[Review] Eric Clapton (1970)

Clapton’s first solo album features the Bramletts (Delaney & Bonnie), a pocketfull of Dominoes and a few classics.

Kronomyth 1.0: Tales of brave Mediocrates.

If I tell you that Eric Clapton’s first solo album is a slight disappointment, remember that much was expected of the man in 1970. He was the pre-eminent guitarist of the times, the hero of several supergroups (Cream, Blind Faith and, soon, Derek and the Dominos), not to mention his session work with The Beatles. Yet there was the sense that Clapton was shrinking from his own stardom, much as Paul McCartney had done after the breakup of The Beatles.

Clapton’s decision to tour with Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett was a curious choice given his previously high profile, and his newfound interest in groups like The Band seemed worlds away from the center stage of Cream. In nearly every way, Eric Clapton is an extension of his engagement with the Bramletts, featuring the same players, with Bonnie cowriting most of the material and Delaney producing and arranging it.

With time, it became clear that many of the interests explored on Eric Clapton (J.J. Cale, soul, a facility for catchy pop songs) genuinely reflect the man, but at the time it seemed unnaturally modest and deliberately circumspect compared to the grand scale of Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire. That’s not to say the album was a commercial disappointment; it did produce three legitimate singles (including the classic “Let It Rain” and “After Midnight”), and stands head and shoulders above the half-finished McCartney. Yet the fact remains that Clapton generated more energy and intensity with the blues in a power trio setting than he does with an eight-piece group behind him. Eric Clapton marks the beginning of a new chapter, and while many people breathlessly awaited the sequel to Cream (and found it in Derek), a new story was being written that would eventually render those works fantastic footnotes.

Original elpee version

A1. Slunky (Eric Clapton/Bonnie Bramlett) (3:40)
A2. Bad Boy (Eric Clapton/Bonnie Bramlett) (4:17)
A3. Lonesome And A Long Way From Home (Bonnie Bramlett/Leon Russell) (4:00)
A4. After Midnight (John J. Cale) (3:15)
A5. Easy Now (Eric Clapton) (2:55)
A6. Blues Power (Eric Clapton/Leon Russell) (3:15)
B1. Bottle of Red Wine (Eric Clapton/Bonnie Bramlett) (3:10)
B2. Lovin’ You Lovin’ Me (Eric Clapton/Bonnie Bramlett) (3:35)
B3. I’ve Told You For The Last Time (Bonnie Bramlett/Steve Cropper) (2:30)
B4. Don’t Know Why (Eric Clapton/Bonnie Bramlett) (3:20)
B5. Let It Rain (Eric Clapton/Bonnie Bramlett) (5:00)

Original 8-track version
A1. Slunky
A2. Easy Now
A3. Blues Power
B1. Lonesome and a Long Way from Home
B2. Told You for the Last Time
B3. Don’t Know Why
C1. After Midnight
C2. Bottle of Red Wine
C3. Lovin’ You, Lovin’ Me
D1. Bad Boy
D2. Let It Rain

The Players

Eric Clapton (guitar & lead vocal), Bonnie Bramlett (vocals), Delaney Bramlett (rhythm guitar & vocals), Rita Coolidge (vocals), Jim Gordon (drums), Bob Keys (sax), Jim Price (trumpet), Carl Radle (bass), Leon Russell (piano), John Simon (piano), Stephen Stills (guitar, backing vocals), Bob Whitlock (organ & vocals) with J.J. Allison (vocals), Sonny Curtis (vocals). Produced and arranged by Delany Bramlett; engineered by Bill Halverson.

The Pictures

Photography & album design by Barry Feinstein & Tom Wilkes (for Camouflage Productions).

The Plastic

Released on elpee and 8-track on August 16, 1970 in the US (Atco, SD 33/M8-329), the UK and Canada (Polydor, 2383 021), the Netherlands (Polydor, 2340 104); reached #13 on the US charts and #17 on the UK charts. 8-track features different track order.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1975 in the Netherlands (Polydor, 2479 134).
  2. Re-issued on cassette in Italy (RSO, 3215 070).
  3. Re-issued on elpee in 1978 in the US (RSO, RS-1-3008).
  4. Re-issued on elpee in 1980 in Japan (RSO, MWX-4031).
  5. Re-issued on elpee in 1982 in the UK (RSO, SPELP54).
  6. Re-issued on elpee in 1984 in Brazil (RSO, 2394 153).
  7. Re-issued on elpee in the UK (RSO, 2394 186).
  8. Re-issued on compact disc in the US (Polydor, 825 093).
  9. Re-released on remastered gold compact disc in 1995 in the US (Mobile Fidelity, UDCD-639).
  10. Re-released on remastered compact disc in 1996 in the US (Polydor, 1819).
  11. Re-released on 180g vinyl in 1999 in the UK (Simply Vinyl, SVLP 105).
  12. Re-issued on remastered compact disc in 2001 in Japan (Polydor, UICY-9157).
  13. Re-issued on 20-bit remastered compact disc in 2002 in Japan (Polydor, UICY-2324).

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