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(5 reviews sent in so far)

From The Cradle
By Nick
September 4, 2004      
Rating: 8.0

Though he may stray from time to time, Eric Clapton will always return to the Blues.   An album of cover songs, From the Cradle shows off Slowhand's long-rooted love and respect for the Blues genre. The songs are mostly unknown to the non-blues fanatic. In that light, this album provides an excellent gateway to anyone looking to expand their blues interests.

The album kicks off with a rough-and-tumble rendition of "Blues Before Sunrise," featuring some nice slide guitar work as well as some trademark blues vocals.   "Third Degree" has that classic "the world's out to get me, but I ain't done no wrong" blues feel to it.  Sparse and mellow, it stays pretty close to the original version by Wille Dixon. "Reconsider Baby" is a fairly stock blues performance, with vocal calls and guitar responses supported by a light horn section. "Hoochie Coochie Man."  The title says it all.  One of the many highlights of the album.  Riff, stop, vocal, stop, chorus flourish.  Great vibe.

"Five Long Years" opens with a kick ass solo, and bounces back and forth between mellowness and power.  The solo halfway through the song makes you rack your brain wondering why Clapton is called Slowhand. "I'm Tore Down" is one of the best tracks on the whole album if you ask me.  Upbeat, catchy, with phenomenal guitar work.  I'll go on the record to say that this song has one of the most infectious choruses of all time.  I defy you to not get completely caught up in this song. "How Long Blues" has sort of a country, jugband sound to it.  The rhythm is supplied by an assortment of grinding, creaking, and crackling instruments.  The song is loaded with some classic harmonica riffs, and also contains one of the two overdubs on this otherwise "Live in the studio" album (a nice dobro piece).

"Goin' Away Baby" is a real foot-tapper.  The nonstop harmonica will echo in your head long after the track is over. "Blues Leave Me Alone" is another harmonica-heavy track.  That definitely is not a complaint, in case you were wondering. "Sinner's Prayer" starts off with an ominous blues piano.  This song continues to show the slower, more laid-back side of the blues, but then the bridge and guitar solo switches it up a little bit. "Motherless Child" features the other overdub on the album, a drum track. This song is a little reminiscent of Robert Johnson, one of Clapton's greatest blues heroes.

"It Hurts Me Too" blasts off with some more great guitar playing, which continues throughout the song.  The lyrics are a little bit like the legendary "Layla." "Someday After a While" somehow combines a mellow vibe and intense guitar before sliding into some of Eric's best vocal work on the album.  Then the guitar comes roaring back for a fantastic solo. "Standin' Round Crying" is also a fairly stock blues song.  Nothing too special, but definitely worth listening to. "Driftin'" is the sparsest song on the album, just Clapton, and acoustic guitar, and a rhythm provided by his foot tapping.  "Groaning the Blues" wraps up the album with a slow, powerful, guitar-driven, vocal-groaning blues song.   Clocking in at just over six minutes, it puts of the end of the album just a little while longer, for the sake of fitting in one more great blues jam.

There you have it.  It may be a bit over-dramatic at times, but that's one of the great things about the blues.

To listen to some sound clips from From The Cradle or to buy it click on: From the Cradle

461 Ocean Blvd.

May 11, 2004
Rating: 8.5

Four years after Clapton's mind-boggling Layla album, Clapton made 461 Ocean Blvd. Now he had his Layla and was happier and so was the music. Was the album better than the classic Layla, well.... Not exactly, but since Clapton had been secluded in a world of drugs and solitude, he really did put out some great music. Want to hear some incredible singing like on the song "Blues Power"? Sorry, the singing was much more mellow and straightforward. Thirsty for more incendiary guitar work like on "Key to the Highway"? Clapton's guitar playing to a back seat to his singing on this album and his slide solos didn't cut it. The one song that has great guitar playing is the opening "Motherless Children" where his slide guitar playing and arrangements with his good friend Carl Radle on bass really kicked ass. Singing could be better, but a good way to kick it off! Blues covers of Elmore James' "Can't Hold Out" wasn't too great, but his cover of Robert Johnson's "Steady Rollin' Man" gave more promising guitar playing, still not the Clapton we knew from Cream.

