Slowhand

Eric Clapton

RSO, 1977

http://www.ericclapton.com

REVIEW BY: Curtis Jones

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/13/2015

To me, Eric Clapton's 1977 album Slowhand falls into a very elite class of classic classic rock albums. It has just enough axe grinding, just enough lyricism, just enough introspection, just enough catchiness to fully cover everything needed in the genre. Although it seems like Eric Clapton has been around forever, and had already been so even in 1977, Slowhand was only his fifth solo studio album. Yet it's timeless.

The album rings from the opening blues ruff of "Cocaine," a song that is so catchy and has a groove so comfortable that you feel wrong singing along to a hymn for such a destructive drug.  From there, Clapton moves into "Wonderful Tonight," which has endured as one of his most classic love songs. It doesn't feel like a 1970s love song, though; it has a more modern taste that has helped it age well. "Lay Down Sally" is a fun, country-sounding track that has also lasted as a classic. It sounds like some mix of Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bob Dylan and it works. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Those first three tracks were the album's hit singles, so for the remainder of the album you are sliding down into the portion of Clapton’s catalog you don't usually hear on the radio. "Next Time You See Her" is a schizophrenic love song where a man is crooning about his former love, but to her new beau. So the song is essentially Clapton saying, "She's the love of my life, and she'll break your heart – and by the way I'm going to kill you." Add to that the fact that Clapton's voice sounds like it's been through a tobacco shredder, this song is a great one. "We're All The Way" is a quiet and subdued love song but it is surprisingly catchy. "May You Never" is similar, although it is at a little faster tempo, and Clapton's voice sounds so relaxed and smooth. "Mean Old Frisco" is the only true grinding blues tune on the album.

The chaff of the album resides in "The Core," which is a duet with Marcy Levy that has some decent guitar riffs and hooks. The problem is that it runs for nearly nine seemingly interminable minutes when there is no redeeming value in a runtime that long. Cut this song down to four minutes and it would have stood well next to the rest of the album. "Peaches And Diesel" is an instrumental that takes the last track of the disc, and it is a fine song, but there really is no value added there. It is vanilla and feels like a filler track.

Overall, Slowhand is one of Clapton's best albums and one of the best of the 1970s, especially the late ’70s. Classic Clapton. 

Rating: A-

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