This is a monumental album of the 1960s and the birth of the idea of a guitar virtuoso as a star. Eric Clapton had already played in the band The Yardbirds. However, he left to pursue a different sonic landscape, and during the 1960s he successfully carved out a career for himself as a guitar-playing virtuoso. No wonder graffiti popped up over parts of London simply stating, “Clapton is God”. In a musical sense, he was, and this album is mere evidence of that, so let’s check it out.
We kick off with All Your Love. The guitar sound here is powerful and bluesy. It is great blues-based music that takes you to a different place. The whole band is brilliant here, and the guitar is recorded very loudly, on the constant verge of feeding back. A great sound, song, and a way to begin this album. Eric Clapton uses a Gibson Les Paul through a Marshall Amplifier, both relatively new creations at the time, and much imitated by other artists that came after this. Technicalities aside, a great listen.
Next is Hideaway. It’s a short and lively instrumental with organ and Clapton’s impressive guitar skills. He really is a star here, and this is a great way of bringing people to blues-rock music. Many were inspired to explore the influences of these guys after hearing this album. The playing and timing is dead on by Eric Clapton, playing effortlessly. A great sound and a great tune. Never a dull moment listening here.
Little Girl is a sort of love story for those who dig the blues. It’s a great story lyrically, and a great song. Once again, Eric Clapton is in rock god mode, delivering what he promises, a great listen. It still sounds awesome today, an excellent listen from way back in 1966. Essential for blues and rock fans.
Another Man is even more bluesy with a sort of blues style singing and harmonica, with handclaps. Simple, effective, and brilliant to hear. Who needs hundreds of tracks in a home recording studio environment today when the music here is so brilliant and simple? A good tune.
Following up is Double Crossing Time which begins with a melodic piano part, before going into an old school blues jam. A reassuring listen which sounds great, just like the other songs here. Good stuff, blues for rock fans is here. Eric Clapton’s vibrato and pinched harmonics in the guitar solo are really wonderful. A memorable piece that deserves to be heard. Clapton is one cat who can play the blues superbly.
The next piece is What’d I Say which begins with a 1960s style organ, before going into a good rock style jam song, although it is well thought out. The guitars are thick sounding and almost menacing here. In the middle is not a guitar solo, but a very well thought out drum solo which gives it a different listening experience. Once that solo is over, we hear The Beatles Day Tripper riff being played at a fast tempo, before it all ends. Epic and brilliant.
Key To Love has some trumpet and sax on it, surprisingly so for a band such as this one. They drive the song along in the first part of it, showing its brilliance. The guitar solos afterward are just as good, and this is really inspirational music for those who wish to pick up a guitar and play some blues. Awesome stuff.
Parchman Farm is very catchy, being half Country and half Blues music. A wacky, original, and expertly written piece, it demands listening. You do not need to be a fan of Country music to enjoy this tune, it is rather hilarious listening in retrospect if you are not a fan of Country. Great all the same. Nice playing by the group here.
Brilliant saxophone begins the next song, Have You Heard which is a much slower piece. There is some interplay between the sax and Eric Clapton’s guitars, before singing kicks in about a sort of blues story about a lover. It’s less a lyrical experience, more a musical one, but it’s excellent listening, especially for Blues fans. It goes into a powerful jam in the second half of the song, which is quality over quantity. Excellent music. A nice slow piece.
Following that is Ramblin’ On My Mind, which is a slow blues cover of a Robert Johnson original. It has a boogie style piano and excellent riffing from Eric Clapton. The music here speaks for itself, being a great track. The lyrics specifically mention the blues, if only most modern musicians could write songs as good as these, they’d be laughing. Still, an excellent and simple piece to hear, nearly sixty years later.
Steppin’ Out is another great instrumental, and Eric Clapton really shines here. There are organ sounds, saxophone, and pacing drum beats, showing that John Mayall and the band were really wonderful at making music like they did. An effective instrumental, and worth listening to. Blues for the masses is on this album here.
It Ain’t Right is the last track here, a fast bluesy, semi-country romp. It’s a wonderful musical piece, and we finish listening to this album feeling satisfied and keen on exploring similar music to this album, which of course, is brilliant.
This is a collector’s album. For anyone curious about blues music, start here. Eric Clapton only stuck around for this album, going onto bigger things with Cream and his solo career. Still, a great listening experience. You got the blues? Maybe Clapton is God after all.