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101 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barenaked blues.
The debate whether, when learning to play the guitar, you should begin with an acoustic or an electric instrument, is probably as old as the history of the electric guitar itself; regardless which event you associate most strongly with its invention, and which of the enterprising souls who began experimenting with the amplification of the six-string sound way back in the...
Published on March 28, 2003 by Themis-Athena

versus
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 2013 DVD: missed opportunity
This is quite baffling. The performance was remastered, and it's not much better than it was. In fact some things were moved to the centre speaker and were better where they were in the original 5.1 mix. Sound is now available in DTS -- improvement, no doubt, but why no higher quality available?

And then there's the rehearsal. Why on earth wouldn't they include...
Published 14 months ago by Adam Shaw


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101 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barenaked blues., March 28, 2003
By 
Themis-Athena (from somewhere between California and Germany) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Eric Clapton Unplugged (Audio CD)
The debate whether, when learning to play the guitar, you should begin with an acoustic or an electric instrument, is probably as old as the history of the electric guitar itself; regardless which event you associate most strongly with its invention, and which of the enterprising souls who began experimenting with the amplification of the six-string sound way back in the 1930s you most credit therewith. Many find the sound of an electric guitar more impressive than that of an acoustic; and I'll freely admit that few pieces of music make my inner membranes resonate as instinctively as those featuring a really well-played e-guitar solo. Purists, however, argue passionately in favor of the acoustic guitar, and maintain that you're simply not going to learn to play "cleanly" if you don't start out that way. And there is definitely something to be said for that, because it is much easier to conceal a sloppily-played chord behind an electric guitar's amplified volume or a clever-sounding solo (or behind both) than in the unadulterated sound of an acoustic guitar. The discussion about the early 1990s' trend towards "unplugged" recordings centers around similar arguments. Some pieces of music are of course simply not meant to ever be played on an acoustic guitar. Others, however, live from their amplified soundeffects more than from their intrinsic musical values, and they simply fizzle when reduced to their core and performed acoustically.

And then there is that rare category of pieces which sound equally fantastic both ways, and that rare category of players who manage to dazzle you regardless what type of instrument they're playing. Eric Clapton is such a musician, and some of the songs on the playlist of his "Unplugged" album are such pieces of music. Most notable among those, of course, is "Layla," Clapton's intensely personal dedication to one-time wife Patty Boyd; written in 1970 and at a time when he saw no chance of ever winning her for himself. From the memorable opening riff of the song's original recording to its guitar solos, screaming with despair, it is extremely hard to imagine how this song could ever work in an acoustic version. Yet on a whim and at the last minute, Clapton decided to include it in the "Unplugged" playlist. And transposed by a full octave, reduced to a languid and almost upbeat, somewhat jazzy blues rhythm, it works out wonderfully; and Layla/Patty finds herself miraculously transformed from an object of desire to one of reflection instead. In fact, that track alone, which won the 1992 Grammy as Best Rock Song, turned out to be responsible for a good share of the enormous popularity of this album which (together with 1989's "Journeyman") reestablished Clapton as an artist to reckon with, after his career had threatened to slump over the course of much of the previous decade. And similarly responsible for the success of "Unplugged" was the inclusion of another and more recent piece performed from the bottom of Clapton's soul, the triple Grammy winning "Tears in Heaven;" dedicated to his son Conor who had tragically died after falling from the open window of a 53rd floor apartment in New York City the preceding year. (The studio version of the song is contained on the soundtrack of the movie "Rush," likewise released in 1992.)

But "Unplugged" is to large extents a classic blues album, from the twelve-bar rhythm of Bo Diddley's "Before You Accuse Me" (featuring only Eric Clapton himself and one of the most modest and supremely talented living guitarists, Clapton's trusted friend and touring partner Andy Fairweather Low) to Jimmy Cox's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" (the second cut besides "Layla" from the famous album recorded under the name Derek and the Dominos), Delta Blues king Robert Johnson's "Walkin' Blues" and "Malted Milk," Jesse Fuller's upbeat "San Francisco Bay Blues," and the traditionals "Alberta" and "Rollin' and Tumblin'" (the latter, here attributed to the great Chess blues man M[cKinley] Morganfield a/k/a Muddy Waters, who made it famous). Three more of Eric Clapton's own compositions stand out among the songs which round up the album's playlist: the introductory lighthearted "Signe," which reflects his love of Brazilian music, the melancholic "Lonely Stranger" and finally "Old Love," a cut from 1989's "Journeyman."

