Rolling Stone - 8/19/99, p.1194 stars out of 5
- "...a credible overview is now easily attainable....this collection tells [Clapton's story] with insight and flair."
Contains 5 previously unreleased tracks.
Personnel: Eric Clapton (vocals, guitar, dobro); Albert Lee (guitar, background vocals); Duane Allman, Freddie King, Dave Mason, Ron Wood, George Terry (guitar); Dick Sims (piano, organ); Bobby Whitlock (piano); Gary Brooker (keyboards, background vocals); Chris Stainton (keyboards); Carl Radle, Dave Markee (bass); Jamie Oldaker, Jim Gordon, Henry Spinetti, Al Jackson (drums); Sergio Pastora (percussion); Yvonne Elliman, Marcy Levy (background vocals).
Recorded between 1970 and 1980. Includes liner notes by John McDermott.
Digitally remastered by Suha Gur (Universal Music Group Studios).
Personnel: Eric Clapton (vocals, guitar, dobro); Albert Lee (vocals, guitar); Gary Brooker (vocals, keyboards); Marcy Levy, Yvonne Elliman (vocals); Dave Mason, Duane Allman, Freddie King, George Terry, Ron Wood (guitar); Dick Sims (piano, organ); Bobby Whitlock (piano); Chris Stainton (keyboards); Henry Spinetti (drums, percussion); Jamie Oldaker, Al Jackson, Jr. (drums); Jim Gordon (bass drum); Sergio Pastora (percussion).
Audio Mixers: Suha Gur; Jay Mark; John Jansen; Jon Astley; Andy MacPherson; Philip Chapman; Steve Rinkoff; Bill Levenson.
Liner Note Author: John McDermott .
Recording information: Apollo Theatre, Glasgow, Scotland (09/02/1970-08/??/1980); Budokan Theatre, Tokyo, Japan (09/02/1970-08/??/1980); Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas (09/02/1970-08/??/1980); Criteria Studios, Miami, FL (09/02/1970-08/??/1980); Dynamic SOunds Studio, Kingston, Jamaica (09/02/1970-08/??/1980); Hammersmith Odeon, London, England (09/02/1970-08/??/1980); Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA (09/02/1970-08/??/1980); Olympci Sound Studios, London, England (09/02/1970-08/??/1980); Sear Sound Studios, New York, NY (09/02/1970-08/??/1980); Shangri-la Studios, Malibu, CA (09/02/1970-08/??/1980); Victoria Hall, Hanley, Staffordshire, England (09/02/1970-08/??/1980).
Photographers: John Bellissimo; Michael Putland; Laurens Van Houten; Ron Pownall.
Arrangers: Eric Clapton; Lead Belly; The Dominoes.
Prior to Eric Clapton's pop- and MTV-driven mid-'80s work, he spent the '70s and early '80s playing languid, singer-songwriter soft rock evocative of J.J. Cale and Don Edwards. But Clapton always kept one foot in the blues of his youth. BLUES brings this material together in one place and throughout, Slowhand taps into an inner spirituality that does these blues standards well.
The first disc contains studio recordings that include tributes to many influences including Elmore James ("The Sky Is Crying") and Willie Dixon ("Meet Me [Down At the Bottom]"). Most impressive is a stripped-down version of Little Walter's "Mean Old World," in which Clapton and Duane Allman duet using National steel and slide guitars. The tempo picks up during an alternate version of Bo Diddley's "Before You Accuse Me" that becomes a rollicking shuffle and a cover of Muddy Water's "Blow Wind Blow" in which Clapton's guitar parries with Gary Brooker's piano. On disc two, "Live Blues," Slowhand's playing deliciously simmers on material by Robert Johnson and Otis Rush. He eventually cuts loose as he trades licks with his hero Freddie King on a joyous cover of Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Further on Up the Road."