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Eric Clapton is of course widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time thanks to his career in super groups such as Cream, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Blind Faith as well as his acclaimed solo material which there has been a lot of. His new album "Old Sock" will be his 21st studio solo album and the first since 2010's "Clapton". I often review one of an artists previous albums before they have a new album out and having already reviewed many of his albums I decided to approach Journeyman to review.
This is one of Eric Clapton's most well respected solo albums including some of his most well known solo material. The album was released at the end of the 1980s and was seen as a return to form for Clapton after he had recovered from well publicised battles with Alcohol. The album is a Blues Rock record featuring some well known artists who collaborated with Clapton. The album saw Clapton experiment with different sounds which were common for the sound of the day.
This is an excellent opener which has a real pep to it thanks to the taut drums and catchy synthesizers which add a different sound to what you might have expected from Eric Clapton back in 1989. There's some excellent use of a guitarists friend the wah wah pedal. The vocal performance from Clapton is expressive and far superior to what he had been doing earlier on in the 80s. It is a song that is one of his most well known from the era.
2.) Anything For Your Love
A change of pace here as this is a nice ballad about devoting yourself to someone and trying to prove to them how committed you are to them. It's not one of the most well known tracks from the album but features some fine guitar work that compliments his vocals and works well with the other Instruments. There's some great solo work here throughout the length of the track. This is one of several songs on the album that was written by Jerry Lynn Williams.
3.) Bad Love
One of the more fast paced tracks of Eric Clapton's back catalogue, this one opens gently with Organ and gentle bass guitar, Eric's wah wah pedal is used again to great effect as the track gets going with an extremely catchy melody and drums with a catchy pep. It was composed by Eric Clapton and Foreigner lead guitarist Mick Jones. Phil Collins does a fine job on drums and backing vocals. This is a fantastic song and is one of his best live tracks. Fine solo work.
4.) Running On Faith
This is the third of four tracks solely written by Jerry Lynn Williams, This is a lovely ballad with some fine gentle slide work as Clapton sings about when you are almost on the verge of giving up with things. The backing vocals are an excellent feature of the song and really add that emotive touch needed. This is a lovely song that is performed wonderfully well. The simple yet effective solo towards the end just tops things off brilliantly. Clapton is on fine form vocally here as he turns in one of the best vocals on the album.
5.) Hard Times
This is a cover of the Ray Charles song. This is a Slow Blues burner which features some lovely sax work from the fantastic David Sanborn and some excellent guitar work from Clapton. This is certainly one of finest displays of musicianship on the album. Phil Collins, George Harrison, Nathan East, Pino Palladino and Robert Cray also appear. This is a fabulous reworking of the Ray Charles original which I think Eric actually improved on here.
6.) Hound Dog
Yep, It's a cover of the Elvis Presley track, I'm not a fan of Presley but I like this particular version. This is a brooding Robert Johnson tinged affair with some honky tonk Piano and some excellent melodies. At just over two minutes long the song isn't long enough for my liking but Eric manages to get enough in for it to be a decent listen.
7.) No Alibis
This is one of my favourites from the album. It's a track that you can sing along to at the top of your lungs and also play some fantastic air guitar too as there's plenty of fine guitar work throughout. The track is about trying to get to the truth of what is actually going on in a relationship, requiring your partner to be straight with you. There's some exceptional guitar work on this track and some of Clapton's finest vocals on the album. Daryl Hall's light backing vocals are a triumph on this one.
8.) Run So Far
This is a track which was written by George Harrison, It also features the former Beatle. It has a Beatles feel with soft seductive vocals and a simple yet effective melody. It takes a while to get going but has a nice sound and has some nice melodies, It's not up there with the best tracks on the album yet is still a very listenable track which works as a decent collaboration between the two.
9.) Old Love
This is a fabulous song that is one of his most loved Live tracks. The emotive vocals are amongst the best on the album and the music builds the emotion wonderfully well. This track is about when you are still in love with someone who has left you and you can't get over them. The track was co written with Robert Cray. Eric's guitar work on this track is terrific as the emotion pours through his fingers and onto the strings. Terrific track.
10.) Breaking point
This is a catchy Rock track with some electro sounds. Clapton's voice is loud and expressive as the melodies are formed and you start to hear the little things going on within the track. It's a change from much of the album and makes for an interesting and worthwhile addition to the album. One slight criticism of the song is that it doesn't quite progress as much as I'd like but it's still good to listen to and shows the range of Clapton's music.
11.) Lead me on
This is a lovely ballad which was written by Cecil and Linda Womack, Cecil was the brother of Bobby Womack. The song has a beautifully intimate feel and the vocals are a treat to listen to. The guitar licks continue the emotion and the overall package is superb. This is another track which showcases the musical range of Eric Clapton. The solo whilst relaxed and simple is very beautiful. An absolutely fantastic song that deserves to be heard despite it's lesser known status compared to the big hits of Journeyman.
12.) Before you accuse me
This is a fine track to end on, It tells the story of a relationship with plenty of trust issues. Clapton recorded the song twice, this electric version on Journeyman and a live acoustic version for the MTV Unplugged series. It's a fantastic cover of the Bo Diddley original. Clapton's strong vocals are performed over crashing drums from Phil Collins and some fantastic guitar licks. This is a fantastic vibrant song which deserves it's standing.
Eric Clapton has been one of the biggest artists in Music History and this album from 1989 is one of his best albums. The Iconic 24 nights Live Album which was performed and recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1991 features some timeless performances of many of these songs. The live versions are indeed special but the album versions stand up extremely well to scrutiny themselves. This is a fine album that is a must listen for any Eric Clapton fan. Check out his new album "Old Sock".
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Anything For Your Love
3 Bad Love
4 Running On Faith
5 Hard Times
6 Hound Dog
7 No Alibis
8 Run So Far
9 Old Love
10 Breaking Point
11 Lead Me On
12 Before You Accuse Me