Few white artists understand as well as Eric Clapton that the blues thrives, first and foremost, on a live atmosphere - preferably in a smaller setting like the one used for this recording, which allows for plenty of spontaneous interaction between stage and audience. And few artists are as unafraid of the gaffes that are almost invariably associated with a live appearance, even in the case of Clapton and his outstanding backup band; and manage, time and again, to turn them into a light moment. The garbled beginning of "Alberta" is an excellent example here; you can almost hear Clapton grinning when he says "Hang on, hang on, hang on" and simply starts over. Similarly, "Layla" is merely introduced with the words "See if you can spot this one" - and instantly greeted with the enthusiastic cheers of an audience which doesn't even need to hear the famous five notes of the song's introductory riff to recognize it.

Asked whether he, too, would ever consider an "unplugged" appearance, e-guitar legend Jeff Beck, who with Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page forms the trinity of "guitar gods" that emerged from Great Britain's famous Yardbirds, reportedly once responded that he couldn't imagine such a thing because it would make him feel "naked." And listening to Eric Clapton's "Unplugged" album, you can't shake the impression that Beck does have a point. These are pure, naked blues songs, supremely performed - and a pure joy to listen to.

Also recommended:
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert
Crossroads
One More Car: One More Rider (CD & DVD Set)
Riding with the King
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Already Great Songs Become Fresher With "Unplugged", January 22, 2003
This review is from: Eric Clapton Unplugged (Audio CD)
Clapton plays guitar. His fingers dance across the strings in "Signe," with the kind of virtuosity fans of his rougher bluesy stuff might not get to hear.

Every one of these songs has new life breathed into them. While songs like "Layla" from Clapton's 'Derek and the Dominos' days hardly lacked life, his unplugged versions seem to recreate the songs anew. For as good as the original versions are, Clapton shows, just as Bob Dylan often captures in his concerts, an old classic approached a new way can be a worthy thing.

This a CD that is best enjoyed with headphones. Fancy stereo tricks aren't the element of beauty, but careful finger picking in the midst of a tight steel string guitar bring out the notes like salt on an already tasty meal. The whole thing is enhanced when the listener gets a chance to sit down and hear all of it.

My personal favorites "Hey Hey" and the contemplative "Tears in Heaven," but, here at my keyboard late some evening, I'm finding "Nobody Knows When You're Down and Out" makes for great grooving as I write a few reviews. Get down low with "Walkin' Blues" and his slide guitar, and sadder still with "Malted Milk," a song that pierces the heart until it hurts.

"Alberta" is the weakest of the tracks, sounding like he's trying to hard. "San Francisco Bay Blues" is a cool tune, but could've used a little better mixing. He seems to struggle grabbing a couple notes in the difficult, slightly Spanish-and jazz influenced "Old Love" but he pulls it out.

The sum of it all is an album that's better with each year. It is among my favorites. I fully recommend "Unplugged" by Eric Clapton.

Anthony Trendl
editor, HungarianBookstore.com
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2013 De Luxe Edition: Excellent value if you don't already have the original disc, October 15, 2013
This is a review of the October 2013 release of the 2CD+DVD package "Deluxe Edition" box set.

The original disc of Unplugged scarcely needs another review from me because there are plenty of informative views on it already published. I will just say that, as a fully paid-up Clapton devotee of over 45 years standing, I think it's one of his very finest albums, full of great songs, brilliant guitar work and fine, sincere singing from Eric. The band are excellent and the overall effect is stunning - it really is a Classic Album in my view. If you don't already own the original, don't hesitate - this is a very generous package for the price and you won't be disappointed.

