Any Other Live Clapton Disc Is Better Than This
G.C. | Potomac, MD USA | 10/29/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Flash back to mid-1970's, where record companies began releasing live albums regardless of the quality, a problem that would get worse after the unforeseen success of 'Frampton Comes Alive'. At this time Clapton had covered a reggae song, Bob Marley's "I Shot The Sheriff". Similarly, he had recorded what can best be described as laid-back versions of songs such as Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" and the traditional "Swing Low Sweet Chariot". So the powers that be decide that since he is (some would argue "was") first and foremost a blues guitarist, Clapton needed to release a live recording to burnish his blues credentials. So far, so good. Unfortunately the concert that was picked for this release, a 1974 summer stop in Long Beach, California, was very weak. In his autobiography, Clapton himself said that he would have preferred to have played small venues on this tour, which as others have noted was his first tour after 2-3 years of a serious drug addiction, but his management had committed him to an arena tour instead. Clapton's singing voice is weak, in fact I don't understand why others have lauded the inclusion of two Blind Faith songs ("Can't Find My Way Home" and "Presence Of The Lord") on this disc since they are basically sung by Yvonne Elliman. Now don't get me wrong Elliman is a good singer with a fine voice but we're paying for Eric Clapton here, right? Clapton is better on the slow blues numbers such "Driftin' Blues" and "Ramblin' On My Mind". "Further On Up The Road" is also a good song for Clapton's vocal style, but there are three other versions available from 1976-77 (one on the 'Crossroads' box set, another on 'Crossroads 2', and the third on the 2-CD compilation 'Blues') that are all superior to the version on 'E.C. Was Here'. In fact Clapton is in much better form in the late 1974 London leg of this tour and in 1975 -- in hindsight these are the shows that should have originally been released in '75 instead of this disc. If you want to hear Clapton live, 'Just One Night', '24 Nights' or even the live Derek and the Dominoes disc are better choices. There is also a complete concert from December, 1974 on the Deluxe Edition of '461 Ocean Boulevard'. These are all much better alternatives."
Very Under Rated with Sadness Attached
Michael Sherrer | Sherman Oaks, CA United States | 02/20/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, back in the day-when this record came out- you were trying to keep your records dust free and watching the tracking weight of the turntable tone arm. And looking for scratches!
That was the era. Cream, Hendrix, Joplin, Jim Morrison and the Doors, The Beatles (and soon Elvis and Lennon in tragedy) were all gone!
The '70's was a downright bummer trip and a prozac ride, before prozac was invented. The Eagles, came along with Linda Ronstadt and helped us get thru the decade, but with the white powder flooding the country and AIDS around the corner-the landscape was... shaky.
And so is this album. Edit splices improved the product as usual. Liner notes would have been nice. Eric was then and is today, a legend in his own mind. Incredibly popular and likeable, he can get away with the most horrific behavior by simply turning into his guitar solos, his prayers and the power of his own consciousness. He has a survival guide. Somewhere.
But these are good shows. Not as good as Cream's "Wheels of Fire LP" circa 1967-but our guitar god here is trying his best, re-inventing himself. His life mission it seems is to leave behind the 'success scars of Cream and Blind Faith' and the type casting that comes with it.
He was still hung up on Layla aka Patty Harrison. And in "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" he yells out: "Did I mention any names?" (after Harrison inspired lyric-- "your very best friend..")
It is ironic that after George Harrision's death in 2001, Eric would produce and lead the tribute concert: "A Song For George" with all the principal characters, except for Layla -Patty Harrison-Clapton would would not attend the show, and dealt with her own feelings of ending her marriage with George for Eric.
Well under rated and forgotton is melodic and minimalist bassist Carl Radle who would soon die of a kidney infection from his own heroin use-at the age of 38. The sound was getting sloppy with all the drugs and alcohol, so EC fired everyone... by telegram. Carl was heart broken, strung out and Eric aware of his condition, turned a cold business decision into the kill zone.
Eric was a wildman. Drinking heavily-smoking 3 packs a day. Finally bedding fantasy "Layla" aka Patty Harrison-he goes on tour and immediately has an affair with back-up vocalist Yvonne Elliman. Having learned to play from the heart, he is doing exactly that-but the self abuse is crippling and it will be decades before he actually settles down and finds wisdom. "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom," writes poet William Blake and for Eric he will count the costs later. Holy Mother. He's wasted and he can't find his way home. No rest for the Bluesman. Not yet."