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Me and Mr. Johnson

Eric ClaptonAudio CD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (276 customer reviews)

Price: $6.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 14 Songs, 2003 $9.49  
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Vinyl, Original recording, 2004 --  

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September 28, 2010

"This album wasn’t what it was intended to be at all," says Eric Clapton. "It’s actually better than it was meant to be because, in a way, I just let it happen. It’s an eclectic collection of songs that weren’t really on the map—and I like it so much because if it’s a ... Read more in Amazon's Eric Clapton Store

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Me and Mr. Johnson + Riding With the King + From the Cradle
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 30, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reprise / Wea
  • ASIN: B0001HAHXW
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (276 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,051 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. When You Got A Good Friend
2. Little Queen Of Spades
3. They're Red Hot
4. Me And The Devil Blues
5. Traveling Riverside Blues
6. Last Fair Deal Gone Down
7. Stop Breakin' Down Blues
8. Milkcow's Calf Blues
9. Kind Hearted Woman Blues
10. Come On In My Kitchen
11. If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day
12. Love In Vain
13. 32-20 Blues
14. Hell Hound On My Trail

Editorial Reviews

It's impossible to overemphasize the importance of singer-guitarist-songwriter Robert Johnson's contribution to blues music. The same can be said of Eric Clapton, one of Mr. Johnson's most dedicated interpreters. From his work with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers to Cream and beyond, Clapton has arguably attracted more widespread attention to Johnson's music than any other living musician. A decade after his all-blues From the Cradle (which included no Johnson material), Clapton jumps into the icon's catalog with both feet by covering 14 Johnson tunes. With a stripped-down veteran band that includes such longtime associates as drummer Steve Gadd, keyboardist Billy Preston, and harmonica ace Jerry Portnoy, the guitarist attacks these songs with passion, intelligence, and a refreshing lack of blues-rock pretense. From the upbeat jump of "32-20 Blues" and "They're Red Hot" to the slower, grinding "Little Queen of Spades" and "Milkcow's Calf Blues," Clapton acquits himself well, eschewing his slicker inclinations with arrangements that underscore Johnson's rawest tendencies--although perhaps he doesn't seem sufficiently terrified when walking with Lucifer on "Me and the Devil Blues." Still, this is a successful and admirable return to his roots, one that will hopefully introduce an even larger audience to Johnson's seminal work. --Hal Horowitz

Product Description

On Me And Mr.Johnson, Eric Clapton covers 14 of the 29 songs Robert Johnson, the most mythic figure of the blues, wrote and recorded in his lifetime. For fans of deep blues,it doesn 't get any better than this. After the success of Clapton 's first two traditional blues albums -+1994 's Gram- my-winning triple-platinum, #1 pop From The Cradle, and 2000 's Grammy-winning, double-platinum,#3-charting Riding With The King collaboration with B.B.King -+Me And Mr.Johnson finds Clapton once more at the crossroads of blues and rock.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
112 of 130 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a very good job May 15, 2004
Format:Audio CD
When Clapton recorded and released his 'Unplugged' few years ago, he made wonderful covers of both Robert Johnson's Malted Milk and Walking Blues. The result was absolutely brilliant. I had not heard a more inspired, passionate,soulful Clapton in years.
I would say that the opposite is true of 'Me and Mr. Johnson'. Leaving aside why Clapton decided to record the 14 songs he chose instead of Rambling on My Mind, I'm a steady Rollin'Man, and so on; the record has a major problem.
There's no energy, there's no strength, there's no passion. If you listen to Robert Johnson's original recording they're phenomenlly powerful. In Clapton's rendition, those very same song almost put you to sleep.
Love in Vain is a perfect case in point. It is a very powerful song, one of those songs that strikes some chords inside you. Robert Johnson created that magic, the Rolling Stones were able to preserve that magic in their cover, but all the magic is lost with Clapton. Love in Vain is almost boring. Clapton is a great guitar player and great bluesman, but the arrangements he chose for this record are terrible. They take all the energy away from these great great songs. What a disaster.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mildly Tepid, Yet Bland August 19, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Eric Clapton has been introducing the "Blues" to new audiences for almost his entire life. Early in his career, he could take an obsure blues song like "Crossroads" and make it into a rock hit. A number of Robert Johnson's songs were recorded in the corner of a hotel room on ancient equipment. These harsh sounding, yet powerful performances can send chills up your spine. Sadly, "Me and Mr. Johnson" is just plain boring to listen to. The song arrangements stay mostly faithful to the original recordings, but there are too many instruments on them. The band contains some fine musicians, but they sound so polished and lifeless. Clapton's playing is competent as usual, but it lacks the enthusiam that used to set him apart from all his peers.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overarted rock tribute to blues great April 11, 2004
Format:Audio CD
With all the hoolpa this cd has received, one is atonsihed by the absolute nonsense of some of the rock critics who rave about this. Much of this collection of performances of songs that Robert Johnson recorded is on the level of a bar band doing Robert Johnson. None of Clapton's renditions of these songs match those by Robert Lockwood, Johnny Shines, Honeyboy Edwards, Big Joe Williams, Junior Wells, Eddie Taylor, Boyd Gilmore, Muddy Waters and others who have taken Johnson's songs and produced recordings that are more passionately and personally performed. Clapton is too reverent to these songs and the lyrics which is strange for a homage to Johnson whose own work adapted and transformed his contemporaries music as Elijah Wald details in his recent book. Check out Leroy Carr's In the Evening before listening to Robert Johnson's Love in Vain and Clapton's rendition pales compared to the Stones' cover of it three decades ago. Both Junior Wells and Eddie Taylor had standout recordings of Stop Breakin' Down that makes Clapton's rendition here sound not very distinguished. Call Clapton a rock guitar god all you want and a great popularizer of the blues, but when you have assimilated not simply Johnson's music but also the great bluesmen of the past fifty years, than Clapton's achievement is clearly overstated. One other point was that I was not enamored by the studio band. There are some great players (and Mr. Portnoy is a great harp player), but the rhythm section does not swing and they sound second rate comapred to some of the classic Chicago bands of the sixties and seventies.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Concept - Poor Execution February 10, 2008
Format:Audio CD
The power of Robert Johnson's music lies in his haunting lyrics, stark arrangements, and tortured delivery. Unfortunately, in reworking Johnson's songs for "Me and Mr Johnson", Eric Clapton has robbed them of their original power, substituting instead competent, but out-of-place, Chicago Blues-style arrangements and disappointingly hackneyed vocal delivery. Johnson's lyrics alone are left to carry the load and, alas, they cannot.

