Now that acts like The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, and The Zombies have marked their 50th anniversaries, those who got their start in 1963 are beginning to roll out more sonic celebrations, and classic rock heroes don’t get any bigger than Eric Clapton.
I was fortunate enough to catch the second show on his current 50th anniversary tour and review it for the Houston Press. It was a solid overview of his career from the blues of Robert Johnson which motivated him early on, to tracks from Cream and Derek and the Dominos, and choice cuts from his solo career.
Two songs from the setlist came from his new record, Old Sock. Rolling Stone described it as “comfort music,” and we find a way-laid back Eric on record as cozy and content as the cover photo of him smiling in the sun and the barnyard wooden-plank font of the lettering.
In the record’s 10 covers, he tackles tunes including some from the Great American Songbook (“All of Me,” “Our Love is Here to Stay”), blues (“Further On Down the Road,” “Still Got the Blues”), reggae (Peter Tosh‘s “Till Your Well Runs Dry”), folk (Leadbelly‘s “Goodnight Irene”), soul (Otis Redding‘s “Your One and Only Man”), and country (“Born to Lose”).
Of the two originals, “Gotta Get Over” is the closest thing to rock, and the sweet, lolling “Every Little Thing” even features guest vocals from Clapton’s young daughters. The record is also seeded with guest appearances from Paul McCartney, Steve Winwood, J.J. Cale, and Taj Mahal, as well as mainstays from Clapton’s band including Doyle Bramhall II, Willie Weeks, and Chris Stainton.
Old Sock makes a great soundtrack to play outdoors during a sunny afternoon with a cold, preferably fruit-based drink in hand (and Classic Rock Bob has personally tested it under these conditions).
Staring his 68th birthday in the eye, Slowhand is slowing down, but he’s hardly ready to retire. And while he recently claimed he’d stop touring at age 70, he also expressed admiration for bluesmen like B.B. King – still onstage today at 87 – as well as Pinetop Perkins, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, and Robert Lockwood, Jr., who also plucked strings and pounded keys well into their ’80s and ’90s. We can only hope that Clapton follows suit.