Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Album Review Eric Clapton Back Home

Eric Clapton - Back HomeSaturday, September 17, 2005

Artist: Eric Clapton
Title: Back Home
Rating: Very Good

Multiple Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Eric Clapton (Eric "Ricky" Patrick Clapp) has been beyond the reach of critics for decades. Although I've never considered myself much of a fan mysteriously I've accumulated a serious collection of his albums. Much like Dylan or Stevie Ray Vaughan, my admiration is based upon the respect I see others pay this talented artist. With a nickname like "god" (in reference to his guitar playing) he can't possibly live up to his reputation. Clapton's post-heroin preference to steer clear of long flashing guitar runs in favour of tasty tone and 'songs' misguides listener's expectations and makes for somewhat lessened concert experiences: I mean why does "Eric Clapton" need guitar slingers like Albert King or Doyle Bramhall Junior in "His" band??? Just like Buddy Guy, seeing Clapton live is an unfulfilling exercise in thinking, "Come on Eric, you take the bloody solo!"

Name a genre of music and there's a strong possibility that Clapton's dabbled in it. Reggae star Bob Marley owed much of international success of his career to two moments; one was opening for Bruce Springsteen at the Bottom Line Club and the second was the chart success of Eric Clapton's cover of Marley's, 'I Shot the Sheriff.' At the dawning of his career Clapton choose to leave the newly leaning pop stylings of the Yardbirds just as their hit, 'For Your Love' was beginning to dominate pop charts on both sides of the Atlantic. (The Yardbirds would later include Jimmy Page & Jeff Beck) Leaving the Yardbirds, (name for famed jazz sax player Charlie 'Yardbird' Parker) for John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Clapton stayed just long enough to record the famed 'Beano' album: so named for the English children's comic book is reading on the albums cover. (Also in the Bluesbreakers with Clapton was John McVie who would eventually hook-up with later period Bluesbreakers Peter Green & Mick Fleetwood to form Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac. In 1969 The Rolling Stones would pull Mick Taylor from the Bluesbreakers to replace Brian Jones). Clapton's career would then tumble through Cream, Blind Faith, Bonnie & Delaney, Derek & the Dominos (featuring American guitar sensation Duane Allman) and recording the guitar solo on, 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' for The Beatles White Album under the name L'Angelo Mysterioso. Clapton would also record under the name X-Sample for the poorly received techno-album, Retail Therapy.

Long before fame took his hand, in his book about the Rolling Stones former band roommate Fred Pheldge claimed that Eric Clapton would sit-in with the Stones as their singer, under the nickname 'Ginger,' when Mick Jagger was pulled away for perform with Alexis Korner: a claim disputed during an interview for PS Blues by former Rolling Stone & band historian Bill Wyman. From his earliest days Clapton's life has faced many hardships including struggles with heroin and alcoholism. Born the illegitimate son of a 16 year old mother, much like actor Jack Nicholson, Clapton was raised to believe that his Grandparents were his parents and that his mother was his sister. In 1990 Clapton would suffer the losses of good friends Colin Smythe, Nigel Brown and Stevie Ray Vaughan, in a helicopter crash after their concert in Apple Valley, Wisconsin. Month's later Clapton's son Conor would fall 49 floors from the balcony of his mother's apartment to his death. In 1992 Clapton's song about his son's death, 'Tears in Heaven, & the album, Unplugged, would capture six Grammy Awards. Eric Clapton has had a lifelong dalliance with the blues. While the 80's saw Clapton recording with an American county flavor, the new millennium, until the release of his newest album, Back Home, saw Clapton recording homage's to blues hero's Robert Johnson and BB King resulting in three albums I would recommend only to die-hard fans.

On his new album, Back Home, a smiling and relaxed pot-bellied Eric Clapton appears in the liner notes with his wife and three young daughters. If strife and torture help artists create memorable art then the scenes of domestic bliss are well placed. Much like the previous two Robert Johnson cover-albums, a full-length album with 5.1 surround sound and DVD are included in the package. Unlike many previous albums, this record is wonderful yet nothing more than pop music. Do not approach this record with any expectations for 'slowhand' as it's merely a lark through the park and yet comfortable like talking to an old friend. The opening 'So Tired' is catchy & uplifting. Anyone that has suffered through the sleepless joy of early child rearing will immediately 'get' the lyrics and the baby crying in the background. Clapton delves back into a loose reggae stance with the single, 'Revolution' and 'Say What You Will.' The band also dabbles with the Philadelphia Soul stylings of '80's Hall & Oats with the at-once radio friendly sound of, 'Love Don't Love Nobody.' As I listened to this song it reminds me of my wife's Lite radio station: listening to a song I remember hating but as the tune draws to a close I realize I know every word. 'Loves Comes to Everyone' with its Little Stevie Winwood keyboard solo and 'Piece of My Heart' are prime radio songs that will define this fall's radio playlists. On the track 'One Day' we hear the band finally lean into the storm with an edgy burn yet a guitar solo that is sufficient and yet hardly magnificent. 'Run Home to Me' is a beautiful lullaby that brought tears to this parent's eyes.

While it's only September, Home Again, is the perfect Christmas gift for that aging Baby Boomer in your life and who knows that person may be you. It's a fine album with brief smatterings of guitar solos. Like Ice Cream, I would recommend playing infrequently as too much of a good thing will quickly lose it's appeal. 'Slowhand' is not covering any new ground with this power-pop release but then he doesn't have to because he is after all 'god.' This is an album you will have a hard time not playing and that most music fans will enjoy for years to come.

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