After the success of earlier solo albums, such as the amazing 461 Ocean Blvd. earlier on in the 1970s, Eric Clapton was a true Rock icon, even post Cream. This album was another success for Eric Clapton, and looking back, let’s find out exactly why this is the case. The title of the album is Eric Clapton’s nickname which he has had since early on in his career. This is an expanded re-release that has replaced the original, with some extra tracks. Let’s take a listen and see how it sounds musically.
The drug song Cocaine kicks off the album with some brilliant sounding multi tracked guitar riffs to boot. Eric Clapton sings about the well know illicit drug that was beginning to take off at this time, and was popular during the late 1970s and a lot of the 1980s, particularly amongst the wealthy in the U.S.A. Despite all the history of Eric Clapton and Cocaine use, this is a really excellent song. There is a slow and superbly played solo in the middle of this song. Fender Stratocaster goodness is here for those who dig it. A legendary song, and definitely an Eric Clapton classic. Well played, recorded and delivered. “She don’t lie” indeed. Top song. Very memorable.
Next is Wonderful Tonight which is so gorgeous and beautiful sounding, right from the start. It does sound very 1970s, but not dated at all in retrospect. It’s likely about Eric Clapton’s love that he stole from George Harrison, which has a bit of an interesting background history about it. This is a really beautiful and pretty love song ballad that has the ability to sway one. There are some wonderfully beautiful guitar tones here, along with some great recorded sounds, such as a retro Rock organ sound in the background. Great song to serenade a lover, if you ever need to do so. Pretty.
Lay Down Sally comes next with some chugging palm muted guitar parts, before awesome drumming kicks in. This is about having time for being with a lover. This is really top. Clapton was still on the ball, even a decade after Cream. Particularly note that, not only this is great material, the recording and playing of every instrument and performance is really top. This gives postmodern auto tuned to the nth degree music a definite for its money. Another great and touching song, this is a great song to grab a lover’s attention if necessary. Beaut.
Next Time You See Her is a more direct ballad to begin with. A beautiful performance by all is here, but the lyricism is fairly brutal. Regardless, it is a great Pop/Rock piece that sounds excellent all the same and is about jealousy in a relationship. In amongst the brutal lyrics, the music here is really wonderful. One hopes that a resurgence in this sort of music happens again one day, but this is a very near perfect album to hear. Another excellent listen from Eric Clapton.
Next is We’re All The Way which sounds a bit like The Velvet Underground at the start. It’s not quite like that, but it is a slow semi-acoustic ballad with some female backing vocals. This is a really great tune and album to put on over a romantic dinner or something similar. Some relationship issues are included in this song, but it is still a gentle and reassuring musical listen that is very timeless.
Following is the brilliant jam like piece, The Core. This begins with a female lead vocal, with Clapton singing in turn as well, before both of them sing together in the chorus. Eric Clapton’s Fender Stratocaster playing here is really good, and shows that you don’t need humbuckers in a guitar to make a brilliant sound. This is a lengthy piece around eight minutes, but all the same, it is worth every moment listening. A great listening experience, it goes into the extended jam with upbeat saxophone and a great catchy melodic jam with some loud Rock guitar solos. Top notch, this sounds well thought out and amazing at the same time. The singing tag team resumes after the soloing, and this is upbeat and anthemic. The whole thing is really awesome, a great Classic Rock jam. The saxophone returns again, followed by electric guitar solos, and this is a superb listening experience. Some top playing and instrumentation are here. Thoroughly enjoyable.
May You Never is another beautiful love song. This is not unlike a 1970s version of The Beatles, seemingly so. Still, it is excellent and highly original and well thought out musically and artistically. A lovely and nice song about keeping things together. It is a nice song to listen to, although some of the lyrics are covering some dark matter. It doesn’t sound quite like that, but a good song overall.
Mean Old Frisco sounds more like the traditional Blues music that Eric Clapton was deeply inspired by growing up and earlier on in his career. It has slide guitars galore and some Blues inspired singing as well. It does still sound really good though, and is a great example of Eric Clapton going deep into musical history, which more artists these days should do. There is some nice piano in the background as well. Key points as well go to the drummer here on this album, who does a top job. An interesting throwback, and still worth your time. Great stuff Slowhand.
Next is the oddly titled Peaches and Diesel which is a beautiful piece with some brilliant sounds throughout, particularly with guitars. Although this is an instrumental, but is very welcome here on this album. It just goes to show that Clapton knew exactly what he was doing, and did it very well here. A masterful guitarist and musician to this day, Eric Clapton delivers well here. Good job mate. The band play with passion and energy which is often unheard in most music today, this is a top effort, all the way to the fade out.
The extra tracks begin with Looking At The Rain which is a gorgeous acoustic piece about love issues at hand. Great to hear, and Eric Clapton sings deeply about lost love. A nice piece to hear, this is excellent listening about relationship stuff. Another strong effort, and a great addition to this expanded album.
Alberta comes along next, with an odd intro, before going into a very good 12 string sounding acoustic guitar driven ballad with Eric Clapton singing about a lover who is up to seemingly no good. Another great addition to the re-release of this album, Clapton shines very well here. Good and relaxing listening.
Greyhound Bus does sound very much like The Beatles or The Rolling Stones in its approach, with accordion, harmonica and bongo beats. A great piece to hear, and a soothing listen from Eric Clapton. He sings about needing a lover’s company, even among busy travels. A top listen from Eric Clapton, and sounds a lot like something from Let It Be. Still excellent, all the same.
Last is Stars, Strays and Ashtrays which is a good piece to finish off this album with. Eric sings about life on the road, and is just as wonderful and beautiful as all the songs before it. Eric Clapton sings some wordless harmonies as a verse, which is interesting here. Awesome all the same, and a great song to finish off this great album.
All in all, this is just as good as some of the best albums out there, including earlier Eric Clapton efforts. This album is melodic, simple, beautiful and essential. Not many albums are like this in those ways. Therefore, you should seek out Slowhand if you can. It’s a great listen from start to finish.