Classic Rock n Roll Web Site
Released - 1977 on PolyGram Records. Produced by Glyn Johns
Eric Clapton - Lead Guitars and Lead Vocals
George Terry - Guitar
I never looked at Eric Clapton as The Guitar God, as so many of his fans did, but clearly he is one of rock's best axemen. I also always felt Eric was better off in a real band, not his band, like what he uses for his solo albums, but in a band like Cream, or the Yardbirds, or Blind Faith. After all, Clapton was never a "show-off" type of guitar player, he always seem more laid back, and he could have fitted in so many great bands and just let his guitar do the talking; while only singing lead on an occasional song. But then I look at Slowhand, and with this album, well, I guess I have to take all of that back. Slowhand is one masterpiece, and it had to be a Eric Clapton solo project to turn out the way it did.
Slowhand starts off with three of its four best songs. The opening number, "Cocaine", written by JJ Cale, is a great cover, and sung by Clapton around the time that he had kicked his heroin habit. I remember reading a review of this song when it first came out, with the reviewer criticizing Eric for recording such a song when he had just kicked a monkey off his back. Well damn, it wasn't like this great song alone would lead him back to his old habits. That review, along with the help of a few other bad ones, made me think that most record reviewers were mainly full of shit, why would anybody ever what to write reviews, anyway? Can't people just listen to a song or album and make up their own minds? (Well as I grew older and was offered a job writing reviews myself, I guess I changed my mind on this matter.)
The three other top songs on this album are even better than it's opener. My favorite of the bunch is the country sounding "Lay Down Sally", thanks in part to the wonderful vocal harmonies sang by the song's co-author, Marcy Levy. I've written many times how I'm a sucker for a heavy bass line, and the late Carl Radle laid one down just fine on this song, the other reason I love this tune.
Levy also co-wrote my third favorite song on this LP, "The Core", and again, this song is hot in part thanks to her shared lead vocals with Clapton. Overall, the music on this number just comes together so fine! As far as Clapton's band went, this is the best played song on Slowhand.
The second best song on this album was written by Clapton for his wife Patti, the mellow "Wonderful Tonight". Eric wrote a few songs about her, with "Layla" being the most powerful of the lot and the most famous, but I like "Wonderful Tonight" better. It's a simple, slow song, yes, but I dig a guy who could overplay his guitar on all of his songs if he wanted to - but doesn't. Clapton's slow riff here is perfect!
Some of the most interesting lyrics found on Slowhand are sang on "Next Time You See Her". The song's vocals starts off sounding like it's gonna be a love song, surely not a song that threatens death to this "other guy", who the song is sang to and actually what the song is about.
The remaining songs are all good ones too, with the best of this remaining bunch being the bluesy cover "Mean Old Frisco". This is Clapton's best solo album, no question in my mind, anyway.
- Keno, 2005
To listen to some soundclips from SLOWHAND or to purchase, it click on: Slowhand [35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
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