Eric Clapton

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Eric Clapton

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Eric Clapton's 2004 installment in Universal's never-ending 20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection is an excellent distillation of his signature songs of the '70s. While it focuses on his solo recordings, it's not limited to them, throwing in two cuts from Derek and the Dominos -- "Layla," of course, plus "Bell Bottom Blues" -- which help complete the portrait of Clapton in the '70s. While there's a hit or two missing, they're not ones that will be missed and what is here is the cream of the crop of the first decade of Clapton's solo career. It's both thorough and enjoyable, rivaling 1982's Time Pieces: Best of Eric Clapton as the best summary of this part of his career. In fact, 20th Century Masters is essentially a revised Time Pieces, both running 11 tracks, nine of which are shared between the two records. Furthermore, the track sequence is identical with the exception of those two different songs -- and even then, those songs are in the same place in the running order, with "Bell Bottom Blues" taking "Willie & the Hand Jive"'s place and "Let It Rain" replacing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," two substitutions that strengthen the compilation, giving it the edge over the predecessor that it so strongly resembles.

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