff/ripoff of a lot of great blues songs and artist. The majority of these songs are Clapton carbon copying the guitar parts with a backing band yawning through it. Check the credits and get the music by the original artists, then Clapton is God is humorous. Great guitarist, last great album Layla.

Nicholas Rogerson <> (13.06.2002)

I agree totally with you. From The Cradle is superb, particularly as i trawled through Clapton's works post "Layla", and although some albums were pretty great (Slowhand and Backless for instance) he's, as you said, at his best with the blues and when his thundering out scorching guitar lines. Unfortunately there's not enough of this after 1973. From The Cradle makes up for this. I too agree that 'Five Long Years' is the best song, one of my very favourite numbers for the guitar work at least. 'I'm Tore Down' is really jolly and 'Someday After A While' is really memorable. So all in all I love this album and totally agree with the rating you gave it. No suprise that the guys at weren't too keen on it, as they like to pidgeon hole all of Clapton's recent works as tired nonsense. Oh well, you got it spot on.

Anonymous (15.06.2004)

You're absolutely right. Great album and one of my personal favourites of all time (non-Blues included). No complaints about the band (I like the harmonica) and Clapton's playing is just awesome. Only his voice..... but I don't think many people listen to him because of his singing anyway. Besides, I see his imitating old black bluesmen more as a joke, a kind of parody. And when he 'falls out of his role', it's as if he's saying to the listener: "Yes, I know I'm not one of those old masters. I'm only the best guitar player in the world." because then he goes on to show what he's really here for. All tracks are great, except 'Motherless Child' (usually I can appreciate an un-blueslike song or two on a blues album for variation, but this one is always skipped). The best ones in my mind are 'Five Long Years' and 'Someday After a While'. Despite the use of brass, the latter is very good version of a great song. I even like the singing here! And 'Five Long Years', wow. That solo moved me to tears more than once. It's sad that there are people who dislike Blues, for they won't enjoy this album either. Too bad for them; I love it. Why doesn't he do this kind of stuff more often?


No reader comments yet.


Glenn Wiener <> (25.09.99)

I listened to parts of the tracks on this record in my local Borders Music store. Thank goodness for listening machines. Whereas some of the tunes have some interesting rhythms, the overall product is quite disappointing. Someone should tell Eric that if he plans to record another album of original material to please use a backup band instead of incessant drum machines and synthesizers. This would be a terrible way for Eric to end his solo career.

Marcel van der Lugt <> (30.01.2000)

Clapton's Pilgrim tour one of his better tours, The Pilgrim numbers were far better than on his studio-album, a lot of solo's. There a lot of good bootlegs of that tour.

<> (29.02.2000)

I agree that the albulm isnt that great but....... but a 1??? ....... no, i think 'my fathers eyes' is a great song and I think you should have gave it more than a one.

Rich <> (05.04.2000)

In your review on "Eric Clapton's Pilgrim Album" You had mentioned how bad it was. I think that the album wasn't that bad, but It could have been better. If you had seen the recently released DVD or VHS from the concert in Madison Square garden, Eric and his friends played "River of Tears". I particularly thought that it was great. I think that Pilgrim could have been better if it was played with a real band instead of drum machines and sythisizers.

Stephanie McKenna <> (10.01.2001)

Sorry you found "River of Tears" to be such a piece of crap. That song is near to my heart - it served as a great (and healing) help after my father's death. It was also nice to know there was someone else that had felt that way, too.

Imran Khan <> (26.07.2001)

I Liked every Clapto album bar Pilgrim, I despise pilgrim how can you have a shitty synthesised drumbeat with blues? the whole album is crap. I blame simon climie he should be shot! I went to see Eric live in february and the best songs WERE of the pilgrim album! which further proves my point its Mr Climies fault.

In cream Eric had the best drummer in the world. He doesnt need to resort to a bloody f**kin' computer! and on the album the guitaring is crap, live is still the best.

