Eric Clapton: Deluxe Edition
By David Chiu
Although renowned as a god when it comes to rock guitar, Eric Clapton is a man full of soul. Rather than rehashing the sounds of his previous bands the Yardbirds, Cream and Blind Faith, Clapton tackles a pop/R&B/country/roots rock approach on his 1970 self-titled solo debut, which emphasized more on his singing and songwriting than his axe playing. Featuring a superstar cast that includes Leon Russell, Delaney & Bonnie, Stephen Stills, and the future members of Derek and the Dominoes, Eric Clapton would set the blueprint for the rest of his musical career. It contains two of his popular numbers: the gospel shuffle of J.J. Cale’s “After Midnight” (Clapton would record a leaner, streamline rock version that appears on the 1988 Chronicles boxed set) and the inspiring “Let It Rain.” There are some bright pop tunes such as the ironically-titled “Blues Power” (whose sound resembles little of the blues), the chugging “Bottle of Red Wine,” and the lovely ballad “Easy Now.” The deluxe version contains the original mix by Tom Dowd that was released and the previously unreleased mix by Delaney Bramlett—one could hear some pronounced and subtle differences like on “After Midnight” with horns on the Bramlett version—along with some additional tracks including collaborations with Delaney & Bonnie and saxophonist King Curtis. If you have listened to Clapton’s 2005 pop-oriented effort Back Home, it follows in a somewhat similar fashion to his eponymous record.