Search and Destroy: Eric Clapton and his bands

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I never had any great affinity for his voice or solos but he had some nice tunes and riffs at one point. I may even like pop Cream ("Badge," "Anyone for Tennis?") better than rock Cream. But I have barely a surface knowledge of any of it.

Search: Strange Brew. If one song must be chosen, then I suppose "Layla" minus the crud at the end.

Destroy: What to pick from the last 30 years? The Rush soundtrack? The song about his father? The thing on the Phenomenon soundtrack? Oh I know - "Wonderful Tonight"

sundar subramanian, Monday, 5 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Search: His cameo on "Are You Hung Up?" on FZ's We're Only in It for the Money. The fact that Cream influenced Black Sabbath. "Sunshine of Your Love" (overplayed, fer sure, but such a staple it can't be denied now can it?)

Destroy: Everything else. Even "Layla" (which was great in spite of Eric Clapton and mainly because of Derek Allman).

Tadeusz Suchodolski, Monday, 5 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

the yardbirds were better with jeff beck, cream were better with leslie west, his solo career would've been better with someone else too. destroy : everything!

derek, Monday, 5 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

The Bluesbreakers were better with Peter Green too. I like lots of Cream stuff, but Bruce and Baker are the only reason why. I think lots of the Layla album is really good though. And "Lay Down Sally" is awesome.

Kris, Monday, 5 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I like Blind Faith and Cream and I lik e his slightly stupid seventies songs too. Destroy all after 1980

Mike Hanle y, Tuesday, 6 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I too like the poppier side of Cream. Aside from that, when I'm in a classic rock mood, I must confess to liking "Layla" (the whole album)... but everything else I've heard has been mush.

Sean, Tuesday, 6 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Layla (the album) mostly great because of Brother DUANE Allman's lead & slide guitar. Spoilers are Clapton's relatively lame playing & Bobby Whitlock's hideous vocals. "There's a thorn tree in the garden" - Ugh!

One of the other guys in the band became an axe-murderer, didn't he? Was it Jim Gordon?

David, Tuesday, 6 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

David's right, it's pretty easy to determine who's playing what on "Layla", and Duane Allman definately cuts Clapton.

Sean, Tuesday, 6 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Ginger Baker had a GRATE band with Masters of Reality. Wonder why they stopped doing it.

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 6 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Allman cuts Clapton but it's not like there's no competition; I think EC's playing is pretty solid. Though I second the destroy of "Thorn Tree."

Masters of Reality were around for years before Ginger Baker and are still around, years after he left. Was never his band per se--he was just the highest-profile member for a minute there.

"Wonderful Tonight" has to be the nadir (one of many). Second choice: that dreadful "Strollin' Thru the Park with Layla" from Unplugged. Third choice: Unplugged in its entirety.

M. Matos, Tuesday, 6 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

I think when Ginger was with MoR they WERE his band though. "Sunrise on the Sufferbus" sounds nothing like the first album - every song had his shuffly fill-sound all the way through, and all of a sudden the singer sounded just like Jack Bruce. Of course he had always sounded like that.

Is there a third album? I'd love to hear it.

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 6 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

The third album is bloody awful. Atrocious. Abandon all hope ye who enter. Sunrise was the best.

Mickey Black Eyes, Tuesday, 6 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

Search: the Yardbirds when he wasn't in them. Destroy: everything else. Except the Heart of Darkness ST; that's kinda OK.

Ben Butler, Tuesday, 6 November 2001 01:00 (twenty-two years ago) link

two years pass...
http://www.engrish.com/image/engrish/CDCover.jpg

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 21 November 2003 15:37 (twenty years ago) link

How many live cds has this guy put out? Damn seems like every other release is a live one.

Jim Reckling (Jim Reckling), Saturday, 22 November 2003 02:49 (twenty years ago) link

anyone ever hear his techno CD? if so, is it any good?

