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"Further on Down the Road" by Eric Clapton
WE! Previews Eric Clapton’s New Album, Old Sock, Track By Track
First Impressions of OLD SOCK From The Editor of Where's Eric!
Interesting title for Eric Clapton’s new album, his first since leaving the Warner’s stable after close to 30 years. Its origins come from Eric being so impressed with David Bowie’s recent single release, "Where Are We Now", that he sent a message, thanking Bowie for such a beautiful song. Bowie replied appreciatively, referring to Eric as “Old Sock”, whereupon Eric sought Bowie’s blessing to use that as his album title. The unorthodox album cover is apparently a self-portrait by Eric taken on his iPhone in Antigua.
The recording band for Old Sock features EC's longtime collaborators Steve Gadd (drums), Willie Weeks (bass), Chris Stainton (keyboards) Michelle John (backing vocals), Sharon White (backing vocals) along with some surprise guests. The album was produced by Eric Clapton, Doyle Bramhall II, Justin Stanley and Simon Climie.
With the benefit of just a few advanced listens, here’s a brief track by track summary of EC’s 21st studio album, Old Sock (Bushbranch Records):
Further On Down The Road
Forget any notion you may have had that this is Further on Up the Road in disguise. It ain’t! Lilting reggae, organ swirls, harmonica solo, classy backing vocals, Eric’s voice right up in the mix. Modest little guitar solo builds nicely with high-pitched dampened notes to wrap the song up.
JJ Cale shuffle, possibly an outtake from the Escondido sessions. Lead guitars more to the fore, with melodic fills throughout, steel guitar, rim shots, nice harmony vocals again. Catchy hook too.
The Folks Who Live On The Hill
Would not have sounded out of place on the Clapton album. Schmaltzy waltz, beautifully played, strings, brushes, Eric on nylon string guitar.
Gotta Get Over
Well known to internet users by now – i.e. the world! Its also the first single from the album having been released to radio mid-month. Strident, chugging riff leads into strong vocals, memorable hook and some fat guitar licks. I danced across the kitchen floor to this one! From the Doyle Bramhall II school of rock with Chaka Khan joining in on backing vocals! If you haven’t heard it, CLICK HERE.
Till Your Well Runs Dry
Fairly faithful reproduction of the Peter Tosh standard, with the slightly soulful intro leading to more familiar reggae territory. Atmospheric solo from Eric.
All Of Me
Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, they’ve all done this. But nobody ever played fuzz guitar on it before! Barrelhouse piano, bit of a fun pub knees up actually. Showcasing Paul McCartney (bass / vocals) no less and the lovely vocal talents of Michelle John and Sharon White.
Born To Lose
Yeehaaah! C&W soft-shoe shuffle cover of a Hank Snow original, recorded previously by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Ray Charles. Eric shines on dobro.
Still Got The Blues
Yes, the Gary Moore version, much appreciated from some of Eric’s 2011 live concerts. Lovely organ from Steve Winwood and acoustic fills lead us in, subtle echo on the vocals. Strings initially rather overpower the (electric) guitar solo but it builds admirably and is still a very very classy number.
Perhaps best remembered by EC fans from the Chas n’ Dave Christmas special on ITV from 1982. This version flows easier than that version and has everything on it – violin, banjo, mandolin, accordion, dobro.
Your One and Only Man
Reggae feel again for this Otis Redding number but with some dirty, funky, under-stated guitar. The harmonica sounds great and is reminiscent of Stevie Wonder. Unusual ending that fades out as if they’d decided enough was enough.
Every Little Thing
Co-written with Doyle Bramhall II, strong melody again leads into a reggae chorus. You sense this one could really break out into a great jam with extended guitar solos until…is that Eric’s daughters singing the chorus at the end?!
Our Love Is Here To Stay
From the film, An American in Paris, performed by Gene Kelly. Another probable Clapton album outtake, slow shuffle, piano to the fore, dreamy steel guitar solo. Jim Keltner is behind the kit for this track.
Old Sock is a natural follow-up to 2010's Clapton album and sees Eric continuing the theme of reproducing songs that have been important to him throughout his life, with reggae, soul, jazz and, of course, the blues, all featured. Eric’s playing is slightly more adventurous here and there is a relaxed, harmonious, fun feel to the album, as reflected in the album’s title and artwork. It's out 12 March in North America on EC’s Bushbranch Records and distributed by Surfdog Records. Polydor Records will distribute to the rest of the world with release dates between 22 and 27 March. It will be released on CD, vinyl and in digital formats.