The Mayall man delivers.
The graffitoed walls that read “Clapton Is God” are surely singing somewhere, blissfully ignorant of their profanity. After the successful comeback of 461 Ocean Boulevard, Clapton and his crew took a trip in the Wayback Machine to dig up the ghost of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (“Have You Ever Loved A Woman,” “Rambling On My Mind”) and breathe life into the blanched Blind Faith (“Presence of the Lord,” “Can’t Find My Way Home”). Nearly everyone has commented that this live compilation (culled from shows on both coasts and the UK) is both an unexpected assortment and a welcome return to Clapton’s blues-rock beginnings. After a self-imposed, drug-addled exile, Clapton wouldn’t turn his back on music or the blues again. E.C. Was Here is a tour de force, led by the brilliant guitar playing of Clapton and George Terry. After hearing the hot licks on “Drifting Blues” and “Have You Ever Loved A Woman,” you’ll be tempted to run to the hardware store and buy a can of spray paint yourself. Organist Dick Sims is also terrific on this album. The rhythm section of Carl Radle (the lone holdover from the days of Derek) and Jamie Oldaker is rock solid, and Yvonne Elliman does well in the thankless task of sweetening Eric’s voice to approximate Steve Winwood. (Marcy Levy, we’re told, plays tambourine.) Other than the tasteless album artwork (the back cover is even worse), the only complaint I can lodge against E.C. Was Here is that there isn’t more of it. The band is one of Clapton’s best, and their performances of “Let It Rain,” “Badge,” “Layla” and “I Shot The Sheriff” should have been preserved for the listening enjoyment of later generations (#thinkofthechildren). A quick glance at the track listing is likely to illicit a shoulder shrug, but don’t let your shoulders lead you. Follow your heart; you’ll find plenty of it on this album.
Original LP Version
A1. Have You Ever Loved A Woman (Billy Myles) (7:42)
A2. Presence of the Lord (Eric Clapton) (6:42)
A3. Drifting Blues (Johnny Moore/Charles Brown/Eddie Williams) (3:25)
B1. Can’t Find My Way Home (Steve Winwood) (5:10)
B2. Rambling On My Mind (Traditional, arr. by Eric Clapton) (7:17)
B3. Farther On Up The Road (Joe Medwick Veasey/Don D. Robey) (7:22)
Eric Clapton (guitars and vocals), Yvonne Elliman (vocals), Marcy Levy (tambourine), Jamie Oldaker (drums), Carl Radle (bass), Dick Sims (organ), George Terry (guitar). Produced by Tom Dowd; engineered by Ed Barton, Andy Knight, Ron Fawcuss, Ralph Moss, Dave Hewitt with special thanks to Albhy Galuten; remix engineered by Tom Dowd.
El & Nell, Ink. Photography by Frank Roscati.
Released on elpee and 8-track in August 1975 in the US (RSO, SO/TP-4809), the UK and Australia (RSO, 2394 160), Japan (RSO, MW-2141) and Yugoslavia (RTB, 5562/LK 57143); reached #20 on the US charts and #14 on the UK charts.
- Re-issued on elpee in the UK (RSO, SPELP/SPEMC 21).
- Re-issued on cassette in Italy (RSO, 3215 071).
- Re-issued on compact disc in the US (Polydor, 813 519-2).
- Re-released on remastered compact disc in 1996 in the US (Polydor, 1823-2).
- Re-issued on remastered cmopact disc on November 21, 2001 in Japan (Polydor, UICY-9160).
- Re-released on super high material compact disc on March 23 ,2016 in Japan (Universal, UICY-77728).