Various Artists

Covering Clapton: From Cream and Beyond

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For blues purists, the idea of a blues-oriented label putting out a compilation of Eric Clapton covers might be suspect. But for those who have a more broad-minded view of the blues and are both blues lovers and rock lovers, it makes perfect sense. Clapton hasn't recorded blues-rock exclusively by any means, but he has certainly made some legendary contributions to blues-rock -- not only as a solo artist, but also, as a member of Cream, the Yardbirds, Derek & the Dominos, and the short-lived Blind Faith. And Clapton's extensive involvement with blues-rock is celebrated with the 2010 compilation Covering Clapton: From Cream and Beyond, which contains previously released recordings from the Blues Bureau and Shrapnel catalogs. This 56-minute CD doesn't get heavily into Clapton's more poppy solo hits; don't expect to find covers of "Tears in Heaven" or "Let It Rain" here. Again, Covering Clapton's main emphasis is on Clapton the blues-rocker, which is why you'll hear the Schenker Pattison Summit performing Derek & the Dominos' "Layla" and Leslie West performing some gems from Cream's repertoire, including "White Room," "Politician," Robert Johnson's "Crossroads," and the Albert King-associated "Born Under a Bad Sign." Pat Travers, meanwhile, is heard on "Sunshine of Your Love" and the Mississippi Sheiks' "Sitting on Top of the World," two other gems from Cream's repertoire. Some of the songs on Covering Clapton are songs that Clapton co-wrote, while others are not. But the important thing is that all of them are relevant to Clapton in some way. "Crossroads," for example, is a blues standard that Robert Johnson recorded as acoustic Mississippi Delta country blues back in the '30s, before Clapton was even born, but it's a standard that blues-rock enthusiasts associate with Cream. Admirers of Clapton's blues-rock output will find a lot to enjoy on Covering Clapton: From Cream and Beyond.

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