One of My Most Favorites, Eric Clapton

I have written about some of my favorite artists but today I wanted to write about one of my most favorite artists (if there is such a thing as most favorite), Eric Clapton.

I want to write about the honesty in his work which I am sure translates into him as a person.

A few years back my wife bought some CD’s at a yard sale and among the many that she brought home was Eric Clapton’s “Pilgrim”.

When I first reviewed the CD insert I looked at the credits.  I noticed it was all electronic programmed drums.  That instantly turned me off.   But when I finally sat down and started listening to it I liked it and it quickly became one of my favorite Clapton albums.

One of my favorite songs on “Pilgrim” is “River of Tears”.  At first I couldn’t believe that “River of Tears” was programmed drums.

Right before I got this album I read Eric Clapton’s autobiography, Clapton: The Autobiography”.

Pilgrim was written and recorded in 1997 and from what I gather after reading his life’s story “River of Tears” and the whole album for that matter was commenting on a very dark period of his life.  He had suffered the loss of his son and had been battling alcoholism for a number of years.

Listening to “River of Tears” I could instantly connect to the book, especially when he sings the lines “It’s four miles to my lonely room where I will hide my face, and about half a mile to the downtown bar that I ran from in disgrace.”

“ River of Tears” is a very bluesy, laid back song and certainly has the down and out type of lyrics for a blues song.

The honesty in his voice and the pain in some of the songs on “Pilgrim” are almost too much for me to listen to.  Sometimes I skip over them.

Now we jump ahead to this year.  Earlier in the year I discovered a Clapton album on iTunes that somehow I had missed when searching Eric Clapton in the iTunes store.

It’s mostly an R & B and soul album.

The album is “Back Home” and was released in 2005.

When reviewing the credits I saw it had two of my favorite drummers, Steve Gadd and Abe Laboriel Jr., so how could I not like this album.

What I thought was really cool about this album was that as honest as Clapton was about the dark times in his life with “Pilgrim”, on “Back Home” he is being just as honest about the good times and the serenity he has found with family and sobriety.

I listened to the song “Run Home to Me” which like “River of Tears”, is another bluesy, laid back song.  As I am listening to it I realize that just as Clapton took “River of Tears” and made it a great, honest song about pain, he took “Run Home to Me” and made it another great, honest blues song but this time it’s about happiness and joy.  It’s about the joy of watching your children grow up and the love of family, the love that you’ll always have from them and you’ll always be there for them.

I thought to myself how great is this guy at being honest in what he does.  From the deep valleys to the mountain tops he is honest about it all.

The man is in a groove and that’s what I love about Eric Clapton.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

3 thoughts on “One of My Most Favorites, Eric Clapton

  1. I too am a big Clapton fan and as a guitarist have, shall we say, borrowed his licks liberally. Interestingly, when I think of EC, it’s always in reference to his blues playing. I own a copy of “Pilgrim,” like it and quite frankly, completely forgot I owned it. I admit I have never heard of “Back Home.” I’ll add that to my (ever-growing) list of albums to give a spin. Thanks.

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    • Thanks for your comments. I steal licks from everyone. If I like it I learn it. Speaking of Clapton and blues give a listen to his performance of Ray Charles’ Hard Times on 24 Nights. I like Clapton’s voice as much as his guitar.

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      • I’m glad to hear you say that about Clapton’s voice. A lot of critics dismiss his singing but I find it very evocative, even moving, no matter what the genre.

        And when you mentioned 24 Nights, I at first confused it with ‘Just One Night’, from which I used to listen to ‘Double Trouble’ relentlessly. I love him and Albert Lee playing together on that album. ‘Hard Times’ is a great song. I’ll give it a spin. Thanks.

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