Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Continued from the Comments in the "Clapton Is God" (Lie) Post Below

Write Procrastinator:
A) Cream was just Clapton's I-wish-I-were-Hendrix phase. Great music, but where was the "innovation"? Jack Bruce wrote the songs and Clapton imitated Hendrix on guitar. It's entertaining and accomplished music, but not innovative. Blind Faith was merely a lark on which Winwood was clearly the driving force. Clapton was along for the ride. Again, that album is a good-to-great listen, but I don't see/hear the innovation (Mainly, I just hear Winwood's distinctive vocals).
B) Derek & The Dominos - OK, now that album is some good shit. The song "Layla" is overrated. But, "Bell Bottom Blues" is a f*cking that little tickling-of-the-strings thing he's doing around two and a half minutes into the song...way cool. "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" is some pretty inspired playing, as well.
C) The rest of his catalog (1972 or 3 on up) varies from uninspired (e.g. "Lay Down Sally") to unlistenable (e.g. his wretched cover of "I Shot The Sheriff").

Old Lady: See, it's the "landmark" type of talk that kills me. I've never understood why he's singled out as such a great player. As you can see from my reply to Write Procrastinator, I have a decent appreciation for most of Clapton's '60s music (up through, and especially the D&D stuff from '71). He was just always at least a half a step, if not a full step or more, behind the curve. For those who rave about his work with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in 1965, I'd like to turn your attention to other white-boy blues guitarists of that era (Read: Mike Bloomfield with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in 1964--You know, the guy who played the killer riffs on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited LP). Hey, I don't find Clapton to lack "technique" but GUT FEEL is where I find him lacking. And, he was never an innovator...never.

Keith: It's not Clapton. It's the kiss-ass chorus that seems to surround him. The guy is good...just FAR from deserving of all the praise.


Blogger Beth said...

You go, Haahnster! Wouldn't you give a lot of the Derek & The Dominoes guitar brilliance credit to Duane Allman?

12:21 PM, December 06, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

My natural inclination was to think that. However, a couple of the early sessions (including the one that produced "Bell Bottom Blues") took place prior to Duane's involvement. So, I think Clapton was at his peak anyway. That said, Duane's presence was important in two ways: 1) his playing was superb (as always) and 2) he kept E.C. from phoning it in on any of the tracks. I mean, that "Layla..." LP is solid from start to finish.

PS - I think Duane came up with the famous intro riff to the title track, but that's not well-documented.

1:53 PM, December 06, 2006  
Blogger Old Lady said...

I supposed what I am trying to say is that he took a little known genre and put it out there. He, at that time of experimentation, was a damn good guitar player. I agree that he was not innovative like many other damn fine guitar players. In music there are originals who create and those who interpret. Take classical music, for instance. No innovation or originality there for those who play it today, but interpreters, those who feel the music and the instrument are lauded. I think Clapton is the type of person who likes to play and got lucky. I was once told that thousands of fine guitar players and innovators can be found on most street corners, success and accolades are lucky occurances.

Let's face it rhythm and blues was innovated in the late 19th and early 20th century-rock and roll is it's baby and people like Eric Clapton, Butterfield Blues, Hendrix took it to different levels.

I think were Clapton gets his accolades and 'worship' from is his staying power. He is still alive and playing and playing well. But he is not God.

7:53 PM, December 06, 2006  
Blogger Beth said...

Duane's writing the opening "Layla" riff is included in the elementary school curriculum here in his state of Georgia.

8:53 PM, December 06, 2006  
Blogger rabidt said...

Great photo with the dog - if I were an English chap walking by that scene, I'd have to say, "Brilliant!"

Oh yeah, and...FUCK CLAPTON!

Keep taking 'em on, Haahnster. You're doing GOD's work with this one.

Let's see, best moments of Clapton's career: solo on "I Ain't Got You," Yardbirds. One time when listening to it, I thought for a second it was from the Beck era. And...that's it! Actually, no - the way Hamish Grimes introduces him on "Five Live Yardbirds," is truly the best moment of his career.

Ok, I like "Bell Bottom Blues," too. Clapton was a big fan of the Band, and this song is his best attempt to recreate their magic that I've heard (the rest of his many attempts prove that he was not up to the task). He's definitely tapping into Robertson's trick-bag with his playing here (esp. the tickling effect mentioned). Not bad, but not innovative (again, basically all ideas used in the arrangement were straight out of the Band's work).

Intro phrase to "Layla" was first written by Albert King and used in his song "As the Years Go Passing By." Duane sped this phrase up and added it to Clapton's song (yes, I do believe it was Duane who provided the signature riff on Clapton's signature song). If you listen to King's track you'll feel that it's quite a bit different, but yet we should recognize how it's the same, too. Debts that need to be paid somehow - best to at least recognize them.

Anyway, he's had about the worst tone of any major guitar player for the last 30 years or so, so fuck him, I say. Why do we let him get away with that?

One more thing, 2nd solo on "Crossroads," big fucking deal.

10:32 PM, December 06, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

OL: I sense you're losing steam...I'm about to declare victory on this one!

Beth: Glad to hear they start 'em young.

RabidT: Welcome back to HH after a long hiatus! Thanks for the additional history lesson. I never made the direct "Bell Bottom Blues"/The Band connection. Good call. I would advise anyone with an open mind to take a quick listen to Dylan's Blonde On Blonde LP, say "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" for example. It will become clear that Robbie Robertson would've eaten Clapton's lunch for him.

Also, the Albert King info is sweet. I'm going to dig out my Albert King b**tleg now.

And, you dare to belittle the so-called "majestic" 2nd solo on "Crossroads"...well, so do I. Ditto for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"...great song, but the solo is a bit on the ho-hum side. I'll take Jimmy Page's solo from Donovan's "Sunshine Superman" over Clapton's on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"...a fucking Donovan song, for chrissakes!!!

11:26 PM, December 06, 2006  
Blogger Old Lady said...

Leave Donovan alone!

Speaking of well loved icons, Sting (no groaning) is producing a 16th century mandolin CD. He was a guest on a morning news show. His mandolin player was from Eastern Europe and he (the mandolin player) was a joy to watch and hear. He loved his instrument. He was invovled with it. He probably sleeps with it. That is what I am talking about and that is what Clapton has.

6:53 AM, December 07, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

"He probably sleeps with it. That is what I am talking about and that is what Clapton has."

Well, they need to start waking his ass up before they roll the tape! I knew tripe such as "Wonderful Tonight" put me to sleep. I didn't realize Clapton was asleep while recording it.

Donovan is a "well-loved icon?" I'll let it go. But, on the other hand, Sting?


7:00 AM, December 07, 2006  
Blogger Old Lady said...

I knew that would get your goat!

I was really impressed with the mandolin player.

11:44 AM, December 07, 2006  

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