Eric CLAPTON – Clapton 2010

Eric CLAPTON – Clapton 2010


I promise there is not **Layla** in this album.
Co-produced by guitarist and long-time collaborator Doyle Bramhall II, ‘Clapton’ features an all star cast of musical collaborations started with the legendary JJ Cale, drummer Jim Keltner, bassist Willie Weeks, and keyboardist Walt Richmond – and the sessions later added guests including Steve Winwood, Wynton Marsalis, Sheryl Crow, Allen Toussaint, and Derek Trucks. Clapton created a collection that touches on everything from century-old traditional brass bands to little-known country blues to brand-new originals. The result is both relaxed and revelatory, and unlike anything the guitarist has done in his legendary career.
‘This album wasn’t what it was intended to be at all,’ says Eric Clapton. ‘It’s actually better than it was meant to be because, in a way, I just let it happen. It’s an eclectic collection of songs that weren’t really on the map – and I like it so much because if it’s a surprise to the fans, that’s only because it’s a surprise to me, as well.’
It has been an open secret for some time now among music enthusiasts that Eric Clapton has been coasting a bit on his solid, unimpeachable reputation.
“Clapton” puts no deviation in that trajectory. This legend does not merely show up to the recording studio and phone it in – certainly not – yet he does work mostly within his box, sounding relaxed and at ease, making the music he wishes to. His choices are predictable, but mostly enjoyable.
This is a set of well-polished, nicely honed tunes – covers and originals alike – that are easy to listen to, if not terribly difficult to turn off in favor of, say, 1992’s “Unplugged.”
Stone Clapton fans will certainly be pleased, of course, because his trademark sound – a sound that listeners are lucky to still have access to after all these years – is present throughout.
Throughout this pleasing selection of tracks Clapton weaves blues-rock and southern-fried jazz with flourishes of old school R&B, burnished soul and rousing pop/rock. A few tunes meander a little too often such as “River Runs Deep” and Irving Berlin’s “How Deep Is the Ocean?”
Still, other selections – even ones that run beyond the 5-minute mark such as the uptempo “That’s No Way to Get Along,” cannot wear out their welcome, especially with Clapton’s trustworthy playing in the mix.
He moves in-between the covers and original quite well, letting them bleed into each other, benefitting the cohesive feel of the album. However, some tunes like the overtly romantic “When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful,” nonetheless overstuffed with the spicy New Orleans-style instrumentation that is frequent among these tunes, sounds somewhat jarring due to surrounding songs that ground the album in a more serious context. Even so, it is awesome to hear him work in a variant of the classic Old Dixie combo sound.
It is a fine moment to hear Clapton wrap his expressive, oaken voice around the immortal “Autumn Leaves” in thoughtful, ponderous fashion.
New Orleans’ own Allen Toussaint and Wynton Marsalis both show up to add flourish to the project, as do Sheryl Crow, Derek Trucks and, happily, Steve Winwood, who shared in Blind Faith with Clapton.
A self-titled release often signifies a swap of sound or change in direction, but this is not the case with “Clapton,” nor need it be. It is rather a kind, warm-hearted affirmation of what Eric Clapton has long been loved and lauded for – a fine enough excuse to pay it a listen.
Different retailers feature slight variations to the song selections.
By Rudy Palma.
One of the advantages of ages, experience and yes, money is that you can do whatever you want and if folks don’t like it they can go to hell. For 35 years fans have wanted Clapton to recreate Cream or the Derek and the Dominos record and have been unhappy when he didn’t. As Clapton has moved through his 60’s he seems to be becoming more comfortable in his own skin and doing the music he wants to. Based on the track listing for this CD it sure seems to be the case, and in doing that he has done his best work in many years.
The new disc, Clapton, has Eric playing old blues songs and standards. Blues we expect, but standards? While it sounds like an odd concept, the common thread is that they come thru Clapton’s personality. Much of the record is the kind of laid back JJ Cale influenced work he has favored post 1974. (River Runs Deep, Traveling Alone,). There are a number of blues songs that sound like they would fit in a late night set with a small band in a small club, such as Rocking Chair, Milkman, Hard Times, and Rolling and Tumbling. All are well performed and completely enjoyable.
Interestingly, as I see it, the emotional core of the record is made up of standards-songs like Autumn Leaves, How Deep Is the Ocean, Crazy About You Baby and When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful. Clapton has known and sung these songs since childhood, and they are as much a part of him as breathing. These songs have a different structure, yet their feel is consistent with the record. Clapton’s voice is perfect for these songs and his playing as usual is stellar.
In my not so humble opinion, this is Clapton’s best cd of new material since From the Cradle. I highly recommend it. Enjoy.
By J.Johnson.

The 14-track set is co-produced by Clapton and his longtime collaborator Doyle Bramhall II.  Cale joins Clapton on the album as does drummer Jim Keltner.  In addition, there are guest appearances from Sheryl Crow, Derek Trucks, Steve Winwood, Wynton Marsalis, and Allen Toussaint.

Clapton and Crow have often teamed up on stage at various performances and reportedly had a personal relationship at one point.  Clapton and Winwood were both in the band Blind Faith and recently did a string of dates together.  Derek Trucks Band has also toured with Clapton and performed at his annual concert to benefit the Crossroads Treatment Center he helped found in Antigua.

The record mixes covers of older and obscure traditional and country-blues songs as well as a handful of new original tunes penned specifically for the album.

“This album wasn’t what it was intended to be at all,” he said.  “It’s actually better than it was meant to be because, in a way, I just let it happen.  It’s an eclectic collection of songs that weren’t really on the map—and I like it so much because if it’s a surprise to the fans, that’s only because it’s a surprise to me, as well.”
By Josh Hathaway.
01. Travelin’ Alone 3:56
02. Rockin’ Chair 4:03
03. River Runs Deep 5:52
04. Judgement Day 3:11
05. How Deep Is The Ocean 5:29
06. My Very Good Friend The Milkman 3:18
07. Can’t Hold Out Much Longer 4:08
08. That’s No Way To Get Along 6:07
09. Everything Will Be Alright 3:49
10. Diamonds Made From Rain 4:21
11. When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful 2:51
12. Hard Times Blues 3:43
13. Run Back To Your Side 5:17
14. Autumn Leaves 5:40

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