Eisbär (llamasfur), Saturday, 22 November 2003 07:29 (twenty years ago) link

two years pass...
For the record, in my opinion I agree and prefer the playing of Duane Allman to that of Eric Clapton, but no one can forget that Duane had a great deal of respect for Clapton's ability.

Anyhow, to stay on topic.....
Search: the version of "Further On Up The Road" between Clapton and The Band during The Last Waltz.

Destroy: while I don't hate it, I generally skip over Eric's version of "Before You Accuse Me", and much prefer the original by Bo Diddley, or the cover by CCR.

shorty (shorty), Monday, 1 May 2006 19:29 (seventeen years ago) link

I've got a soft spot for the Delaney & Bonnie record and the one he did with the Bluesbreakers. And Cream, of course.

will(iam), Monday, 1 May 2006 19:38 (seventeen years ago) link

Search: Clapton when in a band, and Unplugged, which rocked
Destroy: Clapton when not in a band, except for Unplugged, which rocked

musically (musically), Monday, 1 May 2006 22:50 (seventeen years ago) link

eleven years pass...

It’s so ILM that there’s is not really a proper Clapton thread.

This guy’s career is so...odd. How is it that a white blues guitar god ended up with poodle hair writing (actually quite good) pop songs during the 60s? I’d say the label pushed him to do it but I just watched the Disraeli Gears Classic Albums and he seemed to enjoy and understand that side of things on his own. I’d also say Jack Bruce pushed him to do it but the division of labor was much more even than I’d imagined. I’d argue his blues appropriations for Cream date pretty well – Crossroads, Sunshine, and all the riffage in the non-blues songs. Still, the “power” of that band live doesn’t translate to 2018 – you couldn’t pay me to listen to one of those epic live jams no matter how awesome Ginger Baker might be.

Then, post-Cream there’s Blind Faith (whose best song is by Steve Winwood) and the quasi-soul detour of Derek and the Dominoes (which includes the massive, timeless and entirely Duane Allman-free “Bellbottom Blues”) before he goes solo and produces a metric shit ton of slick-ass rock records and blues tributes that have mostly dated horribly and unfortunately don’t end in the 80s.

Still, a perusal thru his catalogue shows an underappreciated talent for elevating other peoples songs into minor pop moments once his own muse up and left – the lovely “Promises” (co-written by Roger Linn!), YMO’s “Behind the Mask” (originally slated for Thriller – and actually not very good) and of course his well-documented love of all things JJ Cale (I kind of enjoy what I’ve heard of their collaboration from 2006, The Road to Escondido).

An oddly mismanaged career or less of a talent than was thought? Probably a bit of both. There’s no denying his best moments. But who knows where they come from.

Naive Teen Idol, Saturday, 17 March 2018 16:41 (five years ago) link

Idk what I was on about in 2001. The Rush soundtrack is pretty good and I've re-embraced his voice and playing, generally, if I ever actually disliked them.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 17 March 2018 16:55 (five years ago) link

Then, post-Cream there’s Blind Faith (whose best song is by Steve Winwood Buddy Holly

Millennial Whoop, wanna fight about it? (Phil D.), Saturday, 17 March 2018 16:57 (five years ago) link

“Lay Down Sally” is some weak ass shit. He had lost all the fire by then. As I mentioned in some other thread, he and G Baker played off each other really well and really drove all that early cream stuff, as excessive as it is. I like B Faith as a detour into pop for EC and Baker and I think it worked well. When the two of them get a couple measures to solo they could tear it up together... In that live video from some early outdoor gig BF played, its no surprise that they played next to each other.

zlstrz (calstars), Saturday, 17 March 2018 17:31 (five years ago) link

Derek and the Dominos remains one of the very best rock albums ever.

kornrulez6969, Saturday, 17 March 2018 18:11 (five years ago) link

Yep!

brimstead, Sunday, 18 March 2018 17:58 (five years ago) link

Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton
Fresh Cream
Disraeli Gears - best studio album
Wheels of Fire
Blind Faith
Layla

+ live stuff w/ Cream, Dominoes & others.

