The story goes that Eric Clapton loved Bob Dylan’s backing band so much, who were known as The Band, and who made the legendary 1968 album Music From Big Pink, that he tracked them down around this time. The result? Eric Clapton recorded some of this album in The Band’s Shangri-La studios, and unlike previous solo albums by Clapton, there were more collaborations here than you’d think otherwise. This doesn’t come as a total surprise, Eric Clapton disbanded the supergroup Cream as he heard Music From Big Pink and was convinced that he needed to follow a better musical agenda once he had heard it back in 1968. All the same, this should be a decent and interesting solo album of Eric Clapton’s, so let’s hear it.
Beautiful Thing launches this album with pretty piano and clean guitars that sound sweet. Eric Clapton sings in an affirmative way. Sure, this music isn’t revolutionary in its own way, but it is legendary. There are some pretty female Gospel vocals in the chorus here, and Eric Clapton plays some perfect guitar parts to match this tune. Indeed, this intricate music is really fantastic to hear, and he sings and plays Blues Rock better than anyone else out there. A catchy, pretty and interesting tune that demands to be heard, this has a gorgeous Fender Stratocaster set of solos that are multitracked. Clapton could make some great music, and the 1970s was a great time for his style of sound. The female Gospel style vocals that sing the chorus are also fantastic. A pleasant and calm listen, Eric Clapton is a musical God. Period. This is an excellent tune, and worth your ears. Great 1970s music. Never dull nor boring, it fades out sweetly. Great start to the album.
Carnival begins with “Oi!” being shouted and has some unusual structures and instrumentation on this tune. Eric Clapton sings again with strange sitar sounds and the female backing vocals about visiting a carnival of sorts. A great listening experience here, this has a multitude of interesting and intricate sounds delivered by keyboards, organ, drums and other layering techniques, not a million miles away from what Phil Spector would do production wise during his career. A cool tune regardless, this is wonderful and joyful listening. Clapton reigns supreme here, and he sounds melodic and majestic. More textural than song based, but still a winner, Eric Clapton shows the world of music how to impress people. Nice tune man.
Sign Language begins with some lush guitars, including slide guitar and has Bob Dylan featured on this track as well, doing backing vocals here. A good song, although quite possibly not a great song, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan duel it out for your ears. Unfortunately, the vocals are strangely out of time with each other, which is really weird. A cool guitar solo is present on this tune in the midsection, which saves it from mediocrity. Bob Dylan sings the lead vocal in the second half, and to be frank it doesn’t mesh too well with Eric Clapton’s own voice. This is good, but not the best of Eric Clapton or Bob Dylan. The guitar soloing is excellent, however. It ends just before three minutes in length, with an interesting finish.
County Jail Blues begins with piano and bluesy slide guitar, before quickly entering a very nice and slow tune that isn’t boring. This is a good tune and sounds like Eric Clapton is a crossover artist for Rock and Blues musicians in the 20th century. Clapton sings well here, and he delivers such a unique and wonderful musical piece that sounds really killer and amazing. Very catchy music. and Slowhand plays the Blues very well, arguably better than anyone else in mainstream Rock music. There are organs and slide guitar solos galore on this tune, which sound excellently played. A catchy and memorable song, Eric Clapton sings about the misery of being stuck in jail and a bad situation that one cannot escape from. A good tune to listen to, although the Blues music here is a bit of an acquired taste. It ends with a fade out of organs and slide guitars, nice work.
All Our Past Times features Rick Danko from The Band on backing vocals. It begins with some soft drum rolls and launches into another decent and Bluesy sounding piece of music. Eric Clapton sings here about wanting to avoid a difficult situation at hand, and he sounds extremely emotional here. The playing is just as immaculate here, and both singers and the instrumentation on this tune are fantastic. There is some great singing in the chorus, and Slowhand and company do a wonderful and passionate love song of sorts here. There is some great guitar soloing in the midsection, and this tune is a great and joyful listening experience throughout. An emotional ballad, this piece of music and album is underrated in Clapton’s back catalogue and is worth your ears. A great and sad ballad, Eric Clapton makes some and pretty music here. A great listen overall.
Hello Old Friend is the most popular tune from this album and has slide guitars, piano and decent singing from Eric here. It’s another wonderful slice of Blues based Classic Rock that Eric Clapton made a lot of back in the 1970s. It is a real joy to listen to, and Clapton does a great job of articulating simple emotions and passionate desires that a man may have. A really awesome tune to listen back to in hindsight, this is another stunning and interesting listen from Slowhand. Eric Clapton’s playing is definitely underrated and so is his music, especially solo career material such as this album. A great listen from start to finish, and this wraps up with some great singing and slide guitar playing, before reaching a sweet conclusion. Excellent.
