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3.7 out of 5 stars
August
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is a solid overall album, but tends to get a bad rap because of the time period that it comes from. In reading the other reviews, I have noticed a lot of anti-Phil-Collins invective thrown at this record, but keep in mind that in 1986, Phil was at the top of his game, and was in demand as a producer and musician. Clapton, whose career has taken many twists and turns over the years, was in the midst of his "rock star" period with large-scale productions like "Behind the Sun", "Journeyman" and this one. Viewed in this light, one cannot fault his choice of Collins as producer, as he had his finger on the cultural pulse at the time.
The core band (Clapton, Collins, plus studio heavies Greg Phillinganes and Nathan East) is packed with talent, and the production is certainly worthy of them (The one lone exception is "It's in the Way that You Use It", which was already part of "The Color of Money" soundtrack and merely added to this album). Granted, Clapton's guitar work is not as prominent as in his other works, but it is clear that he put more of himself into the vocals than usual, especially on "Hung Up on Your Love", "Miss You", and "Holy Mother".
This work may be more slick and polished than most Clapton afecionados may prefer, but that does not disqualify from being a good album. I suspect that most of the criticism of this album stems more from anti-80s attitudes in general.
If you weren't around in 1986 when this album was released, you may not appreciate "August", but those of us that were do.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 9, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I have all of Eric Clapton's albums, including stuff from his Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek & the Dominoes days, and I have to say "August," "Behind the Sun," and "Journeyman" are the three albums of his I tend to come back to most. "August" is second only to "Journeyman" as the most enjoyable of the three.

I've seen many complaints about Phil Collins's bad influence (pun intended) on the album, but it really doesn't phase me, as I enjoyed "Behind the Sun." The album was released in '86, but the only song that sounds dated to me is the duo with Tina Turner,"Tearing Us Apart." But songs like "It's in the Way that You Use it," "Run," "Holy Mother," and "Miss You," stand out as some of my favorites.

If I recall, "Behind the Sun" (the album before "August") was hailed as somewhat of a comeback album, giving Clapton more of a commercial appeal, and putting him back in the public eye. "August" just extended the winning streak with the hit theme song from "The Color of Money" -- "It's in the Way That You Use it" -- as well as his reworking of "After Midnight" for a beer commercial (was that for Miller Lite?). And he looked every inch the suave guitar god -- styled hair, trimmed beard, and a good fashion sense. Best of all, he seemed to be having fun on stage again, helping to bring this material, as well as his older stuff, to life.

So while "August" isn't "Slowhand" or "461 Ocean Boulevard," it's a nice Clapton 80's time capsule, showing an artist that hit his stride after reinventing himself for a new decade of success.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2002
Format: Audio CD
AUGUST isn't the typical Clapton CD--and by typical I mean it doesn't SOUND like a Clapton CD. It sounds like a Phil Collins' CD, which isn't surprising, seeing as how Collins co-produced this album. There're no blues riffs or grinding guitars on AUGUST and the shock might throw you, but just listen to it, give it a chance, and the beauty of the songs will become clear to you. Why only one song, "The Way That You Use It", was invited to be on Clapton's Best Of CD, CHRONICLES, bothers me. Several of AUGUST's tunes should've been included. "Holy Mother" and "Behind the Mask" are just a couple of my favorites. But (sigh) I don't make music, I just listen to it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This CD was an extraordinary musical achievement. If you have a sense for pop music above the average (and superbly produced, too), and are a man with a heart that can yearn sweetly or painfully for a new love or an old love lost, this music is yours.

Load your pining and pain on this streamliner of a CD and you will have salve for your souls. AUGUST is pure medicine for that one particular special situation previously mentioned. I don't see people liking it so much for general consumption as for a needed tonic when love and loss are in the current experience of the listener. This music is no downer -- it moves like a station-bound train.

I read the critical reviews here a few weeks ago, and on first impression they are by well-meaning hyper-purists within the blues-ish and free form guitar camp. Lets not pick nits. We all love Eric Clapton -- but you are wrong about this album. It is a tight and powerful package of feeling-driven songs of power, love and passion.

With nine of the twelve tracks here being pure rubies, this CD far surpasses standard application of my "50 percent" test -- *IF* half of the tracks on a given music release are good, it passes.

I will add that much of the terrific 1980's music (superb as it was), sounds to the 21st century ear as being a tad heavy on the drums. AUGUST uses drums most truly, but they do not mar the production by being overly hard or too upfront. They hit the spot sweet spot but are not overdone.

I bought this 1986 album on vinyl in 1987 and I couldn't tell people enough about it at that time. I've been listening to this CD again -- and repeatedly -- this month. Sonic medicine for the heart...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I love this CD. It's from the `80s, but it doesn't sound "dated" to me. It's just good sounding music. It features Eric Clapton on vocals and tasty guitar, Nathan East with his funky bass guitar lines, Phil Collins with his diverse and heavy drum beats, and the creative keyboard melodies of Greg Phillinganes. Highlights for me are "Run", "Tearing Us Apart" (A duet with Tina Turner), "Hung Up On Your Love", "Miss You", "Behind The Mask", and "Grand Illusion".
I actually bought this CD after watching the "Eric Clapton & Friends Live 1986" DVD, which I also recommend. It features several of the songs on this CD.
For optimal listening pleasure, I recommend the re-mastered version of this CD. Big sound, good songs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Lot's of negative reviews of this album, and while I hear the point, I have to disagree. Then again, I'm working with a bit more data: I saw the tour that supported this album, and saw then and there what August and Behind the Sun did for EC.

Let me preface by saying I've been a musician for 30 some odd years, and and EC fan for about that long. I know many of his solos note-for-note. While I've appreciated the various incarnations of his lineups and sounds, August actually stands out as a high point. The reasons are manifold: funkier sidemen with better chops (East and Phillenganes), an interesting production style that is a mix of slick and edgy. This is not the same old laid back or rockin' blues, nor is it the country-tinged mid-late 70's vibe.