After that eh... he's a pro I guess with always a very pro live band and really liked JJ Cale.

earlnash, Sunday, 18 March 2018 18:12 (five years ago) link

^ Pretty much this. I have zero time for anything after Derek and the Dominos, and I completely agree that Layla is a brilliant album.

Full of bile and Blue Nile denial (Turrican), Sunday, 18 March 2018 19:01 (five years ago) link

Yup

Whiney On The Moog (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 March 2018 20:05 (five years ago) link

There is a bit of recoil in some of the early rock acts away from the volume and bombast. Clapton pretty much swore off big loud riffy rock and decided to be a weird mix of JJ Cale, Don Williams and the three blues Kings. His metamorphosis being based upon hearing the early records by the Band and touring with Delaney and Bonnie.

All that and the dude was seriously kronked on booze and drugs for a long time in his career and kept on going. I'd figure most musicians would cut some sleepy tracks if you were rolling tape under such a set of (self) prescriptions. It is one reason I think there are so many ballads on Stones LPs as the 70s went on. Easier to kick it mellow when you are wasted.

earlnash, Sunday, 18 March 2018 20:15 (five years ago) link

weirdly as reliable a classic rock canon Stan ilxor as there is I have never listened to Layla

it might be the only high profile classic rock classic I've never heard

The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 18 March 2018 20:26 (five years ago) link

If you're mainly into the guitar, look for performances with Robert Cray, his most (implicitly) challenging bandmate ever, far as I know---EC was mainly challenging himself by bringing RC aboard for a tour---legit documented to some extent---but then Clapton's son died, and he went away, came back with the lowkey, sit-down Unplugged, which he reportedly didn't want released, and it was a long time 'til he got any of the fire back, far as I know--From The Cradle had some.
Excellent points made upthread about his pop affinities though---"the doctors say I was born with a weak diaphragm" shockah, but he did alright on 461 Ocean Boulevard overall, and covers through the years of Cowboy's "Please Be With Me", John Martyn's "May You Never," yeah Don Williams, JJ Cale, were okay and more royalties and exposure for their writers, all of whom did their own songers better, but still---oh yeah and also No Reason To Cry, with members of The Band in there and Dylan writing at least "Sign Language," also okay, and D's version not extant far as I know so Clapton's is at least handy.
Also, after he left Cream (he told interviewers that he agreed with upstart Rolling Stone's description of him as "master of the blues cliche," yeah told Robertson he was inspired by The Band, according to Robertson), and yeah he did some good stuff with Delaney and Bonnie & Friends, which may have been where he met Allman and some future Dominos. (Allman was a guest on Layla;some unaccompanied duos show up on at least the first volume of the Duane Allman Anthologies)
But also yeah, if you wanted to stop with Layla, considering the writing and ensemble as well as solos (and mostly eppropriately overdriven weak diaphragm, given "Got me on my knees!" etc), that wouldn't be such a great loss; life is short (do look for some of those performances with Cray, though).

dow, Sunday, 18 March 2018 20:36 (five years ago) link

Don Williams cover, good for tricking your Will Oldham-loving friends.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awbA-uWHycE

... (Eazy), Sunday, 18 March 2018 21:52 (five years ago) link

What was that trio Don Williams was in again?

Whiney On The Moog (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 March 2018 21:57 (five years ago) link

All I know is that I don't play guitar well enough to recognize why so many guitarists I know revere Clapton, whether they like his albums or not (and it's usually not). There are so many idiosyncratic (white) blues dudes whose gifts and personalities are a lot clearer to me. Jeff Beck, Peter Green, SRV, etc. But Clapton the player has never clicked with me.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 18 March 2018 22:36 (five years ago) link

xpost Williams was in Pozo Seco Singers, folkies, I think? Best-known song "Time," but I haven't heard it. That DW trib alb was disappointing, given the contributors, but showed that his low-key, you 'n' me vocal approach ain't that simple at all, ditto the songs too I guess, considering how few of the cover versions worked as well, much less improved on the originals. So, a tribute to his art indeed, just not as intended. (I'm not that big a fan, but noticed.) So Clapton doing okay by his source was more than some more likelies can do (but yknow for a tribute album it's not all that bad, thk xgau let it live for inst)

dow, Sunday, 18 March 2018 22:40 (five years ago) link

Blues as written is also deceptively simple of course.

