Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton [Deluxe Edition]

(CD - Polydor #9839607)

Review by

Eric Clapton's eponymous solo debut was recorded after he completed a tour with Delaney & Bonnie. Clapton used the core of the duo's backing band and co-wrote the majority of the songs with Delaney Bramlett -- accordingly, Eric Clapton sounds more laid-back and straightforward than any of the guitarist's previous recordings. There are still elements of blues and rock & roll, but they're hidden beneath layers of gospel, R&B, country, and pop flourishes. And the pop element of the record is the strongest of the album's many elements -- "Blues Power" isn't a blues song and only "Let It Rain," the album's closer, features extended solos. Throughout the album, Clapton turns out concise solos that de-emphasize his status as guitar god, even when they display astonishing musicality and technique. That is both a good and a bad thing -- it's encouraging to hear him grow and become a more fully rounded musician, but too often the album needs the spark that some long guitar solos would have given it. In short, it needs a little more of Clapton's personality. [In 2006, Universal released a Deluxe Edition of Eric Clapton, which contained Delaney Bramlett's previously unreleased original mix of the album on a second disc; containing one less song, it's looser than the Tom Dowd mix, but not quite as commercial, and not necessarily better -- but the subtle differences are worth hearing for die-hard fans. There are also previously unreleased versions of "Don't Know Why" and "I've Told You for the Last Time" here, an early version of "Let It Rain" called "She Rides," a King Curtis tune called "Teasin'" that features Clapton and Delaney Bramlett in support, plus two songs from Delaney & Bonnie that feature Clapton on guitar: "Comin' Home" and "Groupie (Superstar)."]

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