Donald Mattingley <> (07.10.2005)

George, I agree with 90% of what you say about EC and music in general. EC is my favorite guitar player, too. But I really disagree with you, and I realize many others, on Pilgrim. (EC's worst record? Well, the one I always think of is No Reason To Cry) Pilgrim is the gutsiest album EC has ever done, and tracks like "My Father's Eyes", "Brokenhearted", and "Pilgrim" are the best songs he's written outside of the "Layler" album. Given the quality of most of your reviews, I'm surprised you have such disdain for the songs on this album. I can understand your issues with the production and detached quality of the guitar tones, but there are some truly passionate songs on this record. I saw the tour, and EC's soloing on "One Chance", "River of Tears" and "She's Gone" was superb. In fact, EC's passion in playing these songs is unsurpassed in anything outside the live Dominos stuff. Yeah, the drum machines aren't Ginger Baker - EC already did that and did it quite well. This is a completely different project. EC isn't pandering, he IS a fan of modern RnB music, and he is mixing it with his own blues and pop sensibilities. This album is widely derided by EC fans because they instantly recoil at the hip-hop beats and synths, but it is the product of tremendous time, effort, and passion.


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<> (17.04.2001)

I think perhaps you've missed the boat while pontificating in super-analytical, psuedo-critic style, about the reason behind the music selected for Reptile. Had you spent some time reading the liner notes you would have discovered (other than who's playing what on back up) that the compliation was a tribute, by way of a "tip of the hat" to a man Clapton felt responsible for his musical tastes and point of view. While you almost had it when you hinted that Clapton was revisiting styles of his past ( you confine your comments to his recent past, and his playing styles of the 90's) I think Reptile is meant to represent the past certainly, but rather than Clapton's past, it is the musical ages and stages of "Son", Clapton's Uncle Adrian, who as an older, hipper, "sibling" (as Eric viewed him for several years) passed along his particular listening habits and tastes on to a young Eric. Reptile is a walk through a person's catalogue of favorite styles, recreated by a loving nephew in recognition of a gift once given him. It is a very personal and daring venture to put music together that appeals to so narrow a field of listeners. Rather than, as you say, trying to appeal to "dem kids", I think Clapton, who has certainly reached a point of artistic freedom, has done as he please "Son". You again suggest that one cut offered food for thought, I would suggest, the entirety offers a feast. Beside the very entertaining leaps from one branch of the Music Tree to another, it also asks listeners to think about who we have become and who helped us get there. It is not accidental that Reptile opens with a Samba beat, probably the first style Clapton was conscious of at the knee of Son. Follow the 14 cuts and there is logic there, probably more than meets the ear, and if I were lucky enough to have known Son, it probably would speak more volumes than I can now glean... Reptile is a collection of threads that once ran through a man's life. Clapton, now at an age where threads stand out from the fabric, can appreciate that. That's what Reptile is more than mushy brush work or elaborate guitar or vocal is a musical tapestry that says, "One man was here and he heard.... "

[Special author note: I have to apologize for not mentioning the Uncle Adrian connection which really exists here. However, much as I like to 'pontificate in psuedo-critic (sic) style', I also have to say that (a) this description is still a rather subjective personal and interpretation and (b) no conceptual unity, even if it does exist on here, is enough to justify the weak production and even weaker songwriting.]

Glenn Wiener <> (11.06.2001)

A big time improvement over the disasterous Pilgrim. Gosh I still can not get over the fact that Clapton recorded a hip hop album laden with strings and synthesizers. This one is more of an easy listening variety and it at leasts starts off with five strong songs. 'Believe In Life' is an exceptionally well written piece with some beautiful chord changes and lyrics. It goes to show you that every now and then Eric Clapton writes a really good song,('Bell Bottom Blues', 'Let It Grow', 'Layla', 'High', 'Catch Me If You Can', 'Wonderful Tonight' are some examples of past greatness.) 'Travelling Light' is one of more heavier recorded songs along the initial single, 'Superman Inside'. Eric Clapton should have recorded a few more heavier numbers like 'Superman' as some of this material ('Find Myself', 'Modern Girl', 'Second Nature') is just too mellow. Heck its more suited for my parents generation. Don't get me wrong this is not bad material per se. Just after a while, you just want Eric to rattle off some killer solos and this record falls a little bit short in that department. The cover of 'I Aint Gonna Stand For It' is pretty good as Eric stays within the structure and throws in some good guitar licks for good measure. However, the James Taylor cover just sounds inappropriate as Eric struggles to find a suitable vocal style and over does the guitar playing here.

Once again this is a big time improvement. Lets just hope that Eric remembers his blues/rock roots and incorproates them consistently into future releases. In addition, he should steer clear from the awful hip hop/synthesized influences from that frisbee entitled Pilgrim.


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Glenn Wiener <> (11.11.2002)

Certainly not a prime time Eric Clapton performance. Eric was trying to shed his guitar hero image at this time so George Terry handled a bigger part of the solos.  There are a few good moments here and there on this tape. Overall, you can probably find a better Video before or since.


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