dow, Sunday, 18 March 2018 22:43 (five years ago) link

Or seemingly simple, I should say.

dow, Sunday, 18 March 2018 22:44 (five years ago) link

Oh yeah, The Pozo-Seco Singers. That single "Time" is great.

Whiney On The Moog (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 March 2018 22:46 (five years ago) link

I have never owned a Clapton recording and never will. He's a dick.

Duke, Sunday, 18 March 2018 23:21 (five years ago) link

All I know is that I don't play guitar well enough to recognize why so many guitarists I know revere Clapton, whether they like his albums or not (and it's usually not). There are so many idiosyncratic (white) blues dudes whose gifts and personalities are a lot clearer to me. Jeff Beck, Peter Green, SRV, etc. But Clapton the player has never clicked with me.

Idk, there's just an elegance to it.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Sunday, 18 March 2018 23:39 (five years ago) link

albums i own and like: Delaney & Bonnie w/ Clapton, Layla. i fuck w Blind Faith and some Cream. Bluesbreakers album is ok (the real gem is Bare Wires w/ Mick Taylor). never really got into Yardbirds. the solo records all have at least two or so worthwhile songs up through Backless. glad Don Williams and JJ Cale got some dough. idk

constitutional crises they fly at u face (will), Sunday, 18 March 2018 23:51 (five years ago) link

461 Ocean Boulevard is my favorite album of his, nice and soft 70s vibe

"Sunshine of Your Love" is plenty fun, and the Layla outro is all time

Saw him live some years ago, good solos

niels, Monday, 19 March 2018 12:34 (five years ago) link

"Sunshine of Your Love" is Jack Bruce and the Layla outro is Jim Gordon.

Buff Jeckley (Tom D.), Monday, 19 March 2018 12:47 (five years ago) link

jim gordon: not just the custodian of the bat-signal

in conclusion, it is good to peel the sheeps (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 19 March 2018 12:49 (five years ago) link

... and "Badge" is half George Harrison!

Buff Jeckley (Tom D.), Monday, 19 March 2018 12:50 (five years ago) link

oh yea was not trying to credit Clapton just picking things I like in his catalog

niels, Monday, 19 March 2018 14:29 (five years ago) link

As a dorky teen in the 90s learning to play guitar on a cheap classical, EC Unplugged was a template, like pencil sketches by a Renaissance master. I didn't care if he'd sold out his rock credentials or made a dirge of Layla; I marvelled at his touch and phrasing and feel.

dinnerboat, Monday, 19 March 2018 15:37 (five years ago) link

come for the riffs, stay for the racism: the eric clapton story

in conclusion, it is good to peel the sheeps (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 19 March 2018 15:40 (five years ago) link

Saw a recent interview somewhere in which he blamed the on-stage Enoch Powell recommendation etc. on alcoholism, which he said was much more of a problem for him than staying off heroin.

dow, Monday, 19 March 2018 16:05 (five years ago) link

luv2get shitfaced and publicly express views which are contrary to my own beliefs for some reason

in conclusion, it is good to peel the sheeps (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 19 March 2018 16:07 (five years ago) link

aka the 'mel gibson'

in conclusion, it is good to peel the sheeps (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 19 March 2018 16:07 (five years ago) link

"Sunshine of Your Love" is Jack Bruce and the Layla outro is Jim Gordon.

You guys know that in recent years Rita Coolidge has claimed co-authorship of the coda? That along with “Groupie(Superstar)”

Whiney On The Moog (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 19 March 2018 23:55 (five years ago) link

That I didn't know, right on, Rita!

