Eric Clapton: Old Sock (Universal)

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Eric Clapton: The Folks Who Live on the Hill
Eric Clapton: Old Sock (Universal)

As at the start of his career – the Yardbirds, Bluesbreakers, Cream and Blind Faith in six years – lately Clapton has engaged in short projects with B.B. King (Riding with the King) and J.J. Cale (Road to Escondido), doing his disappointingly patchy Robert Johnson tribute (Me and Mr Johnson) or been a man at ease with himself and taking it easy, albeit professionally and polished (Clapton of 2012).

In a singularly unappealing cover and an off-putting title, this one -- as he closes in on 70 – has him looking back to songs remembered from childhood, as Paul McCartney did for Kisses on the Bottom.

Here – alongside a decent original and an awful, saccharine thing with kids singing – he goes to the Thirties for a gently orchestrated Folks Who Live on the Hill, a cheery duet on All of Me with McCartney, the Gershwins Our Love is Here to Stay and Lead Belly's Goodnight Irene.

With Willie Weeks, Steve Gadd, Greg Leisz, Jim Keltner etc and guests Taj Mahal, Steve Winwood, Cale and Chaka Khan, this sounds excellent and his guitar playing is pointed, understated and allows space for Doyle Bramhall II from his touring band.

There's reggae here too so this is an enjoyable, if rather unfocused, dolly mixture of different tastes.

For much more on ERic Clapton at Elsewhere, start here.

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Mike Pearson - Apr 10, 2013

Hi, I have not bought this album, but I am surprised what you say - "doing his disappointingly patchy Robert Johnson tribute (Me and Mr Johnson)" I bought the CD and DVD of the album and think it is great. Doyle Bramhall II taking a leading role though! What did you find dissapointing about it?

Ralph - Apr 12, 2013

Me and Mr Johnson - an excellent understanding of where and how EC discovered the blues. Can't proceed with Clapton unless you have listened/watched very carefully. From the full band through to just Bramhill and EC, and the finally EC just with an acoustic guitar - right back to Robert Johnston. A well executed production - a wonderful tribute to Johnston. These new slushy carefully produced EC albums - has he gone soft? The mans a blues guitarist genius - we need more of this - enough og JJ cale, BB King (who are great in their own right). Get back to the blues EC!!

Grant Stone - Apr 29, 2013

When I was in third form, "Hendrix is God" had been carved with a blue biro into a surprisingly large number of desks. One day I noticed someone had written "Clapton is also god" underneath.

Since then I've always felt a little sorry for EC. I mean, he's a god, sure. But only an also god.

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