Eric Clapton

E.C. Was Here

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Following Eric Clapton's recovery from heroin addition in 1974 and subsequent comeback (announced by 461 Ocean Boulevard), the guitar legend retained his fine band and toured extensively, and this live album is a souvenir of that period. Despite having such pop-oriented hits as "I Shot the Sheriff," E.C. Was Here makes it clear that Clapton was and always would be a blues man. The opening cut, "Have You Ever Loved a Woman," clearly illustrates this, and underlines the fact that Clapton had a firm grasp on his blues guitar ability, with some sterling, emotionally charged and sustained lines and riffs. A short version of "Drifting Blues" also drives the point home, with a lazy, Delta blues feel that is intoxicating. Aside from these standout blues workouts, Clapton provides a surprise with two songs from his Blind Faith period. "Presence of the Lord" and Steve Winwood's classic "Can't Find My Way Home" are given great readings here and highlight Clapton's fine touring band, particularly co-vocalist Yvonne Elliman, whose singing adds a mellifluousness to Clapton's blues vocal inflections. The market was a bit oversaturated with Clapton and Cream reissue products at the time, and this fine record got lost in the shuffle, but it remains an excellent document of the period.

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