Buff Jeckley (Tom D.), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 00:22 (five years ago) link

i loved the first two Cream albums (the vocals are incredible -- "Wrapping Paper"!!!) but never listened to the others. that George Harrison track is pretty cool, as is "White Room".

really like the Yardbirds. Clapton is on "For Your Love" and that song is some iconic psychedelic blue eyed pop. i did his psychedelic pop phase a lot. also from my understanding the live "Crossroads" is one of the great Rockist pillars of rock.

his cornball acoustic adult contemporary stuff is seeming more and more interesting as time goes on. "Wonderful Tonight" is like the most syrupy song in existence. it's almost like his "Watching the Wheels Go Round", this perfectly white wine drunk middle class contentment. i must have heard it at every wedding i have ever been to.

still on some level it rules. feel like the song is maybe due for a pop sampling/interpolation/re-invention one of these days.

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 01:05 (five years ago) link

I hate Wonderful Tonight so much. When I was 18 it was my then-GF's favourite song - her parents were Clapton megafans and took her to see him at Albert Hall multiple times. She was and is an awesome person, but oh my god that song is horrific.

Clapton's overblown cover of Little Wing is strangely affecting, and hells yeah on Bellbottom Blues and the second half of Layla, and the good bits of Cream, and while we're talking about it Behind The Mask, too. But of all the classic 60s guitar gods he's the least for me - none of the godlike invention and humanity of Hendrix, none of the clumsy passion of Townshend. Also he's a fucking racist and was doubling down on his Enoch Powell comments at least into the 21st Century.

papa don't take no meth (stevie), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 14:43 (five years ago) link

It's amazing how many Cream songs I like were written by Ginger Baker.

Full of bile and Blue Nile denial (Turrican), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 16:55 (five years ago) link

good tune w/ Jamie Oldaker on drums

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLDDxfFKd9Y

constitutional crises they fly at u face (will), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 16:59 (five years ago) link

But of all the classic 60s guitar gods he's the least for me - none of the godlike invention and humanity of Hendrix, none of the clumsy passion of Townshend.

yeah, cosign - never wanted to play guitar like clapton but i've def had my ham-handed hendrix/townshend phases and if i never heard clapton records again it'd be way easier to deal with than if i never heard the who or hendrix again

in conclusion, it is good to peel the sheeps (bizarro gazzara), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 16:59 (five years ago) link

so far Layla seems okay but is not blowing me away
a lot of it feels like Rick Danko Band songs that I wish were Rick Danko Band songs instead

The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 21 March 2018 18:59 (five years ago) link

er The Band songs sung by Rick Danko (not Rick Danko Band which I'm sure there was at some point)

The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 21 March 2018 19:00 (five years ago) link

https://i.imgur.com/QPAjz1r.png
iirc this is a pleasant album

niels, Wednesday, 21 March 2018 19:05 (five years ago) link

I saw Rick Danko & Friends (incl. Butterfield, I think) on "Soundstage," the Chicago PBS show: a long set, and opening for Graham Parker & The Rumour, who were very hot---but Danko's crew more than held their own, if memories of the 70s can still/could ever be trusted. Might be on youtube etc. this very second!

dow, Wednesday, 21 March 2018 19:13 (five years ago) link

I retain some affection for various bits of various periods of Clapton's career but I will not stan for him in any specific incarnation. He's like a mostly-middling buffet with some flourishes of quality. Standing in front of this buffet I will happily put onto my plate some Cream, some Blind Faith, a dab of Dominos, some mid-period solo work, a bit of Unplugged.

And since the thread title mentions bands, I suspect I may be the only person here with abiding affection for the August lineup: Phillinganes, Collins, East. That record may have aged badly but if you meet it where it is, it is full of a very particular kind of precise cool. I'll put it on sometimes and remember that at the time, it kinda rocked.