Double Trouble begins with some weird instrumentation in an unusual key, and Eric Clapton sings in a more powerful way than typically he would. This is a strange minor key tune that still is as good as everything else on this album. Some searing Fender Stratocaster solos are present here, and the whole thing sounds like a passionate and Blues driven tune that deserves your ears. Eric Clapton plays with soul and emotion in his music, and he delivers a wonderful piece of joyous music at hand. A gorgeous tune about being dirt poor, and was originally an Otis Redding piece. Clapton does this extremely well, and this is excellent Blues music, without a doubt. A fine tune, it gets quiet towards the end and finishes very slowly and softly. Good cover.
Innocent Times features Marcy Levy on vocals. It begins with some genuinely decent piano and Marcy’s beautiful lead vocal here. Clapton obviously made a decent tune for her to sing over. A really pretty, beautiful and lovely piece of music, even if Eric Clapton does not sing this song himself. There is the usual stock instrumentation of piano, slide guitars, soft drums and luscious instrumentation abound in this tune. A bit of an oddity in Eric Clapton’s back catalogue, and it sounds passionate and has some pleasant singing from Marcy Levy about past times in youth. A sweet and memorable piece of music from this album, there are some excellent slide guitar solos in the second half, which are pretty, memorable and beautiful. Marcy sings well and has a great impact musically here. A sweet tune to hear, and very pretty too.
Hungry features both Eric Clapton and Marcy Levy on vocals. It is more powerful and upbeat music that sounds lovely, gorgeous and impressive on this tune. A better song than you’d expect, it is a driving, upbeat Rock tune that Eric Clapton and company have made here. A very enjoyable and listenable piece of music that still impresses and delivers to this day, Eric Clapton obviously knows music inside out and back-to-front. A gorgeous set of slide guitar solos are present towards the middle of this song, and this piece sounds very passionate and lively. “I’m hungry, for your sweet smile…” is repeated here in the chorus. A passionate, energetic and joyous listen, Eric Clapton’s solo career is very underrated. The singing, playing and soloing are all wonderful to listen to, and the whole thing is brilliant. A great tune from start to finish, and worth hearing, all the way through to the fade out.
Black Summer Rain begins with gorgeous keyboards, arpeggios on guitar and some gorgeous atmospheric sounds to hear. Eric Clapton sings about being in a very dark place, and he delivers superbly in this song. A very pretty, interesting and laidback tune to experience, despite the fact that Clapton sounds like he is out of luck lyrically here, this is a nice tune to listen to. There are some really pretty organs, electric guitar parts and other unusual instrumentation to match here. A really pretty and interesting piece of music, this is an upbeat and top tune to hear, although it is more textural than a song basis here. The second half has an interesting mesh of melodic soloing by Eric Clapton and this tune comes alive. A really great and interesting piece of music, this is great to play at home alone, or with the company of friends. A bit lengthy, but still a totally listenable piece of songcraft here.
Last Night is the last song on this album and is an extra track. It begins with some piano playing, slide guitar and other decent instrumentation, which is more traditional Blues music than you’d expect. A really cool and smooth piece of pure Blues music, Clapton’s singing style is a bit different here, sounding more like he is from Southern USA than the UK here. Nonetheless, this Blues piece is an interesting, fresh and decent listening experience for people to enjoy. If you want to explore Blues music more, then Eric Clapton’s music is a great starting point for such music. A really fresh and awesome musical listen here, Eric Clapton is a legend of this style of music and makes some tasty ear candy for music. A strange tune, but worth your time and ears, this sounds really fantastic musically. Towards the end are some interesting solos galore with the instruments here, and the drumming is more thunderous than usual as well. A great finish to underrated music, Eric Clapton does very well here. Nice tune and it finishes up a great album.
Undeniably, this is another great album by Eric Clapton that links Blues and Rock music together perfectly for a fairly mainstream audience, particularly back in 1976 when this was released. It still sounds amazing to this day, however, and Clapton should be really proud of the music made here. Should you listen to this album? Yes, especially if you love Classic Rock based on Blues music. A great album and Eric Clapton was just getting started here with his decades long solo career.
An undeniably awesome album by Slowhand himself.