The Album: Eric Clapton has worn many musical personas over the years, tying them all together with his gritty guitar and distinctive vocal. So it goes with his new set Old Sock, Eric’s 20th studio album. The beauty of the record lies in its eclectic collection of tunes, a mostly laid-back affair which ranges from Great American Songbook standards to Otis Redding and JJ Cale covers, with a touch of Peter Tosh reggae and down-home country thrown in for good measure. Clapton wrote only two of the twelve songs (“Gotta Get Over” and “Every Little Thing”), and both are strong Claptonesque rockers. All in all, the varied styles in material flow together well, and clearly reflect Eric’s wide range of personal musical tastes. The playing is stellar, and features contributions from drummers Steve Gadd, Jim Keltner and Abe Laboriel, Jr. as well as special guests Chaka Khan, Steve Winwood and Taj Mahal among others. Also noteworthy are a couple of superb string arrangements by Nick Ingman.
The Bassists: Willie Weeks handles the bulk of the bass chores here, playing both electric and upright, and he is spot-on as always in groove and taste. Paul McCartney also lends a hand (well, actually two) on “All Of Me”, playing upright– perhaps his famous Bill Black bass– and adding some nice harmonies. Paul’s upright is a bit low in the mix, but authentically so.
Best Tracks: “Angel”, “Born To Lose”, “Goodnight Irene”, “Still Got The Blues”, “Every Little Thing”