Five Favorite Eric Clapton Songs: All Your Love (John Mayall’s Blues Breakers) Crossroads (Wheels of Fire) Tales of Brave Ulysses (Disraeli Gears) Layla (Derek and the Dominos) Let it Grow (461 Ocean Blvd)
Eric Clapton Albums Ranked on a Scale of 1-5 stars.
Here are Eric Clapton’s albums reviewed in chronological order (by release date).
YARDBIRDS HITS (1965)
Clapton certainly made the right move in fleeing this band-but for the wrong reasons. EC was concerned that the band was moving away from its blues focus-This was acutally a good thing as their blues covers were even more unconvincing than those of their U.K. cover band counterparts (Them, Rolling Stones and The Animals) The Yardbirds’ best work, was not blues based (Non blues “For Your Love” was the Yardbirds best hit and the final reason Clapton left!) Roger the Engineer, a Yardbirds album released after Eric Clapton left, featuring Jeff Beck and consisting of all original tunes is a classic mid sixties album. The Yardbirds are famous for providing the launching grounds for Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.
BEST-Train Keep a Rollin 2ND BEST- For Your Love WORST-Too many to list STARS- 2
JOHN MAYALL’S BLUES BREAKERS
John Mayall’s Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (Beano) (1966)
A real Anglo blues band that could rival the Paul Butterfield Blues band. The first indication that Clapton exceled when he was the sideman or guitar virtuouso for a good band. The album rips though some blues covers. The recording and selection of tunes is good. Clapton left this band to pursue a blues./rock focus, leaving Mayall without a guitarist-Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac)and Mick Taylor (the Rolling Stones) later filled in! That’s Eric Clapton reading the “Beano” comics on the cover.
BEST-All Your Love 2ND BEST-Hideaway WORST- STARS-4
FRESH CREAM (1966)
Clapton’s real and lasting contribution to rock -the blues/rock power trio. This stuff is pre-Jimi Hendrix who later came by to jam with them. Not bad. But just a precursor to their best – Disraeili Gears. Ginger Baker played drums and Jack Bruce the bassist handled most of the vocals.
BEST-I Feel Free 2ND BEST- Lawdy Mama WORST-Wrapping Paper STARS-3
DISRAELI GEARS (1967)
For Cream everything is in balance. Powerful songs with no real self indulgence solos from any of the musicians, although there are some weak songs. Disraeli Gears established the power trio genre and set a standard which Hendrix would later demolish. “Sunshine of Your Love” highlights the concept of the power trio as well as any song in Clapton’s oevure or any other.
BEST-Sunshine of Your love 2ND BEST- Brave Ulysses WORST- STARS- 4
WHEELS OF FIRE (1968)
Some good and plenty of bad. Does “Toad” really need to be included or anything more than 10 minutes of “Spoonful”? This album shows Cream already past their usefulness and moving towards pointless excess. Wheel of Fire offered a novel concept at the time- a live and studio album in one.
“Crossroads” is EC’s finest cover ever breathing better life into Robert Johnson’s acoustic offering-later nearly equaled by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s three guitar version. “Born Under a Bad Sign” is a hollow blues/rock cover in the same empty spirit of the Yardbirds.
A bit of a rip off clocking in at just 30 minutes. Contains one of EC’s finest songs- “Badge” with George Harrison-another example of Clapton’s better work falling outside the blues and certainly reggae. Better to end this way with less focus instead of a further descent into mindless mediocre jamming.
BEST-Badge 2ND BEST- Politician WORST-Doing that Scrapyard Thing STARS-4
Live Cream Not reviewed BEST- 2ND BEST- WORST- STARS-
Live Cream Vol 2 Listenable nothing else
BEST-White Room 2ND BEST- Sunshine of Your Love WORST- STARS-3
Blind Faith (1969)
Far better than given credit. Steve Winwood’s folksy influence and Clapton’s “Presence of the Lord” make this album an interesting timepiece. There is a new deluxe version of Blind Faith that contains some live and alternative takes and longer jams. This is the sign of a good album- which there one’s interest can be held by listening to alternative versions. One can’t imagine wanting an alternative version of say, Clapton’s Pilgrim album, with different drum programming.
BEST-Can’t Find My Way Home 2ND BEST- Had To Cry Today WORST- STARS-4
DELANEY AND BONNIE
On Tour With Delaney and Bonnie (1970)
BEST-I Don’t Want to Discuss It 2ND BEST- Comin’ Home WORST- STARS-
DEREK AND THE DOMINOS (1971)
Layla and other Assorted Love Songs/Live at the Filmore/20th Anniversary Box set
“Have You Ever Loved a Woman?” appears a few times on these CDs. HYELAW has been a Clapton favorite since his days with John Mayall and one that continued to be a staple offering for the remainder of his career.
