sun 17/12/2017

CD: Eric Clapton - I Still Do | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Eric Clapton - I Still Do

CD: Eric Clapton - I Still Do

What does the legendary blues merchant still have left to say?

Clapton: unconvincing

Sometimes it seems that Eric Clapton’s versatility and musical range still remain underappreciated. How during the Slowhand era, for instance, he mixed elements of country with a fine ear for West Coast sensibilities. Then there was Unplugged, almost two decades later, which, most agree, practically defined the whole genre. Even Clapton's Eighties power-pop possessed an infectious lightness of touch. All of which makes it harder to understand why I Still Do's musical digressions fall so flat.

The record starts off on safe ground – “Alabama Woman Blues” is the kind of track Clapton can cut in his sleep. But, like Old Sock before it, it soon loses direction. You might think producer Glyn Johns – a man who has produced the Stones and Led Zeppelin, not to mention the Slowhand album – would know what a veteran multimillionaire can and cannot get away with. But for the most part this LP sounds anything but convincing.

That’s not to say I Still Do doesn’t have its moments. A couple of tracks from JJ Cale, unsurprisingly, work perfectly well. But, mostly, Clapton’s own songs barely get out of first gear. “Spiral” – a kind of pub-rocker – contains some particularly hollow-sounding lines: “You don’t know what it means/ to have this music in me”. At least it has some vigour. Clapton's journeys to the lighter end of the spectrum, though, just seem limp. “Catch the Blues” wants to be jazzy but ends up flimsy and loungey. Similarly, EC's reading of “Little Man you’ve had a Busy Day”, instead of sounding wise and sad, feels mumbling and sentimental. Finally, there is the lacklustre jazz-rock of “I Will Be There”, rumoured to feature posthumous vocals from George Harrison. Whether it really is him or not, though, can't change the fact that this album has precious little heart in it.

Comments

Russ Coffey... you are better than eric clapton? Even one something. If different, there is no convincing to your opinion. and Being represented by the criticism is just the critics themselves. Critic is just a merchant.

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