I leprecan't even. (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 21 March 2018 19:14 (five years ago) link

Also he's a fucking racist and was doubling down on his Enoch Powell comments at least into the 21st Century.

― papa don't take no meth (stevie), Tuesday, March 20, 2018 2:43 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Sadly, this is OTM - it's difficult to buy into the excuse that he was off his face on drugs and alcohol when years later he was asked about it and, indeed, doubled down on the Enoch Powell comments. This is after being sober for decades.

Full of bile and Blue Nile denial (Turrican), Wednesday, 21 March 2018 19:18 (five years ago) link

i should hear that album - rick danko had his own album to do iirc

The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 21 March 2018 19:39 (five years ago) link

aww keep listening to layla (the album), my friend, it'll hit you one day i swear

brimstead, Wednesday, 21 March 2018 21:33 (five years ago) link

kinda feel you on The Band thing, though.

brimstead, Wednesday, 21 March 2018 21:33 (five years ago) link

August does nail the vibe of yuppies performing authenticity. I like it. Anyone see the recent documentary?

29 facepalms, Wednesday, 21 March 2018 23:31 (five years ago) link

some of it is good, I could see getting into it. though honestly Clapton isnt a bad singer but there's something so uncompelling about him as a vocalist

The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 21 March 2018 23:58 (five years ago) link

More like Eric crapton amirite

tinnitus the night (Ross), Thursday, 22 March 2018 00:19 (five years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S60M5X4Rqr4

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 22 March 2018 00:50 (five years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q53twA7I02Q

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 22 March 2018 00:52 (five years ago) link

I've tried with Derek and the Dominoes, but aside from a couple of (obvious) tracks it just doesn't stick, which is the same problem I have with Blind Faith, Traffic and a few other groups of that era. Just in one ear out the other, even when I appreciate the playing or sound when they're on.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 22 March 2018 00:54 (five years ago) link

Cool. Before I clicked on that I meant to type two important questions:
Will he flap his elbow(s)?
Will he sing “Java Blues”?

Whiney On The Moog (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 22 March 2018 01:04 (five years ago) link

August does nail the vibe of yuppies performing authenticity.

A 42-year-old alcoholic with multiple country homes = "young urban professional"?

I leprecan't even. (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 22 March 2018 01:07 (five years ago) link

five years pass...

I love “bell bottom blues”

calstars, Saturday, 18 November 2023 13:08 (one week ago) link

The tabla is distracting though

calstars, Saturday, 18 November 2023 20:19 (one week ago) link

Layla's one of my very favorite albums...and it was downhill from there. (I do enjoy 461 Ocean Boulevard, at it's best it conveys a sense of relief and gratefulness from someone who realizes how fortunate he was to escape heroin addiction - would've been a nice way to end his career.)

birdistheword, Saturday, 18 November 2023 21:47 (one week ago) link

*its best

birdistheword, Saturday, 18 November 2023 21:48 (one week ago) link

Yeah I love Layla the album though it does seem very coked out

Will check out 461

calstars, Saturday, 18 November 2023 22:13 (one week ago) link

I love “bell bottom blues”

I could happily live with this and "I Am Yours" from this record (and maybe hearing the title track on the radio once a decade).

The tabla is distracting though

The Layla album was one of the first to receive a "modern" remix, back in 1990, which I would assume buries the tabla a bit. One change I remember was moving the bass from one channel to the centre.

Halfway there but for you, Sunday, 19 November 2023 04:03 (one week ago) link

I hate Clapton but will grudgingly add that his cover of Little Wing is second to Bell Bottom Blues in my list of Derek tracks I'd save in a fire

Yngwie Azalea (stevie), Sunday, 19 November 2023 11:14 (one week ago) link

Is it absurd to wonder if Richard Lloyd and Tom Verlaine took any notes from the sublime interplay on eg Bell Bottom Blues?

