Having made his best album since 461 Ocean Boulevard with Slowhand, Eric Clapton followed with Backless, which took the same authoritative, no-nonsense approach. If it wasn't quite the masterpiece, or the sales monster, that Slowhand had been, this was probably because of that usual Clapton problem: material. Once again, he returned to those Oklahoma hills for another song from J.J. Cale, but "I'll Make Love to You Anytime" wasn't quite up to "Cocaine" or "After Midnight." Bob Dylan contributed two songs, but you could see why he hadn't saved them for his own album, and Clapton's own writing contributions were mediocre. Clapton did earn a Top Ten hit with Richard Feldman and Roger Linn's understated pop shuffle "Promises," but it wasn't one of his more memorable recordings. Of course, Clapton's blues playing on the lone, obligatory blues cut, "Early in the Morning," was stellar. Backless was his last album to feature the backup group that had been with him since 1974.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann