Clapton's blues playing...show me what the fuss is about.

Wyatt Martin

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3,998
Not a fan myself but there are a couple songs for me that I think are really good. The late 80s early 90s "Soldano" era is my favorite.

While I might not think some of his licks are awe inspiring but his vibrato I think is one of the best.
 
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Deleted member 185106

He's a great player. I don't know how much of his catalog really holds up in the grand scheme of things outside of Cream. The fuss is mostly nostalgia.
 

tapeworm

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Clapton is a blues player down to his bones. Always has been. He’s been playing blues for over 50 years. How long does he have to play blues to be considered a blues guitarist?
If you consider what he does to be blues then that’s fine w me. I consider it to be a rock guitarist playing blues. :aok

This is confusing.

What do you call Freddie King doing Hideaway/The Stumble then???
Shouldn’t be confusing. I believe it is pretty clear to anyone Freddie King was a blues guitarist and a bluesman. I think it’s safe to say you like your blues a little more rocked up and that’s cool if that’s what you like.
 
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Daytona57

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3,389
In Eric Clapton's movie, Life in 12 Bars,
he explains that he knew his limitations playing the guitar, and he reinvented himself several times musically.

He struggled with addictions and turned his life around. He was straight forward and humble. I have to respect him for this, more than his ability to play the guitar.


YMMV
 

Billyzoom1

Silver Supporting Member
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781
You have to put the "Clapton is God" thing in context, which was the music of the 60s and 70s. Have you listened to his "Just One Night" live album at the Budokan?
No, I haven't. I'll check that out. Thanks.
 

Billyzoom1

Silver Supporting Member
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781
In Eric Clapton's movie, Life in 12 Bars,
he explains that he knew his limitations playing the guitar, and he reinvented himself several times musically.

He struggled with addictions and turned his life around. He was straight forward and humble. I have to respect him for this, more than his ability to play the guitar.


YMMV
I wasn't aware of that...very cool. Reminds me of part of what I loved about SRV at the end.
 

Billyzoom1

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781
OP, what year were you born? It means a lot, makes a difference, cause if you weren't around, you don't know the dreck that folks had to hoist Eric up out of.

When I was in something like fifth grade, and Sunshine of Your Love came on, it was just lethal compared to what else was on. Heavy and groovy the guitar soared with emotion. Most people got it, big time.

The blues thing Eric did, was apply some gain, some deliberate muscle, to what he heard from Freddie and Albert, BB, and Buddy. He put that energy, systematically in front of white folks. He was digestible, out agro'd by Beck and eclipsed by Hendrix pretty quickly perhaps. But in the moment, with his greasy perfect vibrato and sweet phrasing, he had the world in his hand, I think deservedly so.

Take a full listen from the early days to his modern era stuff, take your time. There is very worthy music there. The construct of GOAT is horse crap of course, until you get to Hendrix, who basically rolled up everything thing up to then, dipped it in chocolate and LSD and shoved it up the world's tookas. Im an old person, heard a lot of great guitar music, but I'm a willing fossil, still marveling at Beck and Hendrix, who are really difficult to copy. Clapton is at least do-able.

What ever, nobody else really cares what I think, or you. See if you can play that way or better, if so, perhaps someone will listen and give you a golf clap here and there, which is all I've ever wanted or received. Have fun, play passionately, whatever your muse delivers to you.

Super post...really helpful. thanks. I was born in '64, so I just missed some of the cpntext of how he changed the landscape of things..
 

Billyzoom1

Silver Supporting Member
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781
I'm generally not a fan of Clapton in most settings, but there are certain moments from him made deep impressions when I first encountered them. Honestly, I still think of the following solo as being one of the most raw, fiery, and expressive pieces of rock guitar playing ever recorded:


That was truly badass. Thanks.
 

Sweetfinger

Gold Supporting Member
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13,991
I wish I could. Unlike a whole generation of players, I largely bypassed Clapton's 60s material. He was always revered but I couldn't quite square up the myth and reverence with the stuff I heard on the radio, like "I Shot The Sheriff", "The Core", "She's Waiting", etc.
By the time I got a copy of the "Beano" disc, I was already nice and goodly steeped in BB, Albert. and Freddy, (and Freddie) King.
You know when you're diving on Youtube and come across a cover tune 45 of some 60s hit recorded by an aspiring garage band? Like some mop topped kids from Omaha knocking out a cover of "Baby Please Don't Go", or an Animals cover of an American soul hit, and it's perfectly fine enough but not as good as the record they obviously learned it from?
That's what the Beano album sounds like to me. Decent, but not particularly great covers of songs I already know and love.
I'm sure i would feel differently if that record was my introduction to all that material, and would really cherish it if I had NEVER heard the source material.
Clapton's rock type material is different. He has done lovely and interesting things as a performer and writer, but for me, his early "blues" career remains sort of uninteresting
 

RedRedWorm

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OP, what year were you born? It means a lot, makes a difference, cause if you weren't around, you don't know the dreck that folks had to hoist Eric up out of.



