Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is Eric Clapton Really That Good (God) ? Is Slowhand Just Slow ? Is Slowhand Secondhand ?

I've often thought about Eric Clapton's God moniker, is it really deserved ? Isnt his playing sometimes downright boring ? (except E.C Was Here's " Have You Ever Loved a Woman"

There are so many other candidates who are far more exciting; Johnny Winter's explosive blues rock sound, Rory Gallagher's working class authenticity, Freddie King's complete mastery.

One of my friends disagrees totally, tells me that Eric's skill is knowing what notes not to play, while Johnny Winter plays them all....

What do you think ?

Here are some excerpts from an article on from 2007 to help you along

Tomorrow's South bank Show celebrates Eric Clapton. It's nothing new, the programme last broadcast a hagiography of him in 1987. He used to be called Slowhand, but perhaps he ought to be called Secondhand. The celebration of this cultural pilferer probably won't point out the level to which he can be uninspired, and objectionable.
He's always been questionable company. In 1965, the Yardbirds were convinced that their third single, the groundbreaking For Your Love, would be a hit, with the potential to wow the masses. But the mix of bongos, harpsichords and tempo shifts was too much for their purist guitarist. Clapton quit.
Yardbirds' drummer Jim McCarty said that "Eric had these R&B mod songs he wanted us to do. Him leaving was a relief. Eric would be sitting in the van not talking to anyone. You'd think he's so moody, he's such a pain, we're fed up with this." With that, the grumpy Clapton was free to pursue his muse.

Except that it wasn't his muse. Clapton is a serial borrower. He even borrowed Jimi Hendrix's hair in 1967, perming his barnet to emulate the recently-arrived guitar hero. Most of his 1970s hits were chugging, Mogadon-paced covers: Bob Marley's I Shot The Sheriff, Dylan's Knockin' On Heaven's Door. His creativity with Cream, such as Strange Brew, were collaborations. Left to Clapton, Cream would have played half-hour versions of Robert Johnson's Crossroads. And the thrilling guitar on Layla was played by Duane Allman.
When not channelling the talents of others, there's his tendency towards the lachrymose. If his song Wonderful Tonight, a tribute to his then wife Patti Boyd, articulated his true feelings, she must have been married to a man with all the complexity of a block of wood. Boyd's recent autobiography chronicles the control freakery that dominated the relationship, revealed his extra-marital affairs and his love of the bottle.More bizarre was his wearing of whites to watch cricket on TV. Pasta preceded viewing The Godfather.

Another musical blub fest, Tears In Heaven, was at least written in response to what must have been a nightmare - his son Conor falling to his death from a 53rd-floor apartment in 1991.
However, Clapton has no problem letting fly when he needs to get something off his chest. In 1976 - drunk and loose-lipped - he used a Birmingham concert to praise racist Tory Enoch Powell and declare that Britain was becoming a "black colony" and that he wanted "the foreigners out". (Handy that Hendrix was dead). Reports of this show led directly to the formation of Rock Against Racism. In 2004, he told Uncut mag that Powell was "outrageously brave", rather than dismiss his past comments as drunk ravings.

Clapton's popularity is a mystery - there's no fire, no abandon, no musical identity. Given a platform, Clapton will either send you to sleep or offend your musical sensibilities with pap. But both of those must be better than hearing his pathetic political views.

Here he is at his most dreary!!!

Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton

Compare it with this (ok this is really unfair !)

1 comment:

The Mad Hatter said...

Absolutely hate Clapton. Everything you and the article said I've said myself. I did a Top 50 guitarists list way back on my site and excluded him and we had some fun bashing of him in the comments. I also wrote about how Layla was all Duane and no Clap. The guy is tiring. How he still persists is beyond me. He's not Slowhand, or Secondhand; he's third rate garbage.