This album contains some of EC’s finest work as he moves slighlty back towards the blues but not far enough to be considered an imitator. The pairing with Duane Allman works and produced the classic “Layla” with Allman’s trademark opening riff introducing EC’s heartfelt pining for George Harrison’s wife. “Bell Bottom Blues” is a fine companion piece to “Layla”. “Key to the Highway” is a good blues cover. “Little Wing” is a fair cover of Hendrix’s version. Not ground breaking but still an evolution from EC as god/slowhand with the Yardbirds, to blues sideman in Mayall’s bluesbreakers, to Cream leader, to supergroup member of BlindFaith. Clapton’s ego destroying mentality and heroin addiction and blues wannabe leanings make this and 461 Ocean Boulevard the final realization of Clapton’s limited musical vision. Eric, who was going through some ego destroying issues at the time was the Derek in the Dominos.
BEST-Layla 2ND BEST- WORST- STARS-4
ERIC CLAPTON SOLO
ERIC CLAPTON (1970)
Not Yet Reviewed
BEST- 2ND BEST- WORST- STARS-
461 Ocean Blvd (1974)
The Comeback album-EC’s best solo album (using the Derek and the Dominos band minus Duane Allman who died tragically in a motorcycle accident in 1971) and barely a blues tune in sight. 461 also marked the beginning of Ec’s fascination with reggae, a musical genre that he had far less success with than the blues. U.K.musicians have been able to copy the blues and make significant contributions to the form. It’s a different matter, however, with reggae as one only has to witness the sorry attempts at reggae by the Stones (“Send it to Me”), Led Zeppelin (“D’yer Maker”) the Beatles (“Ob-La-Di”) and UB40 (“Red Red Wine”).
BEST-Let It Grow 2ND BEST- I Shot the Sheriff WORST- STARS-4
462 Ocean Blvd. This album reflects more of Eric trying to explore his song writing talents. Less guitar playing, less interest for the listener.
BEST-Wonderful Tonight 2ND BEST- The Core WORST-Lay Down Sally STARS-3
Just One Night/Timepieces Live in the 70’s
EC was better live in the 70’s than in the studio-EC was never a studio master and always performs best as the guitarist for a good band. These two cds show Clapton in good form running through some tight jams including a few versions of “Have you Ever Loved a Woman”.
BEST-Blues Power 2ND BEST- Double Trouble WORST-Lay Down Sally STARS-3
Journey Man (1989)
Here again EC does fairly well when he teams up with Robert Cray and George Harrison.
BEST-Bad Love 2ND BEST- Before You Accuse Me WORST-Take your pick STARS-3
24 Nights (1991)
EC’s annual Albert hall concerts captured on CD. “Edge of Darkness” is a rare innovation for Clapton-probably Chuck Leavell’s (Clapton’s Keyboard player) influence. Some decent Cream covers and some miserable female wailing on some tunes-I saw the shows with the 9 piece band which along with the blues band provides the best tracks from the fairly good set. For some reason Clapton always liked the Albert Hall (I don’t know why-the acoustics are not very good –although they are better than Wembley Stadium or Earls Court) and his enthusiasm comes through.
BEST-Edge of Darkness 2ND BEST- White Room WORST- STARS-3
A fine Clapton Cd which highlights his acoustic prowess and love of music. Just EC and a guitar and he is a master. Put EC in a great band and he is near peerless. Give EC control to write, produce and select a band and he’ll fall flat.
BEST-Old Love (which cops the discarded Layla riff for this version!!) 2ND BEST- Tears in Heaven WORST- STARS-4
From the Cradle (1994)
Some fine blues playing and plenty of awful vocals. A mediocre back up band illustrates that Clapton is no bandleader and incapable as a solo artists of pulling all the pieces together. He is not a terrific song writer, although that matters little on this CD, and a fair vocalist at best. This CD is not the blues classic it is hailed to be. The Second coming of the Yardbirds anyone?
BEST-Reconsider Baby 2ND BEST- How Long blues WORST-Five Long Years STARS-2
What’s the point? EC demonstrates his lack of musical vision and illustrates his laziness employing a drum programmer for all the cuts on this sorry affair. Where is his drum programmed version of “Have You Ever Loved a Woman?”
BEST-River of Tears 2ND BEST- My Fathers Eyes WORST-Too many to list STARS-2
A good selection of Clapton’s blues interpretations –mostly from the 70’s. Contains two versions of “Have You Ever Loved a Woman?”
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