Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Eric Clapton - No Reason To Cry (1976)

Hello old friend....


Released August 1976


1. Beautiful Thing
2. Carnival
3. Sign Language
4. County Jail Blues
5. All Our Past Times
6. Hello Old Friend
7. Double Trouble
8. Innocent Times
9. Hungry
10. Black Summer Rain
11. Last Night                                

This is slightly different to Eric Clapton's other mid-seventies offerings in that although it is till made up of laid-back, bluesy folky rock, it is performed at The Band's studio with various members of The Band contributing throughout, thus making it sound very much like a Band album with Clapton guesting. You hear Robbie Robertson's guitar as much as Clapton's on Sign Language and that trademark Band organ is around a lot.

Beautiful Thing is slow tempo and melodious in a Band sort of way. Carnival is a slightly incongruous mock-Caribbean upbeat rock number. It is lively enough, despite Clapton's naturally sleepy voice. The afore-mentioned Sign Language is a duet with Bob Dylan and sounds very much like it ought to be on Desire. It has a real vibe of that album about it. Dylan's vocal makes it very much a Dylan song. County Jail Blues is a muscular blues more typical of Clapton, but still very Band-esque in places, particularly the organ break. All Our Past Times is an Eagles-ish slow country ballad.

The second half of the album is far more typical Clapton. Hello Old Friend is the most well-known of the songs on the album. It has a shuffling, melodic beat to it and another quiet, laconic vocal. This is the most easily identifiable song in the pop/rock style Clapton made his own in the mid-seventies. Double Trouble is a pretty convincing blues, with some  quality guitar from Clapton.  The gospelly Innocent Times is actually sung by Marcy Levy, who co-wrote the song with Clapton. Her vocals also dominate the next track, the bluesy, shuffling Hungry.

Black Summer Rain is a very 461 Ocean Boulevard-style number. Sleepy blues rock. Last Night is a solid blues to finish off what is a listenable album, but one that, for some reason, I do not return to very often.


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