Eric Clapton earned a reputation as a blues guitarist early in his career, and while he frequently returned to the blues -- usually recording at least one blues tune per album -- he never recorded a full-fledged blues album until 1994's From the Cradle. It became one of the most popular records of his career. Not long afterward, MCA assembled a collection of Jimi Hendrix's blues recordings, and that compilation also proved quite successful. Those two releases provided the blueprint for Blues, Polygram's double-disc collection of blues highlights from Clapton's RSO recordings of the '70s. On each of those albums, Clapton dabbled in the blues, and all of those moments, along with five previously unreleased tracks (both live and studio cuts), are featured here. Given that it's a compilation spanning ten years, it's not entirely surprising that Blues lacks cohesion, but the quality of the songs and performances is better than the majority of his RSO albums. As a matter of fact, nearly every performance on this set offers proof that Clapton could still dazzle as a guitarist during the '70s, even if his life was plagued with personal problems that ultimately affected his recording career. Blues may not appeal to listeners who just want hits, but even serious fans who have most of the tunes here may find this a revelatory listening experience.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1
feat: Duane Allman
Track Listing - Disc 2