Eric Clapton

Sessions for Robert J.

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It appears that Eric Clapton had more Robert Johnson in his blood than he thought -- or perhaps it was planned this way. This DVD/CD set (and really, it's not the other way around despite the packaging), showcases Clapton mining the Robert Johnson vein ever more deeply in no less than four different settings. The DVD features 19 acoustic and electric performances recorded in rehearsal spaces in Dallas and in England, as well as in the 508 Park Ave. in Dallas, a studio Johnson himself recorded in, in 1937. There is one more segment, a recorded solo acoustic in a hotel room in California. The band that joins Clapton in the rehearsal studios is comprised of guitar master Doyle Bramhall, organist Billy Preston, Steve Gadd on drums, pianist Chris Stainton and Nathan East on bass. The electric performances, particularly "Milkcow's Calf 's Blues," "Stop Breakin' Down Blues," and especially "I Wish I Had Possession Over Judgment Day," have some real life and stomp in them. Of the acoustic tracks, "Terraplane Blues" works best. The DVD also contains a selection of behind-the-scenes footage that will be of interest only to those fans who need to see everything. The CD contains 11 cuts culled from the DVD and the sequencing is in some ways preferable.

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