Eric and Bob in The Band’s basement.
On the eve of the American bicentennial, Eric Clapton found himself in The Band’s Shangri-La studio as their American dream was unraveling and Bob Dylan was living in a tent in their garden. While the original intent may have been to tap into The Band’s Americana mystique, what ended up on No Reason To Cry is more of a mistake: tracks written with The Band that lack their folk-wise energy (“Beautiful Thing,” “All Our Past Times”), an ill-conceived duet with the mysterious bard (“Sign Language”) and a trio of tracks at the end that look to launch Marcy Levy’s solo career at Clapton’s expense. His previous two studio efforts, recorded with the same core Tulsa group, had succeeded by focusing on Clapton’s strengths (the blues, Beatlesque pop) and casting his otherwise weak voice in the favorable light of reggae. No Reason To Cry finds Clapton out of his element too often, especially on the sprawling “Carnival.” The album contains a few good songs, none better than “Hello Old Friend,” which taps into the same George Harrison-styled pop music that had given Clapton some of his greatest success, yet overall it remains his weakest entry from the 70s. Although he had kicked his heroin habit, Clapton was still drinking and looking too thin. At around the same time as the album’s release, the guitar god found himself in hot water when he criticized “wogs” (you’ll just have to look it up) during a concert in Birmingham, England and lent his support to the nationalist Enoch Powell, who was then running for prime minister. Old story, that, which only proves that music, alcohol and politics are poor bedfellows. The presence of The Band, Bob Dylan, Ronnie Wood and Billy Preston is bound to intrigue, but recalling the star-studded casts on some of those George Harrison and Ringo Starr stinkfests should temper that interest some.
Original LP Version
A1. Beautiful Thing (Richard Manuel/Rick Danko) (4:24)
A2. Carnival (Eric Clapton) (3:41)
A3. Sign Language (Bob Dylan) (2:57)
A4. County Jail Blues (Alfred Fields) (3:58)
A5. All Our Past Times (Eric Clapton/Rick Danko) (4:36)
B1. Hello Old Friend (Eric Clapton) (3:34)
B2. Double Trouble (Otis Rush) (4:19)
B3. Innocent Times (Eric Clapton/Marcy Levy) (4:10)
B4. Hungry (Dick Sims/Marcy Levy) (3:37)
B5. Black Summer Rain (Eric Clapton) (4:55)
CD reissue bonus track
11. Last Night (Walter Jacobs) (4:51)
Eric Clapton with Aggie, Brains Bradley, Sandy Castle, Connie, Rick Danko, Terry Danko, Jesse Ed Davis, Bob Dylan, Yvonne Elliman, Bob Ellis, Georgie Fame, Albhy Galuten, Geoffrey Harrison, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Chris Jagger, Konrad Kramer, Dick La Palm, Dread Lever, Marcy Levy, Dominic Lumetta, Richard Manuel, Nello, Jamie Oldaker, Pete, Billy Preston, Carl Radle, Robbie Robertson, Sergio Pastora Rodriguez, Larry Samuels, Dick Simms, Wilton Spears, George Terry, Mick Turner, Wah Wah Watson, Ronnie Wood. Produced by Rob Fraboni in association with Eric Clapton and Carl Dean Radle. Recordings engineered by Ed Anderson, Nat Jeffrey and Ralph Moss.
Did You Know?
- Producer Rob Fraboni was the best man at the wedding of Eric Clapton and Pattie Boyd.
- Clapton’s racist remarks concerning the wogs led to the formation of Rock Against Racism, which organized a benefit concert featuring Elvis Costello, who was himself later accused of racist remarks against James Brown and Ray Charles by former Clapton collaborator Bonnie Bramlett (proving, I suppose, that stupidity tends to go in circles).
- Clapton cited “Hello Old Friend,” “All Our Past Times” and “Black Summer Rain” as his personal favorites from the album (source: http://theband.hiof.no/articles/clapton_interview_sounds_oct_1976.html).
Released on elpee, 8-track and cassette on August 27, 1976 in the UK (RSO, 2479 179/3216 172), the US and Canada (RSO, RS/8T/RS4-1-3004), Brazil, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Uruguay (RSO, 2394 172), Italy (RSO, 813 582-4) and Japan (Polydor, MWF-1013); reached #8 on the UK charts and #15 on the US charts. Italian cassette switches tracks A5 and B5. 8-track features different track order. Also released on elpee in 1977 in Yugoslavia (RTB, LP 5642).
- Re-issued on elpee in 1983 in the UK (RSO, SPELP-2), and in Japan (RSO, 18MW 0046).
- Re-issued on cassette in Canada (RSO, TIMC-93011) as part of The Timeless Series.
- Re-issued on cassette in Saudi Arabia (IMD, IMD-6324).
- Re-issued on compact disc in 1986 in Japan (RSO, P33W 25006).
- Re-released on expanded, remastered compact disc in 1988 in the US (Polydor, 813 582-2) with one bonus track.
- Re-issued on expanded, remastered compact disc on September 10, 1996 in the US and Canada (Polydor, 1824-2) with one bonus track.
- Re-issued on expanded, remastered on March 5, 1997 in Japan (Polydor, POCP-2535) with one bonus track.
- Re-issued on expanded, remastered compact disc in 1998 in Japan (Polydor, POCP-9122) with one bonus track.
- Re-issued on expanded, remastered compact disc on November 21, 2001 in Japan (Polydor, UICY-9161) with one bonus track.
- Re-issued on expanded, remastered compact disc in 2002 in Japan (Universal, UICY-2328) with one bonus track.
- Re-issued on expanded, remastered compact disc in 2008 in the UK (Universal, 9834606).
- Re-released on expanded super high material compact disc on September 24, 2008 in Japan (Polydor, UICY-93634) with one bonus track.
- Re-issued on expanded SHMCD on November 9, 2011 in Japan (Polydor, UICY-25058) with one bonus track.