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: 2-CD 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.
Rolling Stone - 9/3/70, p.44
"...a warm, friendly record...Clapton's voice is a revelation...mean guitar..."
Q - p.1224 stars out of 5
-- "[The] horn-heavy gospel-soul troupe swings like leaves in the breeze, while EC plays thrilling bee-sting Stratocaster guitar..."
Q - 11/96, p.1473 Stars (out of 5)
lso out of print on CD on Polydor (531 819) - D01.
Ultradiscs are mastered from the original master tapes using Mobile Fidelity's proprietary mastering technique, then plated with 24 karat gold and housed in a stress-resistant lift-lock jewel box.
Personnel: Eric Clapton, Delaney Bramlett (guitar, vocals); Bobby Keys (saxophone); Jim Price (trumpet); Leon Russell, John Simon (piano); Bobby Whitlock (organ, vocals); Carl Radle (bass); Jim Gordon (drums); Sonny Curtis, Bonnie Bramlett, J.I. Allison (background vocals); Stephen Stills, Rita Coolidge.
Recorded at Village Recorders, West Los Angeles, California in 1970.
Personnel: Eric Clapton (vocals, guitar); Delaney Bramlett, Jerry Allison , Rita Coolidge, Sonny Curtis, Stephen Stills, Bonnie Bramlett (vocals); Bobby Keys (saxophone); Leon Russell (piano); Jim Gordon (drums); Tex Johnson (percussion).
Audio Mixers: Suha Gur; Delaney Bramlett; Tom Dowd.
Liner Note Author: Scott Schinder.
Recording information: A&M Studios, Hollywood, CA (09/27/1969-03/??/1970); Island Studios, London, England (09/27/1969-03/??/1970); Olympic Sound Studios, Barnes (09/27/1969-03/??/1970); Sunset Sound Studios, Los Angeles, CA (09/27/1969-03/??/1970); Village Recorders, West Los Angeles, CA (09/27/1969-03/??/1970).
Photographers: Tom Wilkes ; Barry Feinstein.
Arranger: Delaney Bramlett.
With this, his first solo album, Eric Clapton did a complete 180 from his work of the previous five years. Gone were the long, jazzy solos and rootsy Chicago blues work. In their place, Clapton was stretching as a singer and seeking to define his own song forms, inspired by the Beatles, the Band, and his new found collaborators from the southern R&B circuit, Delaney And Bonnie.
ERIC CLAPTON marks Clapton's first use of the Fender Stratocaster. Its high, wirey, percussive sound stands in stark contrast to the dark, fat, singing Gibson sounds Clapton had perfected with John Mayall, Cream and Blind Faith. This new Clapton sound is quite striking, from the twangy leads on his opening instrumental "Slunky," to the cutting feints and jabs which transform J.J. Cale's "After Midnight" into a Clapton signature piece.
Positioned as it is between the legendary BLIND FAITH and LAYLA sessions, ERIC CLAPTON has long been underrated by fans and critics alike, but the roots of much of what Clapton's done since 461 OCEAN BOULEVARD can be found here: the pithy melodic style of "Blues Power," the country/gospel overtones of "Bottle Of Red Wine," and the confessional tone of "Let It Rain." In addition, ERIC CLAPTON is significant both as a showcase for Clapton's emerging vocal stylings and as a proving ground for his Dominoes rhythm section of drummer Jim Gordon, bassist Carl Radle and keyboardist/vocalist Bobby Whitlock.