Eric Clapton - Complete Clapton Review

by Zane Ewton

Complete Clapton is a musical journey. Oddly enough, it comes at the same time as the brand new Eric Clapton autobiography. With the same cover art scheme, you would think these two items would be tied together. Again, this is a musical journey about a man hailed as a British guitar god and his transformation into everyone's favorite Bermuda shorts-wearing, blues guitar-playing soccer dad. The 36 tracks cover Clapton's time with Cream, Blind Faith, Derek & The Dominoes, numerous solo albums and his recent collaborations with B.B. King and J.J. Cale.

The two-disc compilation will appropriately split the two camps of Claptonites. Disc one is for the fans of his role as the pioneering guitar icon responsible for classics such as "I Feel Free", "After Midnight" and "Layla", to mention just a few. Disc two pulls together Clapton as the top 40 balladeer ("Tears in Heaven", "Change the World" and "My Father's Eyes") and his mellow return the his blues roots. ("Riding With the King", "If I had Possession over Judgment Day" and "Ride the River")

So many of these songs are rock and roll standards. They have been used in movies, inspired anyone with guitar aspirations since 1960 and are still in constant rotation on any classic rock radio station worth its weight in promotional t-shirts.

Clapton had a rough time of it in the 1980s, certainly a topic covered in his biography, and it showed in his music. Redeemed by the blockbuster success of his Unplugged session, Clapton settled into a smooth, late-career groove. His recent work is far from revolutionary but at least his side projects such as the Crossroads Guitar Festival and a celebrity rehab center in Antigua is keeping guitars in the spotlight and celebs out of the pokey.

Clapton came full circle. He started his career mining the blues, now he is one of its most notable historians. Long-time fans probably have everything they would need from him already, but anybody newly interested would find a perfect career overview with this collection.

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