glumdalclitch, Sunday, 19 November 2023 15:43 (one week ago) link

“I met all the great guitarists because I grew up in Greenwich Village. Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck — and I was not a fan of Eric Clapton. He was definitely not God. Although I missed him at the beginning when he was a superb bluesman.” - Richard Llloyd

birdistheword, Monday, 20 November 2023 02:18 (one week ago) link

*Lloyd

birdistheword, Monday, 20 November 2023 02:19 (one week ago) link

FWIW, one reason I liked Clapton during his peak years (through Derek & the Dominos) is that he was very critical of himself in a good way. I think the Yardbirds got much better when he left, but his assessment wasn't wrong - "For Your Love" wasn't a great moment compared to what they were doing best before and what they would achieve with Jeff Beck, and his own strength at the time was playing electric blues as heard on that Bluesbreakers album. And he was right about Cream - he knew they weren't achieving their full potential, and when he got wind of the Band, his instincts were totally correct, that he wasn't going to achieve much more with Cream. And he was rightfully and sensibly embarrassed by the ridiculous "God" graffiti. I much prefer Jeff Beck and especially Hendrix as guitarists and (at least in the '60s) recording artists, but for a guy who didn't have a compelling vision or identity as a recording artist, Clapton navigated that limitation extremely well until he was too debilitated by heroin.

birdistheword, Monday, 20 November 2023 02:31 (one week ago) link

my dad saw him a bunch in the 60s with the bluesbreakers and i remember him buying the 'crossroads' box when it came out (and rebuying it when he finally got a cd player) (i still have his vinyl copy because i can't quite bring myself to part with it, because i remember him buying it when we were on holiday once), and he played clapton's records a lot, but i've always found him to be a really dull guitar player. is it because the way he played became codified as the "correct" way to be a guitar god, and thus hendrix running everything through wah and breaking the rules and townshend smashing shit up and managing to wring out these amazing shards of lead before the final destruction are always so much more thrilling to me, in terms of classic rock guitar heroics?

also, and i've doubtless shared this before, but my gf when i was 18 or so was a huge eric fan, her (very middle class) (but also really lovely and decent) parents took the family en masse to see him at the Albert Hall every year, and her favourite song was wonderful tonight. i was an itchy weird little fugazi/public enemy obsessive, and really struggled with that fact. wonderful tonight is genuinely my very, very worst song.

Yngwie Azalea (stevie), Monday, 20 November 2023 10:44 (one week ago) link

i devoured 'best of cream' when i was a kid so i grabbed the opportunity to see them when they reunited at MSG, and while one side of my brain realized that the strat-ified mellow eric did not really gel with the other two guys, on the other hand -- holy hanna was it cool to see cream. it was like an entry into that older-brother territory of the fillmore etc. like, my friends' older brothers were probably richard lloyd's age. i also saw him on the 461 Ocean Blvd tour, and probably various other times. that blues tour was good. oh and i saw that show with stevie winwood. stevie made sure to keep off eric's rug. the rug he was standing on. it was his turf.

Thus Sang Freud, Monday, 20 November 2023 11:25 (one week ago) link

i love the artistry and humor of clapton's best solos, and the way they "fit." it's hard to imagine a different solo in "while my guitar gently weeps." or "white room."

Thus Sang Freud, Monday, 20 November 2023 11:29 (one week ago) link

i think he's unbelievably dull also, stevie -- i got mild pushback from sund4r for saying this on twitter once but i stand by it, layla is exciting thanks to duane allman, this is canon (= my correct opinion)

mark s, Monday, 20 November 2023 11:32 (one week ago) link

He peaked with the Bluesbreakers. And he sold his soul to the devil by massacring blues standards like I’m So Glad and Crossroads on a regular basis for stadium success with Cream, and it was all downhill from there.

Dr Drudge (Bob Six), Monday, 20 November 2023 11:33 (one week ago) link

wait, where is sund4r?

mark s, Monday, 20 November 2023 11:34 (one week ago) link

I’m still mightily puzzled by the influence of the Band on seemingly everyone at that time, but we already covered that issue in the Band threat back in the summer.