As far as Clapton's songwriting goes (and he only wrote a few songs), "Let it Grow" was a nice number, but it was no "Bell Bottom Blues". "Give Me Strength" was the story of Clapton's life at the time and included some nice dobro work by Eric. Again, his singing was just too mellow. But these were well-written songs. He also co-wrote the song "Get Ready" which showed allusions to reggae music. A good song, with a pretty good guitar riff. "Willie and the Hand Jive" is a really annoying song. That's a song that needs to be played with a lot of fire. However, Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" is arguably the best song on here. Landed Clapton with a number one hit on the charts. Best singing on the whole album and great organ by Dick Sims. Of covers, Clapton chose to play his other other guitar Player's composition "Mainline Florida" which really kicks ass and is a great way to end the album! This was probably Clapton's best album of the seventies, with the exclusion of Layla.

To listen to some sound clips from 461 Ocean Blvd. or to buy it click on:

July 31, 2005
Rating: 7.0

With Eric Clapton continuing his drug-influenced, laid-back rock '70s solo career, he did SLOWHAND in 1977, which became a big record for him. It's very dated by today's standards, but there are a few highlights. The same Eric Clapton who played the acid wah-guitar solo on "White Room" has his guitar playing take a back-seat on this album. The same Eric Clapton who screamed out "Layla, darling won't you ease my worried mind" sings in a very laid-back manner here. The rhythm section is very good especially with the late Carl Radle playing his awesome bass, but the background vocals are poor at best.
"Cocaine" stands today as one of Clapton's biggest hits, even though it was written by J.J. Cale. It features Clapton's best guitar playing on the album. A lot of people like "Wonderfull Tonight," and on the whole, it is a good song, but very subduded at the same time. "Lay Down Sally" was a big hit at the time, but it's very much a country-rock flop by today's standards, and the guitar solo is extremley contained, same thing with "We're All the Way". "Next Time You See Her" is a better effort with some nice guitar work and a great groove. "The Core" is the longest song on the album which has an awesome riff to start off, but is soon ruined by Marcy Levy's HORRIBLE vocals. Is this Clapton's album or Marcy Levy's? The guitars by EC and George Terry, Dick Sims keyboards, Jaimie Oldaker's drums, and Carl Radle's bass keep the song moving along with an awesome interweave in the middle and the end between Eric and Mel Collins on the sax. Above all, a good song. "May You Never" is another country-flop. We finally have some blues with "Mean Old Frisco." It's not "Stepping Out," but I'll take it. "Peaches & Diesel" co-written with Clapton by Albhy Galuten, is the most beautiful song on the album.  A simple instrumental, it sounds like from the title Clapton may have been thinking about Duane Allman. Not a bad album, but not a great album either.

To listen to some soundclips from SLOWHAND or to purchase, it click on: Slowhand or for Canadian orders: Slowhand

Derek and the Dominos
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

By J.T. Curtis
August 29, 2003
Rating: 10.0

I was watching VH1's top 100 greatest rock albums of all time. As I was watching it, Layla appeared only at 89! This was obviously a mistake. Layla being on of the greatest rock n roll albums of all time deserved to be in the top ten, even as far as number 2!! But why is this album one of the greatest rock albums in history? Well, I could write a whole book about how great this album is!

