Thursday, November 8, 2012
Eric Clapton: Crossroads
This 6-Lp set (or CDs, if you prefer) was released in 1988 as a 25-year retrospective on Clapton's prolific career. It's a pretty great effort, and covers his stints with several different record companies, working with many different groups. The first side is dedicated to Yardbirds material; the second side is John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Lp #2 covers Cream and Blind Faith; disc #3 and half of #4 is dedicated to Derek & The Dominos. After that, the material seques to Eric's 1970 solo Lp, throwing in amazing live versions of familiar tracks, alternate cuts, 45-only A- and B-sides, and ending with a live acoustic version of "After Midnight" that smoulders along until you, not it, finally catch fire.
It took me about 5 days to listen to this set straight through. It's a great collection. I've owned it on CD and vinyl, and I prefer the vinyl - it's one of the most sonically beautiful pressings that PolyGram ever did. There is not a tick, pop, bubble or imperfection anywhere on it.
It's not easy to cram 25 years worth of music into one cohesive retrospective, but this is an excellent collection that will pay you back, whether you're a Clapton fanatic or just starting to dig in. I wonder if there will ever be a companion piece -- after all, it's now been another nearly 25 years since this set was issued. But I urge you to seek it out, especially if you've got a good turntable.