By Carol Anne Szel
With his 19th solo album and first in five years, Eric Clapton’s new CD “Clapton” is a brilliantly laid back and emotionally powerful musical release that will lay down the gauntlet to other artists of today to top it.
This rock-blues cd really highlights the oft-forgotten lyrical prowess that Clapton possesses, as he is joined by musical notaries like Allen Toussaint, Sheryl Crow, Wynton Marsalis and members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and J.J. Cale.
Clapton’s guitar playing does not disappoint; in fact, it is a brilliant display of his unparalleled excellence.
Standout songs for me include the seductively blues-laden, harmonica-playing tune "Judgment Day,” and "My Very Good Friend the Milkman,” penned by Fats Waller, which shows the lighter side of Clapton with this bouncy blues tune reminiscent of something played early in the night at a local saloon out in a small Western town in the late 1800s.
Although the CD does get a little bit of a low and lazy feel when it hits the tune “Hard Time Blues,” this momentary blip is far outshined by Clapton’s rendition of Irving Berlin's "How Deep Is the Ocean," into which he puts his classic slow-hand guitar picking and emotionally distressed and heartfelt vocals in this one. (Picture a closing-time tune played in that same Western saloon, when heartache sets in.)
“Clapton” is a must-have for any fan of this musical icon, and a pronounced whole-album experience that is not to be missed. You will play this timeless release over and over again, as I found myself doing.
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