Eric Clapton - Complete

2008-12-24 09:19
 
Complete
 
This compilation, more-or-less chronologically ordered, demonstrates the transition from a hungry, wildly imaginative young buck on Cream's "I Feel Free" in 1968, to a confident, rich old legend on "Ride The River" in 2006 efficiently, apposite titles and all.

It could be argued that, aside from that critically acclaimed Unplugged (1992) album from which a rearranged "Layla" and "Running on Faith" are pulled, true gems have been thin on the ground since the nineties. But that hardly seems enough to criticize Eric Clapton, once widely regarded as the greatest guitar-player in England.
So rather, just play along and look to the first disc for repeat plays. The first five tracks are the expected Cream staples, while one Blind Faith and two Derek and the Dominoes tracks make the list. (Strangely, no Yardbirds "For Your Love" on offer – so much for 'complete'.)

Even the solo efforts from the late sixties and seventies are what Slowhand really should be remembered for. "I Shot The Sheriff", "Wonderful Tonight" and others still somehow evoke plenty of 'old love' in their execution, not accounting for the nostalgia factor.

No doubt there's always going to be a market for repackaged blues legends. Clapton's had several greatest hits releases himself, so the label probably reckoned one more double-disc pressing wouldn't hurt. A pity that on the evidence of this collection there's still not a clear case to be made for why his later career needs to be referenced. Less, in this case, would definitely be more.

- Anton Marshall

When Elvis entered his Las Vegas period, he packaged his roadshow with massive arrangements, big choruses and a big showbiz feel. Much of Clapton's later work seem to aspire to this approach, which is a great shame. This legend's finest moments have consistently been in much more stripped-down setups.


What to read next: Kalahari

Sean 2008/11/01 8:58 AM
Critic Clapton didn't play on "For your Love" it was Jeff Beck!
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