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Eric Clapton Unplugged Deluxe Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 355 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 15, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Eric Clapton was already an acknowledged master of the electric guitar in January 1992 when he traded his signature Stratocaster for an acoustic Martin to record Unplugged. The live album captured the legendary guitarist, backed by a small band, performing acoustic versions of his own songs and several blues standards. Released later that same year, the album was an unqualified blockbuster, selling more than 19 million copies worldwide and earning six Grammy Awards, sweeping the top honors, including Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year.

Reprise Records celebrates Clapton s electrifying acoustic performances with a new 2-CD/DVD collection that includes a remastered version of the original album along with six unreleased outtakes on two CDs. The DVD features a newly restored version of the concert, as well as more than an hour of previously unseen footage from the rehearsal.

For the original album s 14 performances, Clapton reinterpreted songs from his rich catalog, including "Layla" completely reimagined as a shuffle from his time with Derek and the Dominos, "Running On Faith" and "Old Love" from 1989 s Journeyman, and the hit single "Tears In Heaven," a song he wrote after the passing of his young son Conor the previous year. Much of the album showcases blues songs Clapton grew up listening to, like Bo Diddley s "Before You Accuse Me," Big Bill Broonzy s "Hey Hey," Leadbelly s "Alberta" and Robert Johnson s "Malted Milk."

The second disc includes several songs not on the original album, such as a cover of "Big Maceo" Merriweather s "Worried Life Blues," an alternate take of "Walkin Blues" and early versions of "Circus" and "My Father s Eyes" songs that would surface six years later on Clapton s album Pilgrim.

The DVD included in this collection contains a newly restored version of the original broadcast, which aired August 25, 1992 on MTV. For the first time ever, fans will also have the opportunity to see more than an hour of unreleased footage recorded during the pre-show rehearsal. Filmed from multiple camera angles, it features an intimate look at Clapton and the band working on arrangements and running through 14 songs, including "Circus" and "My Father s Eyes," which were not featured in the final broadcast.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Signe
  2. Before You Accuse Me
  3. Hey Hey
  4. Tears In Heaven
  5. Lonely Stranger
  6. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
  7. Layla
  8. Running On Faith
  9. Walkin Blues
  10. Alberta
  11. San Francisco Bay Blues
  12. Malted Milk
  13. Old Love
  14. Rollin & Tumblin

Disc: 2

  1. Circus
  2. My Father s Eyes (Take 1)
  3. Running On Faith (Take 1)
  4. Walkin Blues (Take 1)
  5. My Father s Eyes (Take 2)
  6. Worried Life Blues

Disc: 3

  1. DVD: Signe
  2. DVD: Before You Accuse Me
  3. DVD: Hey Hey
  4. DVD: Tears In Heaven
  5. DVD: Circus
  6. DVD: Lonely Stranger
  7. DVD: Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
  8. DVD: Layla
  9. DVD: My Father s Eyes
  10. DVD: Running On Faith
  11. DVD: Walkin Blues
  12. DVD: Alberta
  13. DVD: San Francisco Bay Blues
  14. DVD: Malted Milk
  15. DVD: Signe
  16. DVD: Before You Accuse Me
  17. DVD: Hey Hey
  18. DVD: Tears In Heaven
  19. DVD: Circus
  20. DVD: Lonely Stranger
  21. DVD: Nobody Knows You When You re Down And Out
  22. DVD: Layla
  23. DVD: My Father s Eyes
  24. DVD: Running On Faith
  25. DVD: Walkin Blues
  26. DVD: Alberta
  27. DVD: San Francisco Bay Blues
  28. DVD: Malted Milk

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 15, 2013)
  • Deluxe Edition edition
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Rhino Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (355 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,040 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: Audio CD
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.
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Format: 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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