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Eric Clapton [Deluxe Edition]
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MP3 Music, January 1, 1970
Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording remastered, May 23, 2006
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Eric Clapton's first solo album, originally released in August 1970, represents one of rock history's most successful reinventions. After emerging as one of the seminal guitar heroes of the '60s (as a member of the Yardbirds, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream and Blind Faith), the English superstar decisively reestablished his musical priorities with Eric Clapton. The album marked Clapton's transition from flashy instrumental icon to well-rounded recording artist, downplaying sonic pyrotechnics in favor of a song-focused ensemble sound that would lay the groundwork for his massively successful solo career. For the occasion, Clapton surrounded himself with a new cast of American musicians, notably Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett and Friends, tapping into a rootsy musical foundation that provided an inspired framework for his talents. He struck up a musical and personal rapport with the Bramletts and the seasoned, roots-steeped musicians who comprised their band, including (future Derek & The Dominos members) keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle, drummer Jim Gordon, as well as percussionist Tex Johnson, backup singer Rita Coolidge and horn players Jim Price and Bobby Keys. Two distinctive mixes of Eric Clapton were originally prepared one by the album's producer/co-writer/arranger Delaney Bramlett, and one by legendary producer/engineer Tom Dowd, who'd previously worked with Clapton on the Cream classics Disraeli Gears and Wheels Of Fire. Although Dowd's mix was the one ultimately released, many who've heard both have expressed a preference for Bramlett's version. ERIC CLAPTON 2CD Deluxe Edition, explores in detail, this landmark recording, presenting a remastered version of the original album,along with a previously unreleased version of the album, as well as session out-takes, and related singles recordings.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language: : English
- Product Dimensions : 5.59 x 5 x 0.63 inches; 5.01 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Polydor
- Item model number : 2071525
- Original Release Date : 2006
- SPARS Code : DDD
- Date First Available : July 26, 2006
- Label : Polydor
- ASIN : B000FDEUG2
- Number of discs : 2
- Best Sellers Rank: #25,739 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It had been a long time since I had heard this record anyway, so it was a welcome reaquaintance to be sure. Plus in addition to the original LP tracks remastered, you also get the Bramlett-produced version of the LP which was either rejected by the record label or - at this point it does not matter so much, because now it is available for all to hear.
It's a grittier, Memphis soul-stew sound on these unreleased tracks, and although they are now my go-to version of the LP/CD, I'm glad we still have the original (more commercially sounding) mix of the album here to return to.
The additional bonus tracks are also great to have and this is overall one of the most fitting choices for this Deluxe re-visiting, the only regret being that nobody thought to search for the 3rd mix of the LP done by Eric himself (which accidentally escaped on some of the early LP pressings). Maybe we'll get the chance when this LP hits another anniversary mark; I certainly hope so.
This was one satisfying purchase for me, and these Deluxe editions seem to go out of print eventually, so if you have any interest in this period of Mr. Clapton's music, you may want to utilize that little shopping cart up there before they are sold out.
Sorry, my age is showing, this was when music was.....
Top reviews from other countries
DISC 1 An old recording remastered and it shows. Many of the instruments have been multi tracked then balanced down to 1 track. Drums and bass are a long way back in the disc 1 mix, as are the horns and choir which is nearly lost.
Overall the backing is just a sorry mass of sound. Occasionally an instrument comes to the fore but it all feels very strange. Those however were the recording limitations of the time.
DISC 2 These bonus tracks seem to have been far more sensitively remixed and mastered. To some extent they are simpler and clearer. This mix comes alive and it has much better sound quality with an excellent sound stage and a much fuller and more detailed atmosphere.
A more dynamic mix together with a less complex backing arrangement means that there is less muddiness. At least the drums sound as if they are in the same room!
The vocals especially those of Clapton have a better edge and bite. The horns now have attack. Disc 2 does not feel over produced being pared back lets the music shine in all its detail. Clapton’s playing now comes to the fore.
I have not set out to write reviews of the music content as “beauty is in the ears of the listener”. These reviews are about the quality (or not) of the recorded sound. To read about how the reviews are done please see my profile.
