A cd review that I wrote for Play Magazine

ERIC CLAPTON/Me and Mr. Johnson



Because of what I do for a living, I am often asked, “which band is your favorite?” or, “what kind of music do you like the most?” Not easy questions to answer because my musical tastes are varied but I always go back to one sure thing: The Blues and, more specifically, blues guitar.

Ten years ago Eric Clapton released “From The Cradle”, an album of nothing but blues tunes. I was in heaven. He toured behind the album and I remember being at the Garden watching Clapton sitting in a white suit just him and his guitar and it was amazing. Of course the people who had come expecting Clapton to do his pop stuff were bored to tears (and also really ill-informed as to what the tour was all about) but they also sadly missed the point and the pleasure of who and what Eric Clapton is.

And now he’s gone and done it again with “Me and Mr. Johnson”, Eric Clapton’s tribute to bluesman Robert Johnson.

“It’s a remarkable thing, “ Clapton says in the cd’s liner notes, “to have been driven and influenced all of my life by the work of one man”.

Remarkable, indeed. There really is not much more to say. The 14 songs speak for themselves. A bluesman covers a bluesman.

Oh yeah and there’s also the extra added treat of the other musicians who play on the album: those musicians include Steve Gadd, Nathan East, Billy Preston, Doyle Bramhall II and Jim Keltner.

Robert Johnson was born in 1911 and died (from most accounts by having been poisoned) in 1938. Perhaps the most startling thing that I have learned about Robert Johnson is that he had only started recording his music about 2 years before his death. Thankfully we have people like Eric Clapton to keep it alive.

Buy the cd, listen to it and when you are done listen to it again. And again. And again.

Thanks, Eric.

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