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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-07-2003, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Clapton is dog

Morning dears/deers.

You know when the universe says something to you, and you just let it pass...unnoticed...for years...and life goes it ever does?

Many moons ago, I bought a guitar because of Eddie Van Halen, and have sat enraptured at every beautiful chord and every blazing note from that divine maniac's fingers. And in so many interviews when asked about influences, he's said "Clapton and Hendrix, Clapton and Hendrix."

And in my head, I heard this: "Hendrix, Hendrix."

I sought out Hendrix stuff, and I just didn't understand what all the fuss was about for ages, and then my brain gave way and I was like "Oh! So that's why everyone raves about him!" And yet...I ignored dear old Eric Clapton.

Thinking about it now, it was because all I'd ever heard was Layla, which is a classic admittedly, but I sought out Duane Allman stuff because of that song. And time passed, and Eric was just a name to respect for the sake of respect, but nothing more.

So a couple of days ago, I saw Clapton doing "I shot the Sherrif" on an old, old TV show and it was nice and all, nothing really special I thought. I noticed that his tone was amazingly "brown" a la EVH. It's wonderful that my ears can now hear this, working from my reference experience of all the VH albums. And I'm sitting there, with my guitar playing Call it Sleep or something, just picking around, and Eric starts his guitar solo.

At this point, something opened up inside of me saying "This is IT, this is IT!! WAKE UP!!" I suddenly heard it all, everything, I finally knew what the fuss was about. I heard what Eddie heard as a kid. I realised what all the "Clapton is God" graffiti was about, adorning the brickwalls of London in my youth. Clapton is nothing to do with his studio albums, it's the live 1970s stuff. This is IT. Wake up!

And the solo went on. And on. And on. I don't care that it's "just" pentatonics; puh-leeze...don't make me laugh, this is as real as it gets. I was absolutely floored. Completely blown away and taken to another place. And in the playing...I heard EVH, the part of Eddie's playing that's been elusive all these years: the feel is pure Clapton. That's what Eddie took and absorbed and transcended. And in turn influenced countless guitarists as Eric had done before him.

Frankly, I think it's a magnificent thing that these guys were inspired in their youth, and then went on to inspire our generation of players (hearing SSV talk of Jimmy Page is a true delight). It never ends does it? I remember listening to Buddy Guy after hearing Hendrix's adoration of was like "how to learn the secret Hendrix style in six easy steps". Lesson 1: it's always worthwhile to seek out your hero's influences.

And yesterday, still reeling, I tracked down Eric's 24 minute jam with Santana from the Crossroads 2 album, after some highly positive reviews all over the web. Good God, that's insane playing. I mean: that's insane playing. Beyond belief. To think this has been there all the time, I've just never focused upon it. A totally earth-shattering paradigm shift for me, akin to the first time I "got it" in reference to Passion and Warfare. A total mind flayer. It's the kind of music that makes me expand beyond myself. No excuses for the flowery language - this is deliberate poetic metaphor. This is preverbal and transverbal anyway.

So...I'm 30 years late , but cool! I've got all this archive material to enjoy and adore.

Not only was a door of perception opened, it was simultaneously dissolved for chrissakes! In Clapton's live playing in that era, he was akin to Beethoven in that he contacted "the source" and was able to communicate it perfectly with complete passion. There aren't many players like this and when I encounter one and feel the truth they're offering I am overwhelmed and truly grateful. I mentioned something like this before...the technique and life experience of these musicians comes in to contact with something grand and through their unique filter they colour the music accordingly. Imitations often follow, and on occasion genius blossoms perfectly.

I think lesson 2 here is: seek out everything and listen to everything. Be willing to be ready.

I know it's real easy to play the "but my experience says" game, so I'm just putting my experience out there, and I hope you don't play that silly game.

Hey, I finally "got it".
hamand is offline  
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-07-2003, 11:04 PM
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Wow, man...

Those moments of divine inspiration and understanding are quite rare, especially nowadays. No matter who or what the source of these blissful moments are, the fact that they have occured and changed your life is all that matters. And for that, I am glad.

I hope this inspiration allows you to grow as a musician, and therefore, a person.

Pryde7 is offline  
post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-07-2003, 11:17 PM
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Ah, the old Cream live stuff. "Spoonful" completely changed the way I looked at guitar. Sure, from a technical standpoint EC wasn't playing anything earth shattering, but who else had the balls to take 20 minute solos *with conviction* back then? Give me a Spoonful or a Machine Gun anyday. That's storytelling via guitar.
kabuki is offline  
post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 08:35 AM
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Weird - Eddie was who turned me onto guitar. I love 'em all ....Satch, SSV, PG, Morse, Moore (Vinnie & Gary!).......

I thought it only right that I dig back to hear the influences of my my influencers......and

......Hendrix - Great playing - great songs, Page....great songs, good playing in patches (sloppy though), Beck - cool is he........., Blackmore - a complete arse as a person, but he sounds ahead of the game to me, Brian May....early Queen is so ahead of it's time.....

....but Clapton, well - I just can't see it or feel it. I was under the impression that people only liked him 'cause he pulled silly faces.........I'd rather listen to Mark Knopfler cause his sound is sooooo nice, Dire Straits wrote some good tunes with real long solos when it was real uncool to do it.
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 09:16 AM
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Some people get Clapton and some don't.
I'm one of the lucky ones and I "get" him so much that I hear his playing manifest itself in works of people like SRV, Santana, Hendrix, Beck, Page, Satriani, Knopfler, Gilmour and countless others.