• Clarity – OK but can be very messy and feels cluttered as there seem to be just too many instruments or the could not decide during the mix where the emphasis lay
• Channel separation - Ok
• Channel balance – As originally recorded in 1970 the balance is a little traditional. It is confusing to hear some instruments just suddenly come to the fore
• Sound Stage – OK but but it feels confused and muted. Indeed feels on occasion as if only left and right channels with no centre balance – just a hole in the middle. This may be a product or poor remastering, it is difficult to tell
• Distortion – Non audible
• Compression – Some, feels a bit flat as highs and lows seem absent, feels lifeless at times
• Atmosphere – Poor on the first disc, the second disc is much better
• Bass – low frequencies – OK but the drums on disc 1 are terrible, sound as if they are in a different building. The same applies to the piano
• Treble – high frequencies – The electric guitars are OK but other instruments are flat and feel distant
• Vocals – OK but lacks dynamic range
As a general rule of thumb recordings from the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s are nearly always better on the original vinyl. Remasters often fail to please as it’s just not possible to make a silk purse from a sows ear, i.e. the original recording lacks the necessary detail to be processed digitally and show an audible improvement. Indeed such processing can make the sound worse.
Modern recordings which have been processed digitally from start to finish can be as good as vinyl. CD’s are often unfairly criticised for being poor quality. This is not the case, it is the original recording or the process which is to blame. Modern “remasters” can both enhance and degrade a recording. The statement GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) is the limiting factor. Ignore this at your cost.
A somewhat globally unknown musician, Delaney and his then wife Bonnie's group attracted the attention of some major headliners who dropped what they were doing to guest with them on tour. They supported Eric's supergroup at the time (Blind Faith) and he often much preferred stepping on stage with them than performing to the screaming masses along with Baker, Winwood and Grech. Both he and George Harrison, who was also keen to riff away with them on stage, yearned for a bit of anonymity away from their careers and just enjoy playing music again.
Just like the rootsy Canadian group The Band had convinced Clapton that Cream were a bit flamboyantly old hat, here were a down-home American ensemble that just seemed fun to be around. Clapton's first album reflects that edict, and although one suspects that most of the songs credited to himself and Bonnie Bramlett were mainly the work of the latter, it comes out as a very joyous little number.
To go my first point again, it reflects his enitre career, in that there are one or two absolute gems among the merely pleasant. The main gem is, of course Let It Rain. A tad lacking in the lyric department it is neverthless one of the greatest songs he ever recorded under his own name, with a Fender solo indicating his switch from the more boisterous Gibson. Another is After Midnight, one of two JJ Cale songs he impressively covered in his career (the other being Cocaine; after that they all sounded just like their author). The final one is the absolutely gorgeous Easy Now, a song so unknown by anyone unless they heard it here it is criminal. It never airs on compilations.
Ultimately though, he lets himself be buried and swamped by the occasion. But the best reason for this album comes in this form: he ended up with Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock and Jim Gordon from Delaney's band. They went on to form Derek and The Dominos and within several months recorded and released Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs; not only the greatest album Clapton dominated. One of the greatest blues-rock albums ever recorded. In fact, the difference between the two albums, just several months apart, is quite monumental!
I usually adore these deluxe editions, but I don't think in this case we are afforded too much to be troubled with. The Delaney mixes of the album are fine but not wholly different in the scheme of things. A few more parps of horns here, a bit of echo there, sometimes just cluttered, like somebody introduced him to a mixing desk but hid the instructions. However, there is a ten minute plus blues jam which is quite exquisite, and She Rides is great to finally hear, even though it is just Let It Rain with different (and amazingly, worse) lyrics . It depends I guess upon the price difference between this and the single cd version and how completist you are.
This is one of the essential 1970s albums that should be in any serious collection of 1970s music. For this Deluxe Edition release Polygram has made an interesting package. The first CD contains the album as it was originally released, with the final mix done by producer/recording engineer Tom Dowd, who had also produced the Derek and the Dominoes album released several months earlier. The first CD also includes several extra tracks.
The second CD contains the entire album as it was apparently intended to be released, with the final mix by Delaney Bramlett. Although it is the same album, mastered from the same tapes, there are many significant differences between the Tom Dowd mix and the Delaney Bramlett mix. It's interesting to finally hear the two versions of the same album.
Apparently Delaney Bramlett took so long to mix his version of the album that Polygram (Polydor as it was called at the time) got impatient and had Tom Dowd mix the album to speed up the release date.
My personal preference is the Tom Dowd mix but there's some very interesting differences between the Dowd and Bramlett mixes.
Overall, a great re-issue of a great album.