October 2, 2010 12:17 am

Eric Clapton: Clapton

Eric Clapton

Clapton

(Reprise)

3 star rating

 

Talking of Clapton, here he comes with a wavy, let-it-all-hang-loose hairstyle and his 19th solo album. “There was no calculation, it was all just what came to the surface,” he says.

So what’s swum up from the Slowhand psyche? Reverent covers of old blues songs aren’t exactly revelatory, though the New Orleans trad jazz of a couple of Fats Waller tracks comes as a surprise – a welcome one too, with Clapton joined by crack Crescent City musicians including Allen Toussaint and Wynton Marsalis.

Tin Pan Alley standards by Hoagy Carmichael and Irving Berlin are a flashback to the young Clapton rifling through the family record collection in 1950s Surrey; both feature subtle guitar-playing and mellow vocals.

The relaxed mood loses its charm on “River Runs Deep”, a JJ Cale song about an unfaithful woman murdered by her boyfriend, delivered by Clapton at his smoothest and most laidback: a dubious treatment of the creepy subject matter.

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