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Eric Clapton is one of the longest tenured Greats of Music. He has received fine praise since the 1960s and has managed to evolve his Music to fit a number of musical styles which has widened his popularity and increased his Legacy. He has released twenty solo studio albums and has released several more in various collectives with a vast back catalogue of collaborations. His 20th album is the subject for this review and It was released on 27th September 2010, He has a new album coming out in a couple of months which will feature a Tour. He is scheduled to perform a series of concerts in the United States and Europe from 14 March to 19 June 2013 to celebrate his 50 years as a professional musician.
This is the title of the twentieth studio album from Eric Clapton. The album features a stellar lineup with Clapton being backed by the likes of Doyle Bramhall, Derek Trucks, JJ Cale, Allen Toussaint, Wynton Marsalis, Willie Weeks, Sheryl Crow and Steve Winwood. The album was produced by Eric Clapton, along with Doyle Bramhall and Justin Stanley. The album is Clapton's usual mix of Blues and Rock with an interesting Jazz fusion. The album has been fairly well received by critics and is his highest charting album in the UK Charts since 2001's Reptile reaching number seven in the UK Album Chart.
1.) Travelin' Alone
This is a shuffling Bluesy number with some catchy guitar hooks and a nice relaxed organ sequence in the background. Clapton's vocals are well performed on this which draws on the early Blues sound and adds a modern sound to create an interesting mix. This track gets things off to a decent start and features some excellent guitar work without fulling going all out on a solo as you know he can do.
2.) Rockin' Chair
This is a relaxed track which again draws on the Blues roots to produce a subtle Blues number which features some gorgeously relaxed guitar tones and Eric's emotive vocals provide the ideal vocal for this chilled track. It's about reminiscing about old times and is another excellent opener which has received decent praise from critics.
3.) River Runs Deep
This is one of the livelier moments on the album but still keeps to the relaxed feel of the openers. It's one of the best tracks on the album and that's in part because Eric's guitar takes a more centre stage position. He produces some lovely flicks of the strings which keep the songs emotive feel which keeps everything together. This is certainly one of the best tracks on the album.
4.) Judgement Day
This has an old school feel with the Bluesy notes and the barbershop quartet like harmonies. Clapton's vocals are reminiscent of those on his Robert Johnson release. This track features some lovely backing sounds and everything comes together in the right way to get the best possible product from the parts involved. Some excellent harmonica from Kim Wilson really tops things off. The album is coming into it's own at this point.
5.) How Deep Is The Ocean
This is a lovely chilled moment. Eric Clapton's vocals are somber and emotive, The music is delightful here with some lovely simple piano and gentle strums with soft percussion. I love the way this one builds and it certainly doesn't disappoint. It's one of the finest songs on the album and is performed really well all round. The guitar solo is emotive and chilled. great stuff. There's some lovely trumpet from Wynton Marsalis that combines with the lovely string accompaniment from the London Session Orchestra
6.) My Very Good Friend The Milkman
This is one of the weaker songs on the album, The vocals are fair and the music works well but the lyrics are a little basic and don't really have the Interest of the other tracks. It's not a bad track but compared to the other tracks on the album it just doesn't have that all round spark. Worth a listen to gauge your feeling on the song. Some good musicianship on show.
7.) Can't Hold Out Much Longer
This is a fantastic slice of Blues Rock which is more akin to Eric Clapton's 1994 album "From The Cradle" which is one of my favourite albums from him. The vocals are passionate and the guitar work is backed wonderfully by the taut drums and other instruments to collectively bring the emotion. There's some fantastic guitar work on this track which really finishes things off.
8.) That's No Way To Get Along
This is another old school sounding track but has a little Rock & Rock sound thanks to the Guitar tones but there's still the Blues feel. This is not one of the best tracks on the album but still has it's appeal on the album as a flowing easy listener. There's some nice slide guitar from Derek Trucks who adds something to a few of these songs. Good stuff.
9.) Everything Will Be Alright
This is a lovely track, It has some nice piano and organ work and a catchy drum part which combines well with the relaxed guitar, The song shuffles along with a pep. Clapton's vocals are again relaxed and emotive. The musical backing of this song really tells you about the kind of album this one is. This is one of the best tracks on the album and there's a lovely relaxed solo which tops things off well.
10.) Diamonds Made From Rain
This one has to be a contender for best track on the album. It is one of the more recognisable Eric Clapton songs on the album and is much more similar to what he had been doing in the more recent past. It's a beautiful simmering Blues ballad which builds wonderfully and as the song progresses his vocals become more emotive. The guitar work is wonderful and keeps the emotion of the song brilliantly. This may be the best track on the album or certainly one of them. Great stuff.
11.) When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful
This is another old school track which has a slice of Jazz in it too. I feel that Eric's vocals are a little off from the speed of the Music, The tone is fine but the timing is a little off in places but it's not his usual sound so you can forgive that a little. The music on this track is excellent and saves the track a little from mediocrity. Not one of the best tracks on the album as there are a few pieces missing or that could have been amended.
12.) Hard Times Blues
This is a catchy blues track which has a fairly long intro with some catchy guitar strums and relaxed beats. I like the way the song progresses, The vocal effect sounds different from much of the album though keeps the relaxed feel of the previous tracks. This is one of the more simpler tracks on the album but it has it's appeal. Things are topped off well by a nice guitar solo towards the end.
13.) Run Back To Your Side
This is an uptempo track which opens with the guitars coming in at a lower volume then raising until the song is in full flow. It's a catchy track which has some vibrant parts and the melodies work well. Clapton's vocals are strong and still relaxed. This is a nice song which is one of the better tracks on the album with some excellent Musicianship all round. It also features some excellent guitar work that takes things to a higher level.
14.) Autumn Leaves
This is the final track on the album and one of the best. It's a lovely, relaxed ballad which has a stripped down feel with some lovely vocals, soft piano and drum brush strokes which set the mood wonderfully. This is a tender Blues moment which shows the range of Eric Clapton as a Musician. The guitar notes are wonderful and drip with emotion. This is a lovely closer as it is a fine example of the best of the album. Good stuff indeed.
This is the twentieth solo studio album from Eric Clapton and there's much to admire about it. It's not the most consistent of his albums yet there are still some fantastic songs which are up there with his best works. The Musical collaborations featured on the album are terrific as he always surrounds himself with a fine backing band. In anticipation of his 21st solo studio album I will listen to this album a lot over the next few months and look forward and think about what kind of album I would like from him. If it's anything like the best work on this album then he's done a fine Job.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Travelin' Alone
2 Rockin' Chair
3 River Runs Deep
4 Judgement Day
5 How Deep Is The Ocean
6 My Very Good Friend The Milkman
7 Can't Hold Out Much Longer
8 That's No Way To Get Along
9 Everything Will Be Alright
10 Diamonds Made From Rain
11 When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful
12 Hard Times Blues
13 Run Back To Your Side
14 Autumn Leaves