The question is, do those of us who have already bought it (twice, in my case: once on cassette and once on CD) need this Extended Edition? There are two additions to the original album: a short disc of six extra tracks and a DVD of the performances recorded on the original album plus some rehearsal material. Personally, I'm not that fussed about owning the DVD because I prefer to just listen, and for me the Bonus Tracks disc doesn't add enough to make it worth buying the whole lot again. Like a lot of "bonus material," what it really shows is that they chose the best stuff for the original album. Worried Life Blues is the only really worthwhile track among the bonus tracks, I think. We get two very similar takes of My Father's Eyes and one of Circus, neither of which is a particularly great song, and there are also the rejected takes of Running On Faith and Walking Blues which add nothing to the original album versions.

My verdict (for what it's worth) is that this is an excellent value set if you don't have the fabulous original, and I've given it five stars on that basis. But if you already have Unplugged I'm not sure I'd bother with this too. If you'd like to have the DVD it may well be worth buying this again, but for me it doesn't really add enough to the original to make it worth the expense if you already own it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Greats, February 17, 2000
By 
Bob McLeod (Doncaster, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Eric Clapton Unplugged (Audio CD)
Unplugged is a fine complement to Eric Clapton and his talents. Taking away the twang of his Fender with twenty odd amps attatched, you can really begin to appreciate this fine man.
'Signe', is a superb instrumental piece, that demonstrates his skills well. Onto his classic blues pieces 'Before you accuse me', 'hey hey', 'Nobody knows you', and 'Alberta', add a friendly tone to this live performance.
Eric's touching tribute to his deceased son, Conor, in 'Tears in Heaven' is fantastic, and a slower version of 'Layla' will leave you pleased. Well worth buying!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Eric's Best Performances, November 3, 1998
By 
facls@uol.com.br (Sao Paulo, Brazil) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Eric Clapton Unplugged (Audio CD)
Plugged or unplugged, Eric always delivers. This CD shows a very relaxed Clapton, with a great band backing him. His selection of songs is great, with new material (Signe, Lonely Stranger), old blues (Alberta, Walkin' Blues, Hey Hey), and some favorites with a new spin. Layla in particular is great; even though the electric version, with its passionate playing and singing, is better, this slower take on the song is great, showing how powerful a song Layla is. Best cuts: Layla, his emotional version of Tears In Heaven, Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out, Rollin' And Tumblin' , Before You Accuse Me, and San Francisco Bay Blues.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barenaked blues., June 8, 2008
By 
Themis-Athena (from somewhere between California and Germany) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Unplugged (Audio CD)
The debate whether, when learning to play the guitar, you should begin with an acoustic or an electric instrument, is probably as old as the history of the electric guitar itself; regardless which event you associate most strongly with its invention, and which of the enterprising souls who began experimenting with the amplification of the six-string sound way back in the 1930s you most credit therewith. Many find the sound of an electric guitar more impressive than that of an acoustic; and I'll freely admit that few pieces of music make my inner membranes resonate as instinctively as those featuring a really well-played e-guitar solo. Purists, however, argue passionately in favor of the acoustic guitar, and maintain that you're simply not going to learn to play "cleanly" if you don't start out that way. And there is definitely something to be said for that, because it is much easier to conceal a sloppily-played chord behind an electric guitar's amplified volume or a clever-sounding solo (or behind both) than in the unadulterated sound of an acoustic guitar. The discussion about the early 1990s' trend towards "unplugged" recordings centers around similar arguments. Some pieces of music are of course simply not meant to ever be played on an acoustic guitar. Others, however, live from their amplified soundeffects more than from their intrinsic musical values, and they simply fizzle when reduced to their core and performed acoustically.