Dr Drudge (Bob Six), Monday, 20 November 2023 11:38 (one week ago) link

oops - thread

Dr Drudge (Bob Six), Monday, 20 November 2023 11:40 (one week ago) link

#onethread

Yngwie Azalea (stevie), Monday, 20 November 2023 11:42 (one week ago) link

layla is exciting thanks to duane allman, this is canon (= my correct opinion)

tbh i've long since decided that layla is actually exciting thanks to rita coolidge, the piano coda >>>>>>> the rest of the song.

Yngwie Azalea (stevie), Monday, 20 November 2023 11:44 (one week ago) link

Never heard the *album but Mike Nesmith recorded the song "I Looked Away" and it was nice.

(*One of those albums I can't imagine why, when, where or how I'd have ever heard it.)

The First Time Ever I Saw Gervais (Tom D.), Monday, 20 November 2023 11:52 (one week ago) link

Never heard that cover! Will seek it out.

Shifty Henry’s Swing Club (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 20 November 2023 21:37 (one week ago) link

Oh, it’s on Nevada Fighter, which I did listen to once or twice when he passed away. Will revisit.

Shifty Henry’s Swing Club (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 20 November 2023 22:08 (one week ago) link

i love the artistry and humor of clapton's best solos, and the way they "fit." it's hard to imagine a different solo in "while my guitar gently weeps." or "white room."

This is kind of how I feel too. It's funny to me how George Harrison famously (well, famously among diehard Beatle fans) compared his own playing to Eric Clapton's during Get Back - George isn't wrong, but I think Clapton's best records were usually the ones where he was at the service of the song, similar to what George's philosophy seemed to be. For example, I'm actually not a big Cream fan but that 20-track The Very Best of Cream pretty much has every track I like by them, and it more or less focuses on stuff that did or could've worked as a singles. I'm tempted to say Clapton's contributions on them outside of the pithy solos were arguably more important. ("Badge" is my favorite example of this - pretty much all of his guitar playing on there is dedicated to constructing a song. I'm not sure if this is the case, but nothing he plays sounds improvised - every note sounds like it was composed ahead of time.) And this carried on with Blind Faith - I don't really play their stuff beyond the two singles, but I love that acoustic guitar part on "Can't Find My Way Home."

I guess Derek & the Dominos is a big exception because he does a lot of soloing on Layla, and it's very plausible having Duane Allman there pushed him to do better, but strictly in terms of musicianship, it's never been about virtuosity to me - there are plenty of guitar albums from that time frame where the soloing is much more impressive on a technical level. Layla may have its share of jams, but I kind of hear them all as songs - the whole album has a very clear theme that carries through every track, and to me a lot of the instrumental work seems apiece to the vocals where I'm hearing Clapton phrasing a lot of the lyrics through his guitar rather than deconstructing the musical content. Like I get the impression the written words are still at the center of his mind when he plays, and it always worked for me in this context. It reminds me of Ry Cooder's great instrumental of "The Dark End of the Street" where a lot of its power is the way it evokes the memory of the lyrics. I don't think it's a coincidence that it also deals with the pain of romance - the approach likely works so well with that kind of material because it plays off of the way people remember the past when they ruminate over a relationship.

birdistheword, Monday, 20 November 2023 23:10 (one week ago) link

I don’t have a problem with unplugged

brimstead, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 01:45 (one week ago) link

I've soured on Clapton considerably over the years, and not only because of realizing what an asshole he is. The last time I saw him (well, not counting the Cream reunion) was one of the worst shows I've ever seen. I left after about the 5th straight song from his then-new and boring album. It didn't help that he was doing one of those "with orchestra" tours, which was absurd and awful. (The string section playing the "Crossroads" riff as humorless stentorian eighth notes practically ruined the song for me for all time.)

That said, I could put together 12-15 tracks up through Derek/Layla that I still like a lot. And the Cream reunion show was fun, even tho Jack Bruce had lost most of his voice.


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