Clapton can do better, and, indeed, he has. Listen to "Malted Milk" from Unplugged and "Terraplane Blues" and "Ramblin' on My Mind" from
Sessions For Robert J. (CD + DVD) for proof that he can interpret Johnson's music in inspired fashion. Given the magnitude of Robert Johnson's influence on Eric Clapton, a Clapton album comprised entirely of Johnson's songs seemed a very promising undertaking. If only "Me and Mr Johnson" had lived up to that promise . . .
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hate to admit it August 4, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Hate to admit it but this just isn't very good. Been a fan since 'Slowhand' so i've been frequently disappointed and underwhelmed by Clapton, but this is just amazing. This has everything going for it but it just doesn't come together. The featured review by 'Woomer' mirrors my feelings that nothing since 'From the Cradle' has been worthwhile barring 'Riding with the King' and that was helped immensely by King himself.

Toss this onto the heap along with 'Reptile' and 'Pilgrim'.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So-so May 15, 2004
Format:Audio CD
I know that a lot of listeners are prepared to receive this CD as the Second Coming. It is Eric Clapton playing Robert Johnson, after all. And others will be equally prepared to hate it on the same grounds.
But to me "Me And Mr Johnson" is neither very bad nor very good. Eric Clapton has brought in Muddy Waters' former harmonica player Jerry Portnoy, and the Beatles' organ player Billy Preston, and he himself plays excellent slide guitar on a couple of tracks, including a very good rendition of "Traveling Riverside Blues". Still, the overall impression is quite bland.

Staying away from songs like "Sweet Home Chicago" and "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom", which have been covered about a million times, Clapton focuses on somewhat lesser-known songs instead.
The arrangements are mostly acoustic, with some electric numbers thrown in for good measure, but almost every song is recorded using a full band which includes drums, keyboards, and two or three guitars. Whether or not you consider that an improvement is a matter of taste, I suppose...a few of the arrangements are certainly too cluttered for my taste.

Highlights include the aforementioned "Traveling Riverside Blues", a great, acoustic "Come On In My Kitchen", played in traditional country blues fashion, and an excellent "If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day", one of only a few songs which really manage to get that deep, swinging blues groove going.
And the rest is not excactly horrible, but considering how good Clapton's last pure blues album, "From The Cradle", was, "Me And Mr Johnson" is a disappointment. And the sound is surprisingly's flat and dull, certainly not what you would expect from a 2004 release. Or maybe mine is a Monday pressing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent addition to an EC collection
The music is good and I knew the songs background. As another reviewer had commented, Clapton just doesn't seem to have his usual full bluesy tone into these tracks. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Duane Nash
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Album
Eric Clapton pays tribute to the all-time great Robert Johnson. this album is "Definitely" Clapton... But a sincere nod to "Mr. Johnson"!
Published 6 days ago by A-Frame
5.0 out of 5 stars Ballsy blues
Delightful blues of a pioneer master, done now by a contemporary master of his craft. The surprise was realizing Robert Johnson's lyrics were used by rockers decades later, such... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Henry J. Mikus
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have!
If you're an Eric Clapton or a Robert Johnson fan, you gotta add this one to your library with no further delay. As you would expect, Clapton does an outstanding job on Mr. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Oldieman
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great, but certainly not deserving of all the negative...
I thought this was a fairly good release for Clapton. Not his best work, and certainly not as good as the Robert Johnson originals, but a decent blues album in its own right. Read more
Published 7 months ago by John Worley
5.0 out of 5 stars Eric's best work yet
Depending on your taste in Clapton music (blues or the pop stuff) you may or may not like this CD. It has taken him nearly a lifetime to attempt the music of his hero, Robert... Read more
Published 8 months ago by johnnytrucknuts
4.0 out of 5 stars Clapton Blues
Just finished listening to the CD. I am a lifelong Clapton fan. I like his different personalities throughout the years. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Wildboark
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant as ever
I've been a Clapton fan since my early teenage years since I started playing my father's vinyl collection. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Roger Meade
5.0 out of 5 stars Clapton knows the blues
I read other reviews and then took a pinch of salt, bought this album then proceeded to love it so much I will probably wear it out! Read more
Published 12 months ago by K. Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album
I'm a big fan of EC and RJ but I wish this would have been more of an acoustic album and some of the song choices were ones that could have been better.

Published 16 months ago by MacWood
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