A slightly edited version of “Carnival” served as the second single from No Reason To Cry, but it weren’t no Wonderful Tonight.
Kronomyth 6.2: Nao chore para more-a.
When Clapton entered the studio to record No Reason To Cry, he only had a few songs in hand including “Carnival,” which he had already performed a couple of times during his 1975 summer tour. In its original version, “Carnival” was a chugging number with a generous wah-wah solo in the middle; nothing great, mind you, but more respectable than the compressed and cartoonish version you’ll find here. In the studio, the organ was pumped up, the guitar was downplayed and the whole thing sounded like a multicultural mishmash.
From the opening “oi,” which is more British than Brazilian, the song just gets it wrong. I don’t know why the label felt it was a good choice for a second single, but it didn’t go anywhere on the charts and I don’t recall hearing it played on the radio. Clapton didn’t even play it live after the album was released, so far as I can tell. The single had a limited international release, and it appears some countries (Australia, the Netherlands) replaced “Hungry” with “County Jail Blues” as the B side (although I’m still looking to confirm that). The single version of “Carnival” is about a half-minute shorter than the elpee version; not sure if they cut anything out other than an early fade on the ending, but I’m happy to have the 30 seconds of my life back.
Original 7-inch single version
A1. Carnival (Eric Clapton) (3:10)
Released on 7-inch in 1977 in the UK, Australia and Chile (RSO, 2090 222), the US (RSO, RS 868) and Yugoslavia (RTB, S 53 982). Regional versions feature picture sleeve.