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Eric Clapton - Crossroads 2

Review: 168
Date: 5 Mar 04

 


Rating: 3 Stars

Musicians:
Eric Clapton - Guitar and Vocals
George Terry - Guitar
Dick Sims - Keyboards
Carl Radle - Bass
Jamie Oldaker - Drums
Macy Levy - Backing Vocals
Yvonne Eliman - Backing Vocals

Tracks Listing:
Disc 1
Walkin' Down the Road
Have You Ever Loved a Woman
Willie And The Hand Jive/Get Ready
Can't Find My Way Home
Driftin' Blues/ Rambling On My Mind
Presence Of The Lord
Rambling On My Mind/Have You Ever Loved A Woman
Little Wing
The Sky Is Crying/Have You Ever Loved A Woman/Rambling On My Mind

Disc 2
Layla
Further On Up The Road
I Shot The Sheriff
Badge
Driftin' Blues
Eyesight To The Blind/Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?

Disc 3
Tell The Truth
Knockin' On Heavens Door
Stormy Monday
Lay Down Sally
The Core
We're All The Way
Cocaine
Goin' Down Slow/Rambling On My Mind
Mean Old Frisco

Disc 4
Loving You (Is Sweeter Than Ever)
Worried Life Blues
Tulsa Time
Early In The Morning
Wonderful Tonight
Kind Hearted Woman
Double Trouble
Crossroads
To Make Somebody Happy
Cryin'
Water On The Ground

 


‘Crossroads 2’ is not to be confused with ‘Crossroads’, the first of this series of Eric Clapton’s 4 C.D. box sets, which was a musically wonderfully 4 C.D. collection encompassing Eric Clapton’s entire career from early 1963 to the present day. The rather lamely titled 'Crossroads 2', however, concentrates on Eric Clapton's live work from 1974 to 78. (There are four very good studio out takes that have never been released before, which top and tail this set.)

This review comes in two parts. First let me deal with the music. This starts out with Eric Clapton in 1974, when he has already been a professional axe slinger with an American Blues fixation for over 10 years.

Starting out with ‘The Roosters’ with Tom McGuinness (later of McGuinness Flint, the Bluesbreakers, and Manfred Mann) next port of call was ‘Casey Jones and the Engineers’ before joining the fledgling rhythm and blues band 'The Yardbirds', who replaced 'The Rolling Stones' as the resident band at the Crawdaddy Club in London (anything for a time machine). After eighteen months, and the Yardbirds slowly leaning away from authentic blues towards more pop orientated music which was brought to the breaking point for Eric with his disgust of their latest single ‘For Your Love‘, Eric packed his bags and left. (Yet ‘For Your Love’ was a Top 10 Hit on both sides of the Atlantic. The Yardbirds simply employed a young lad named Jeff Beck and carried on.)

Eric Clapton then found a home in John Mayall’s ‘Bluesbreakers’ for a year. (Apart from a mad couple of months where he cleared off with a bunch of mates on a bus to the Greek Isles, the joyous folly of youth. I bet Mr. Mayall was none to pleased though, but was keen to have him back when he returned, ousting his replacement Peter Green for the guitar spot. The Bluesbreakers then recorded the seminal 'Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton’ album (often referred to as the Beano album as on the front cover shows our Eric reading the world famous kids comic). It was during this period that Eric Clapton picked up the nickname 'Slowhand', which has stuck with him ever since.

But ever the restless soul, Eric Clapton did not even last a year in the ‘Bluesbreakers’ before he joined forces with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce to form the first supergroup 'Cream’. Now I am not saying that they were successful, but Atlantic Records had to invent the Platinum Disc award to show off how many album sales 'Cream' had and all their concerts were sold out all across the world. But even this could only keep Eric Clapton's attention for two years when after a long Farewell Tour the three members of 'Cream’ went their own ways.

Another supergroup was formed with Steve Winwood (of ‘Traffic’ fame amongst others), but that didn't keep Eric occupied for a year before he was off again. After a stretch on the road with buddies Delaney and Bonnie (that's Delaney and Bonnie not Shenanigans and Bonnie!), Eric Clapton formed Derek and the Dominoes in May 1970. They managed one worldwide tour and the phenomenal double album ‘Layla and other assorted Love Songs'. The inspiration for this album was supermodel Patti Boyd, who Eric was passionately in love with even though she was married to his best friend George Harrison. Eric's guitar playing on ‘Layla’ was pushed to new heights by the presence of Duane Allman, who challenged him all the way. But when after less than a year the Dominoes imploded, Eric's personnel life was in tatters and he retreated to his country mansion, where he remained housebound with Patti Boyd, force of habit. What a waste of the next three years.

Fortunately for Eric and the world of music he had good friends (including long time producer Tom Dow and ‘The Who's Pete Townshend). They helped Eric back onto the road of sanity. The first result of which was the album ‘461 Ocean Boulevard‘. In the next four years Eric released five more albums under his own name and toured the world with three separate touring bands, both to worldwide critical acclaim and ever increasing sales.

What you get on ‘Crossroads 2’ is a selection of the best of these years running in chronological order over five hours of Eric at his absolute best. Too many highlights to name them all, but on Eric's second world tour he took Carlos Santana with him as support band. Every night Carlos and members of his band would jump up and jam with Eric and his band for an encore. This can be heard to devastating effect on the 24-minute version of 'Eyesight to the Blind/Why does Love Got To Be So Sad‘ medley on disc 2. Disc 2 also contains a blistering 10-minute version of ‘Cream's 'Badge', which Eric co-wrote with George Harrison. (Has the man no shame? Stole his wife and his song.)

Over the 4 C.D.'s and four years the road band has whittled down from a 7- to a 4-piece, with second guitarist George Terry, backing vocalists Yvonne Elliman (she of Jesus Christ Superstar fame), and Macy Levy loose their places. But this just adds to the variety of the music, and what is right and proper Eric Clapton’s guitar is always at the fore.

With the possible exception of the dreadfully slushy ‘Wonderful Tonight’, the music is 5 Star all the way.

As for the second part of the review. What on earth are Polygram trying to do regarding the price? Even with Amazon.com discounts the 4 C.D. package comes in at 54 US Dollars. OK, you get a 44-page color booklet and each C.D. is over an hour long, but some of the material was previously available as ‘E.C. was here’. All of the tracks from that album are on this collection, and everything else is from the archives. So no costs have been spent on studio time or re-recording anything. Surely this was a great chance to give something back to the constantly paying punter. Not only that, but a lot of people must of been put off by the high price tag, especially as all of the songs in one way or another have been available on previous releases. You also get several versions of the same song spread over the 4 discs. You get three versions of ‘Have You Ever Loved A Woman’ on Disc 1 alone. For this outrage I award the record company 1 Star, which balances out at three. Great music though.

Pawed by Mott The Dog
Re-chewed by Ella Crew

E-mail: review@mott-the-dog.com


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