Take a full listen from the early days to his modern era stuff, take your time. There is very worthy music there. The construct of GOAT is horse crap of course, until you get to Hendrix, who basically rolled up everything thing up to then, dipped it in chocolate and LSD and shoved it up the world's tookas. Im an old person, heard a lot of great guitar music, but I'm a willing fossil, still marveling at Beck and Hendrix, who are really difficult to copy. Clapton is at least do-able.

.

Woah!
 

GibsonGeek

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1,597
I appreciate Clapton's blues playing, but not really to the point that others seem to. When I hear the reverence given to Clapton with regard to blues (e.g., how they used to write "Clapton is God" on the walls), I don't quite get it. Part of it was getting past what seems to me to be contrived roughness in his blues vocals, but even that aside, much of what I've heard doesn't to me merit what all the fuss is about (I'm not saying he shouldn't be in the conversation of great blues guitarists, I'm moreso wondering why a good amount of people put him at the TOP or close to the top of the heap.)

Having said that, I still have appreciation for him...for example, I own "From the Cradle", some of which I REALLY like. The first time I listened to Five Long Years and Someday After a While, for the first time, I finally could understand some why he's regarded so highly. (Then again, those are both a good example of the vocals I don't really care for.)

But even with that, if you listen to Coco Montoya's version of Someday After a While, I prefer both his guitar playing and his vocals. Not every player will resonate equally with every fan, I get it. But I'd really like to learn more what the fuss is about. If any of you are big Clapton fans, maybe you can share some other examples that show some transcendent Clapton. I'm sure it's out there.
I don’t get it either, I’ve tried. Then again, I’m a Kiss fan.
 

derek_is_eric

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445
It's hard to listen to the Layla album and not have some manner of pain truly resonate with you, may it be through the songs, the lyrics, or the licks and guitar interplay.

Isn't that the blues?

As far as licks and pyrotechnics, pretty much any live recording from Mayall through Derek, and even plenty of examples throughout the rest of the 70's, the 80's, 90's, and even 00's, qualify.

But Layla, for me, is his purest expression of emotion and feeling, such that I can't see it classified as anything other than the blues.
 

MrGuitarhack

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3,269
It's hard to listen to the Layla album and not have some manner of pain truly resonate with you, may it be through the songs, the lyrics, or the licks and guitar interplay.

Isn't that the blues?

As far as licks and pyrotechnics, pretty much any live recording from Mayall through Derek, and even plenty of examples throughout the rest of the 70's, the 80's, 90's, and even 00's, qualify.

But Layla, for me, is his purest expression of emotion and feeling, such that I can't see it classified as anything other than the blues.

I agree
 

Bluesful

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45,382
Shouldn’t be confusing. I believe it is pretty clear to anyone Freddie King was a blues guitarist and a bluesman. I think it’s safe to say you like your blues a little more rocked up and that’s cool if that’s what you like.

What I like is irrelevant.

Are you suggesting that Freddie King writes and records both Hideaway and The Stumble and that's Blues, but when Clapton and Green play it on records with Mayall that's Blues Rock???
 

nashsed

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117
I was born in '88 and missed Clapton's heyday by a decade or two but I still revere him. I still remember my dad used to have "The Cream of Clapton" greatest hits CD which was my first true exposure to any form of rock or blues. Listening to the intro of I Feel Free (the opening track on the CD) instantly transports me back to 1994.

As mentioned in one of the earlier posts, I admire him not only for his guitar chops but also his versatility. The man reinvented himself at least 3-4 times as an artist which is remarkable.

From a gear or tone perspective, excluding his work with Cream which is an obvious choice, I always loved his 80's Strat tone especially in the Journeyman record.
 

wire-n-wood

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... (e.g., how they used to write "Clapton is God" on the walls), I don't quite get it.

Yeah, one guy wrote that once. I reckon he was mostly trying to piss off religious people.
Clapton is blues in his soul. Read his autobiography to see where he comes from. Highly recommended.

I'd come at it from a different angle. If you love Robert Johnson... then fine. But if you find it a bit inaccessible, then let Clapton open it up in Me and Mr Johnson. He so gets it. Listen to his acoustic blues. He's one of the best, and humble and good man with it.
 




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