But back to the live show: the '87 tour was just 4 guys. No backing vocalists. No rhythm guitarists. No nothing...just guitar, bass, keys, drums. Everyone sang backing vocals. Everyone played their butts off. All the classics (White Room, Crossroads, Badge, etc), along with Miss You, Holy Mother, and Run from the August album. This stripped down lineup put EC in a different place musically, and made it so he could do what he did in the 90's. Without August, there is no Journeyman.

At any rate, I think Miss You, Run, Tearin' Us Apart, Hung Up on Your Love, etc are as good as many other Clapton tracks (especially the first two).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Look this if you like clapton this is the most UNDERRATED album he did. Why? Because people think he sold out and went with keyboards and synths....ignore them the guitar work in this album will drop your jaw. MISS YOU is one of his best if you ever saw him play this live OHHH MANN!!! Then on the other hand you have HOLY MOTHER which would be the saddest song if he didn't kick your butt with the lead....You know it may not be a blues album but the guitar work is still AMAZING....you have to hear this album if you like EC!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2007
Format: Audio CD
1986 - Phil Collins is back behind the controls & is now playing all of the drums (except on in the the way that you use it - steve ferrone). I'm not sure why he didn't play all the drums on Behind the Sun... Anyway this album consisted of just Clapton (guitar), Collins (drums/production), phillinganes (keys/vocals), & east (bass/vocals). Tina Turner also makes a vocal appearance on tearing us apart. this album is much more produced than behind the sun with more keyboard & synth bass lines shooting at more R&B as BTS aimed for a more bluesy/rocky sound. That's okay I guess... Collins definitely had a feel for R&B in his solo stuff & it showed in his outside production as well & clapton agreed. Clapton's vocals are strong & smoky as in BTS & he sounds healthy & happy. His guitaring is more distorted with plenty of good solo work retaining his characteristic claptonisitic sound. East & phillinganes bring a more synth-bass sound typical in the mid 80s & loved by collins (listen to no jacket required). Collins drumming is all live leaving the drum machine alone except for backing rhythm. His complex syncopation is way above par per usual as he's using the typical high tom fills & lots of high-hat. Good tunes are grand illusion, hold on, walk away, & hung up on your love, & holy mother. holy mother was cowritten by clapton's/collins's good friend stephen bishop who couldn't find much commerical success in the mid 80s. The album is good but just didn't give me the chills that behind the sun did. it was overproduced. I usually like phil production but this one was too R&B & not enough rock. but then it was 1986. I thought there was too much going on including too much programming & sequencing. I prefer more live instrumentation. Overall a good album but not as good as BTS. These guys toured in 1986-87 between collins's breaks on his genesis tour(invisible touch tour). Those live shows were great & the recreations of these august tunes were better as they were more stripped down. There are some good DVDs out there including live in birmingham '86 & live at monteaux '86 - both great shows. August would prove to be the end of the Collins/Clapton production era but they would play together on clapton's 1989 journeyman album (bad love - collins on drums) & collins's 1989 but seriously album (wish it would rain down - clapton on guitar). I my opinion their relationship in the mid 80s helped to keep an industry of inmature music respectable by creating mature/complex/articulate music to marvel over.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2002
Format: Audio CD
"August" may be one of Clapton's least popular recordings. At times the mid-'80s production is a bit too slick. And it is pop. But "Walk Away," "Hold On," and "Holy Mother" are a few of the most beautiful pop songs E.C. has ever recorded. Give this one a chance - you just might like it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
In 1986 this album represented the second in a series of of three records that represent a comeback album for Eric Clapton. He'd really began to modernize to the new decade with his previous album Behind the Sun but,all the same that albums sound was based essentially in his classic blues rock sound of the 70's. On this album the same brew is boiling: Greg Phillinganes,Phil Collins and Nathan East are still on board but the sound is based in something very different. A decade before this Boz Scaggs had actually done somewhat of the same thing with his Silk Degrees;the idea was to do a contemporary R&B/soul album that wasn't based in an old timey sound. And that to a degree is what Clapton was going for here. The blues element of Claptons sound is downplayed to a huge degree here as songs such as the Lamont Dozier penned "Run" and "Hung Up On Your Love" take presidents. These songs are heavy on a certain type of rhythmic electro funk kind of sound with some somewhat avante garde synthesizer sounds. This may in a word be why this album doesn't rate well with a lot of Clapton fans-it still has his strong musical crunch to it but much as with the similarly underrated A Cappella by Todd Rundgren this is not a noisy guitar based record and is by and large an 80's R&B/funk oriented one that,by virtue of the artist was filed under rock. That crunch is present to a somewhat higher degree on "Bad Influence",co-written by Robert Cray and "Hold On" featuring Tina Turner. All that means is they have a retro rhythm & blues grit with a modern sensability. Clapton,a musician who by his own admittance didn't spend a lot of time with studio people was actually learning a lot about that retro/modern style of R&B on this album,probably because of the presence of Tom Dowd. "Take A Chance" and "Miss You" actually have a strong horn funk sensability but one of the most vital songs here is the Michael Jackson.Ryuichi Sakamoto penned "Behind The Mask". Greg Phillingages first recorded is much more of a polished,clean MJ style on his 1985 sophmore solo album Pulse (also really worth hunting for) and although Claptons take on it isn't that much of a different arrangement again there's a bit more of a grittiness to it. So what we have here in the end is a very mid 80's style production of rock n soul with both styles in about equal measure. Certain Clapton finds won't find this much to their liking;that is a face. But those that give it a chance for what it is are in for a very rewarding musical experience.
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