Clapton clearly made a few phone calls to a couple of old mates before he began making this album. Famous names apart from him who feature include golden-age rock keyboardist Billy Preston, noted session percussionist Pino Palladino and even Traffic man and solo hitmaker, Steve Winwood.
Simon Climie's name on the production credits also raises an eyebrow. Well-respected for his writing and production work with seminal eighties band Scritti Politti and later as a recording artist with Rob Fisher (together, they formed Climie Fisher), it seems a stretch for the cloudy-voiced one to hook up with old Slowhand.
You'll pick up some of Climie's influences on the tracks he co-writes, as these tracks work better as singable pop ditties than many of Clapton's previous solo effortsdid. Much of the rest of the album is borrowed from other writers, too - covers of Stevie Wonder and George Harrison songs feature.
You'll have to wait 'til track seven to hear anything resembling old-style blues, though. "Lost and Found", "Piece of My Heart", and the album highlight "One Day" come closest to sounding what classic Clapton. As for the rest, it's not terribly bad. It's pretty paint-by-numbers, as big sprawling bands of virtuoso musos go. The calibre of musicianship is what drives the production. It comes off as a session jam of old friends and mentors, and is big in the rhythm, chorus and brass sections.Back Home work for fans of ensemble band setups, but not necessarily for those who like the Clapton for his massively successful Unplugged album.If you're on a limited budget, rather pick up Marc Cohn's underrated Burning the Daze or Chris Rea's Heartbeats - Greatest Hits, recently reviewed here, for something new in the blues rock vein.- Anton Marshall
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