Friday, May 20, 2016

Eric Clapton - I Still Do - Reviewed at 2¾ Stars

Eric Clapton's 23rd new studio album clocks in at just over 54 minutes. There's good stuff here, but it's not one that will be regarded as among his best.

The new album's title comes from something Clapton's Great-Aunt Audrey told him before she died . He recalls going to see her and told her, “I want to thank you for being so kind to me when I was a little boy." She said, “I liked you. And I still do.” Eric went on to say, “That's blessed, really. It just says it all.”

The album cover art comes from Sir Peter Blake's portrait of Eric for a program cover from concerts he performed a year ago at London's Royal Albert Hall for his 70th birthday. Eric liked the portrait and thought that, since it had not been circulated much, it wouldn't do any harm to use it again for the album cover. Further, commenting that “I thought it was appropriate.”

I Still Do is a good album with great musicianship, and production from Glyn Johns. The album kicks off good and rolls along well, it's only after half way through this album where you'll begin to lose interest. What's missing is what all record company's want … hit singles. They're just not here. Overall this album is one that I really enjoyed, but it falls flat in the end with the covers chosen.

All of the tracks are covers except "Catch the Blues" and "Spiral." The rest is a varied assortment of songs that even includes a few familiar jazz numbers. Eric says this album came about from bull sessions with the musicians. Tossing around ideas, Eric said he'd put forth a melody or a riff, bits of unfinished work that still lingered, and that, along with several suggested covers were all put to Glyn to work with. In all Clapton says they recorded 20 tracks in these sessions and from there they collectively chose the best of these for inclusion on this new album.

Today Eric is all about endurance, reflection, and appreciation and as he puts it, “At least this album is fresh in that it's me, at this moment.”

Clapton’s new album features contributions from Henry Spinetti, Dave Bronze, Andy Fairweather Low, Paul Carrack, Chris Stainton, Simon Climie, Dirk Powell, Walt Richmond, Ethan Johns, Michell John, Sharon White, and Angelo Mysterioso.

Angelo Mysterioso was a pseudonym used long ago by the late George Harrison. The re-appearance of the now famous moniker is not from a past recording with George. The song “I Will Be There” is too sharp, and crisp. It is a new recording, and although Eric would not name the artist using the Angelo Mysterioso pseudonym, it's obvious when listening, that it is George Harrison's son Dhani that is featured on this song. Clapton did say that the musician in question felt quite honored to be allowed to use that pseudonym.

The overall here is, it's an average album that comes across as laid-back and casual. From the cover art to the track selection, it's all about where Eric is today, and sadly we find run of the mill output from an Iconic Guitar Gun-Slinging Rock 'N Roll legend.

No Fire, Uninspired Rate this 2¾ Stars.

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