[graffiti]Clapton is God[/graffiti]

p.s. and by the same token as hard as I try I cannot see what people see in Hendrix.
Apart from 5-6 songs, half of which are not even his own, everything else is just noise to me.
dex is offline  
post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 10:13 AM
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It's a fact. Clapton rules. Even though he's gotten a bit "soft" lately and his last album was pretty weak, he's an incredible player, and great live. The guy probably has one of the best live guitar tones I've had the pleasure of hearing. He's a legend, and for good reason
vaijem777 is offline  
post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 10:18 AM
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You have seen the go and get all the Cream albums
pawel is offline  
post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 11:04 AM
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I did see a video of Cream at the Albert Hall and that looked pretty good - there was some fire in his playing......

Then again......I've seen his playing at various Princes Trust concerts and the man was fluffing his own songs and didn't even play the main guitar lines.......

I think Dex mentioned thathe didn't get Hendrix and only liked a few songs......I have to revisit my last post in that I have only got a 'Best of...' album that's probably worth a bit as it's a test pressing for an CD that was never released.............there's a lot of covers on there and I'm not overly keen on his own tunes......
Markie Boy is offline  
post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 01:22 PM
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i agree all his Cream stuff is fantastic
Carlo is offline  
post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 02:45 PM
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Yeah, Clapton's work in cream is great... not a massive fan, but i think he was on to something there. With the bluesbreakers, the man makes me want to cry... he's SO close to getting it, but then... *shudder*

I think even by the Layla sessions, clapton's career as a lead guitarist was virtually over. Little known fact- most of the leads (icluding both the main solo and melody line to "Layla" were written and played by Duane Allman, and while i think his songwriting was good back then, the emphasis clearly wasn't on HIS lead playing- IMO, there's a reason for that.

Likewise, when i first heard "From the Cradle" i was absolutely blown away- best thing he'd done in years, i thought. It took me a while, but now when i listen to it it's aparent that it's all flash and no substance- mostly fast, repetitive pentatonic licks and overbends, like someone's trying to impersonate clapton at his best and failing.

However, track down a copy of the Howlin' Wolf "London Sessions." That, as far as I'm concerned, is the absolute pinnacle of Clapton's career. Tone, feel, phrasing... agressive without overplaying... it's PERFECT, and the fact that Wolf is, IMO, the greatest blues vocalist I've ever run across doesn't hurt... I "get" that part of Clapton's legacy, and for a while i believed i "got" his earlier and later stuff... but i've since "gotten over" it, i suppose. I apreciate the man's accomplishments and think he deserves at least 50% of the respect he gets (and considering his MASSIVE stance as a "guitar god" in a world of players who i feel can destroy what he's doing currently, both in terms of technique, feel, and attitude), but i think he peaked in the 60's.

Oh well... aren't those moments wonderful, when suddenly everything just clicks for you, with an artist?

Drew is offline  
post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-08-2003, 03:22 PM
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I never used to have any admiration for Clapton. Then I decided to learn a solo (can't remember which one, but it was a song from the Slowhand album). The song was kinda slow, all notes could be clearly heard and I thought it would be a 3 minute job to learn it. Two days later I gave up. I found the notes, but when I played them it just sounded crap. When Clapton played them, it sounded great.
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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-11-2003, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew
However, track down a copy of the Howlin' Wolf "London Sessions." That, as far as I'm concerned, is the absolute pinnacle of Clapton's career. Tone, feel, phrasing... agressive without overplaying... it's PERFECT, and the fact that Wolf is, IMO, the greatest blues vocalist I've ever run across doesn't hurt...
I think i've heard the london sessions album before, but i only spontaneously picked it up today (new for $6 CDN, which seems like a good deal)...definatly one of the best examples of excellent blues for Clapton's playing, it's probably the best strictly blues playing from him, but I still dig the Cream "brown tone" he got from the Gibsons more than his strat tones...
pawel is offline  
post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-11-2003, 03:51 PM
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I think people also need to understand where Clapton was coming from. Before him, no one was really playing great rock/blues guitar solos. Before Elvis there was nothing and before Clapton there were just back up guitar players. Clapton put the guitar as a lead instrument.

Saying Clapton was nothing special is like saying Alexander Graham Bell was an OK electrition. I mean Clapton invented the quintessential "rock guitar god" personna. It was incredible how Clapton showed how by just using the pentatonic/ blues scale thing, you can play interesting and LONG solos that are not boring. No one was doing that before him yet after him, everyone started just improvising like crazy.

Clapton is also about "phrasing". That is what EVH said interested him. It is the "licks" not just "notes" he plays. That is the key to playing great guitar. It is the slides, h/o's, p/o's, rests, trills stc...
Guitar Wizard is offline  
post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-11-2003, 04:47 PM
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I saw a Clapton gig a couple of years ago. One of the lamest gigs I've ever seen in my life, and I've seen a few. It was so lame that my friend who was at the gig with me was worried if he's going to be able to get an erection in the next two weeks after the concert. Well, Eric saved the set by playing some tunes on his strat, nice tone, pretty good playing.
In my book, he's one of the most overrated players, right after Santana.
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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 04-12-2003, 01:21 AM
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He was very influential in the early days.....his playing has suffered from the dreaded "I must sell albums" attitude. He was better at being a guitar player instead of an adult contemporary artist that happens to play guitar.
I Still respect him but I think he has lost his edge.

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