Switching from a major to his own Bushbranch imprint on Gary Hoey's independent SurfDog label is, to the say least, a little unexpected from Eric Clapton, but now that he's reached the ripe old age of 67, the guitarist isn't so concerned with proving himself. On Old Sock, his 20th studio album, he sounds downright happy to be slowly dropping off of the mainstream radar, not bothering with any music that could conceivably be called pop, or even writing his own songs. Only two of the 12 songs on Old Sock are new, and he didn't write either himself; they're co-writes between his longtime right-hand man Doyle Bramhall II, Nikki Costa, and Justin Stanley, and the vaguely propulsive blues-rock of "Gotta Get Over" and cheerful lite reggae bounce "Every Little Thing" fit neatly into the sunny nostalgia offered on the rest of the record.
The Historic Classic Recordings are from the early years of The Yardbirds. The double CD features studio and live recordings from the London Marquee Club and the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, Surrey. Not only Eric Clapton, but also the legendary Sonny Boy Williamson, with whom the band toured in December 1963, were involved in the fantastic recordings. Also, the contributions of Jimmy Page in some pieces are unmistakable. With For Your Love, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, Shapes Of Things, Draggin 'My Tail (with Jimmy Page), Evil Hearted You, I Is not Got You, A Certain Girl, Got To Hurry, Too Much Monkey Business, Mr. You're a Better Man Than I, Choker (with Jimmy Page), Honey In Your Hips, West Coast Idea, I Wish You Would, Freight Loader (with Jimmy Page), Snake Drive, Jeff's Blues and others, a total of 36 titles.
This limited edition is released in a strong cardboard box, where the 2 CDs in jewel cases are packed. The box set consists in an inner and an outer box. Unplugged: Eric Clapton's Unplugged was responsible for making acoustic-based music, and Unplugged albums in particular, a hot trend in the early '90s. Clapton's concert was not only one of the finest Unplugged episodes, but was also some of the finest music he had recorded in years. Instead of the slick productions that tainted his '80s albums, the music was straightforward and direct, alternating between his pop numbers and traditional blues songs.
Rush is an excellent dark blues score written by Eric Clapton (with help on the three songs) and performed by an augmented version of his band. This soundtrack album produced one big hit for Clapton with "Tears in Heaven," but it's a wonderfully intense piece of work all the way through, with some terrific guitar work from Clapton himself. Buddy Guy turns up to add lead vocals and guitar on the 11-minute version of Willie Dixon's "Don't Know Which Way to Go," and that's more than all right too. There's a very good chance that the dark intensity of this music was as much informed by the tragedies in Clapton's life ("Tears in Heaven" is about his son) as the film itself. Whatever the cause, this album has far more impact than you might expect from the score to a movie – there's a sense of the music here working something out in Clapton's heart, a sense given a lot of power thanks to the intense, heart-wrenching passion invoked by some of the turns taken here. At its best, Clapton's music can speak of the pain he feels – and Clapton has rarely been better than he is here.
Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton was Eric Clapton's first fully realized album as a blues guitarist – more than that, it was a seminal blues album of the 1960s, perhaps the best British blues album ever cut, and the best LP ever recorded by John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Standing midway between Clapton's stint with the Yardbirds and the formation of Cream, this album featured the new guitar hero on a series of stripped-down blues standards, Mayall pieces, and one Mayall/Clapton composition, all of which had him stretching out in the idiom for the first time in the studio…