And then there is that rare category of pieces which sound equally fantastic both ways, and that rare category of players who manage to dazzle you regardless what type of instrument they're playing. Eric Clapton is such a musician, and some of the songs on the playlist of his "Unplugged" album are such pieces of music. Most notable among those, of course, is "Layla," Clapton's intensely personal dedication to one-time wife Patty Boyd; written in 1970 and at a time when he saw no chance of ever winning her for himself. From the memorable opening riff of the song's original recording to its guitar solos, screaming with despair, it is extremely hard to imagine how this song could ever work in an acoustic version. Yet on a whim and at the last minute, Clapton decided to include it in the "Unplugged" playlist. And transposed by a full octave, reduced to a languid and almost upbeat, somewhat jazzy blues rhythm, it works out wonderfully; and Layla/ Patty finds herself miraculously transformed from an object of desire to one of reflection instead. In fact, that track alone, which won the 1992 Grammy as Best Rock Song, turned out to be responsible for a good share of the enormous popularity of this album which (together with 1989's "Journeyman") reestablished Clapton as an artist to reckon with, after his career had threatened to slump over the course of much of the previous decade. And similarly responsible for the success of "Unplugged" was the inclusion of another and more recent piece performed from the bottom of Clapton's soul, the triple Grammy winning "Tears in Heaven;" dedicated to his son Conor who had tragically died after falling from the open window of a 53rd floor apartment in New York City the preceding year. (The studio version of that song is contained on the soundtrack of the movie "Rush," likewise released in 1992.)

But "Unplugged" is to large extents a classic blues album, from the twelve-bar rhythm of Bo Diddley's "Before You Accuse Me" (featuring only Eric Clapton himself and one of the most modest and supremely talented living guitarists, Clapton's trusted friend and touring partner Andy Fairweather Low) to Jimmy Cox's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" (the second cut besides "Layla" from the famous album recorded under the name Derek and the Dominos), Delta Blues king Robert Johnson's "Walkin' Blues" and "Malted Milk," Jesse Fuller's upbeat "San Francisco Bay Blues," and the traditionals "Alberta" and "Rollin' and Tumblin'" (the latter, here attributed to the great Chess blues man M[cKinley] Morganfield a/k/a Muddy Waters, who made it famous). Three more of Eric Clapton's own compositions stand out among the songs which round up the album's playlist: the introductory lighthearted "Signe," which reflects his love of Brazilian music, the melancholic "Lonely Stranger" and finally "Old Love," a cut from 1989's "Journeyman."

Few white artists understand as well as Eric Clapton that the blues thrives, first and foremost, on a live atmosphere - preferably in a smaller setting like the one used for this recording, which allows for plenty of spontaneous interaction between stage and audience. And few artists are as unafraid of the gaffes that are almost invariably associated with a live appearance, even in the case of Clapton and his outstanding backup band; and manage, time and again, to turn them into a light moment. The garbled beginning of "Alberta" is an excellent example here; you can almost hear Clapton grinning when he says "Hang on, hang on, hang on" and simply starts over. Similarly, "Layla" is merely introduced with the words "See if you can spot this one" - and instantly greeted with the enthusiastic cheers of an audience which doesn't even need to hear the famous five notes of the song's introductory riff to recognize it.

Asked whether he, too, would ever consider an "unplugged" appearance, e-guitar legend Jeff Beck, who with Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page forms the trinity of "guitar gods" that emerged from Great Britain's famous Yardbirds, reportedly once responded that he couldn't imagine such a thing because it would make him feel "naked." And listening to Eric Clapton's "Unplugged" album, you can't shake the impression that Beck does have a point. These are pure, naked blues songs, supremely performed - and a pure joy to listen to.