There is not one song on this entire album that I don't like or love!   Of course, Derek and the Dominos was such an incredible band: Drummer Jim Gordon never fails to loose the beat and continues to off drum lines that really catch your attention, bassist Carl Radle keeps dishing out grooving basslines, Bobby Whitlock keeps swirling organs while singing like no other can, Duane Allman plays like he's with his own band (The Allman Brothers) and to top it all off, we have Eric Clapton. Eric Clapton's songwriting, singing, and of course guitar playing is what makes this album one of the greatest of all time. But what really makes this album is the generous interplay between Eric and Duane Allman. Like the interplay between Duane and Dicky Betts in the Allman Brothers, Eric and Duane push each other which brings out the best in both of them, and in the 11 songs they play together, they never copy each other and sound like completely different guitar players, which they are.

The album opens with "I looked Away," a great way to open starting off somewhat mellow to introduce Eric as a singer and songwriter, and to introduce Bobby Whitlock's wonderful soulful voice. Although Duane does not play on these first three songs, Eric shows the generous of his playing. "Bell Bottom Blues" and "Keep on Growing" come next. "Bell Bottom Blues" is an inspiringly sad song which will tear your heart out. The song is about Eric Clapton's love with his best friend's wife (Pattie Boyd, wife of George Harrison.) Eric and Bobby sing harmonies together that make you want to grab the air. The album soon changes with a slow blues cover "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" where Duane enters the scene wailing on his bottleneck through a leslie cabinet. "I am Yours" is a nice number (thanks to Duane's bottleneck) to mellow things down before sliding into a genius rocker called "Anyday," Partly written by Duane who wrote the slide part making like a "chariot race." Bobby Whitlock sings one verse, but he sings so incredible, he doesn't need to sing and more leads. "Key to the Highway" is a fun jam where Duane and Eric exchange some licks, they're really pushing each other on this one! "Tell the Truth" and "Why Does Love Got to be So Sad" are incredible songs. "Why Does Love" includes some guitar interplay between Eric and Duane playing really fast before slowing the song down to create a beautiful climax. Three covers "Have You Ever Loved a Woman," (where Eric is allowed to stretch out and plays some of his best licks on the album) a genious rendition of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" (Duane plays his best on the album, and Bobby and Eric sound incredible together) and a cool Chuck Willis tune "It's Too Late." But all the previous songs soon become non-exsistant as the beginning 7 notes of "Layla" come in. A genious and ear shattering guitar lick written by Duane himself, a slide guitar harmony written by him too, and the basis of the song written by Clapton to his lover, Pattie Boyd, creates the greatest song of all time. Eric sings from personal experience.   Duane answers him and plays a slide solo over the neck board shattering your ears!!! But the song soon mellows down with a piano played by Jim Gordon. The band soon comes in with Duane wailing away on his bottleneck, and Eric playing a wonderfully sad acoustic guitar line. This song makes you wanna cry. From the rocking guitar lick to the ending bird chirps of "Layla," this is the greatest song of all time! The ending song, "Thorn Tree in the Garden," is a nice mellow acoustic number by Bobby Whitlock who sings wonderfully.

So why would VH1 put this album at only 89? Good question, but stupid listings like these mean absolutely nothing. Anyone who hears Layla will know that this is one of the greatest rock albums of all time!!!

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

By The Almighty Big Jimmy
June 2, 2002
Rating: 9.5

Perhaps it is because Eric Clapton has a disease, but any band he is in is utterly brilliant. Derek and the Dominos had a great pair of guitarists, Eric Clapton and Duane Allman. Overall, this is a very bluesy album, with a more modern rock and roll twist. Though it is a double album, it is still great. Most definitely, the best song on here is 'Layla', Eric Clapton's ballad for George Harrison's wife. Though the song 'Key To The Highway' is an incredibly long and drawn out blues song, and it could have been left off, the rest of the album is filled with brilliance. The songs 'Keep on Growing', 'I am Yours', 'I Looked Away', 'Bell Bottom Blues', 'Tell the Truth' and 'Why Does Love Got to be so Sad' are all rated a 10.0 (on my scale anyways). Layla is a brilliant album, and any fan of blues or rock and roll should have it.

To listen to some sound clips from Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs or to buy it click on: Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs or for Canadian orders: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

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