Also recommended:
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert
Crossroads
One More Car: One More Rider (CD & DVD Set)
Riding with the King
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unplugged above all unpluggeds, March 18, 2002
By 
This review is from: Eric Clapton Unplugged (Audio CD)
This album created a trend that wouldn't go away, at least for a couple of years. This is the finest work of Clapton, and one of the most mesmorizing performances ever. My sophmore year of high school I listened to this disc for the first time, and it still is quite captivating today.
All the tracks on here are worthy of listening to. They are wonderfully constructed pieces, and very easy to listen to. They defined what "unplugged" was supposed to be. And they made Eric Clapton thrust back into the limelight where he belonged. Among the discs best tracks are "Before You Accuse Me", the wonderful sad song about his son's death "Tears in Heaven", the slow version of "Layla" (this is the first version I actually heard so I am partial to this one instead of the version by Derek & the Dominoes), "Runnin' on Faith", and "Malted Milk". This is Eric Clapton at his best, and a great testament to a great guitar player. And it's a great introduction to blues music along with Stevie Ray Vaughan's Greatest Hits, Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland, and BB King & Eric Clapton's Riding with The King. Almost any recording by John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson, or Muddy Waters as well. Pick up this disc today you will not regret it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterful Recording by a Master Musician, December 11, 2001
By 
Al the Pal "Al the Pal" (The Fruited Plain, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Eric Clapton Unplugged (Audio CD)
Clapton sheds all his electric crutches and strides forth on this album with all his musical talent bared for our enjoyment. The tempo and mood of his selections varies from soulful renditions of "Tears in Heaven" and "Lonely Stranger" to the light and upbeat "Alberta" and "San Fransico Bay Blues". Every song is a treasure.
Of particular note is his rendition of "Layla". It is a long way from the big, rockin' version he did with Derek and the Dominoes. It is almost a ballad here, relaxed and refined like a fine wine coming of age.
Clapton shows his musical maturity, relying on finely crafting his work, rather than overwhelming us with big productions and lots of riffing and fast picking. His voice is sure and strong, unlike some other old rockers who can barely talk anymore. His emotional renditions can be compared with the best of Bluesmen, past and present. He has shown us in the past that he can do anything; here he shows us can do what is appropriate for the setting.
If you are looking for a great CD to relax with and do a little foot-tapping; here it is. This is one I still reach for weekly after all these years.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Acoustic Slowhand, July 27, 2001
This review is from: Eric Clapton Unplugged (Audio CD)
MTV's Unplugged series started out as a curiosity to viewers who tuned in to see artists play their songs in acoustic versions. Many artists rose to the challenge of unplugging and playing their songs in the barest of forms. In alot of cases, the results were not only entertaining, but inventive and groundbreaking. Eric Clapton's Unplugged appearance falls into that category. Stripping away many songs to their core and reinterpreting old blues numbers, Mr. Clapton. The most startling song is "Layla". The original is a classic rock staple, thanks in large part to one of the most memorable guitar solos and codas in rock history. Stripped down to a shuffling blues riff, the song takes on a new meaning. The original was about unrequited love and you could feel the singers pain through the music. The new version is more of a man begging for a second chance. The big hit from the album is the haunting and beautiful elegy to his son, "Tears In Heaven". The song became a huge hit peaking at number two and went on to win Grammies for Record & Song of the Year. Other standout tracks include "Running On Faith" that has some wicked dobro playing, a Layla and blues chestnut "Nobody Knows You When You're Down & Out", "Malted Milk", & "San Francisco Bay Blues". The album became his first top ten hit since 1981's Another Ticket and his first number one album since 1974's 461 Ocean Boulevard in addition to "Tears In Heaven's" Grammies, it won Album of the Year.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album -- no need to pay $32 !!!, January 9, 2007
By 
This review is from: Unplugged (Audio CD)
You'll notice that Amazon has TWO listings for this Audio CD: the one you are looking at (2002 edition), and the seemingly older Unplugged [LIVE} (August 25, 1992 edition).

I went to my local Border's store to look at the differences. It appears that the 2002 edition is just a reprint of the 1992 Warner/Reprise edition. The CD's on the inside look identical! Also, at Borders they are the same price (as of this writing, about $17). So if you are shopping through Amazon, I suggest the 1992 edition.

All the songs on this CD have received extensive radio play. It is a live performance, and both the music and the recording are excellent. If you are just looking for screaming, high-pitched guitar -- forget it. This music has soul, expression, and skill worth savoring again and again.
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Eric Clapton Unplugged
Eric Clapton Unplugged by Eric Clapton (Audio CD - 1992)
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