Eric Clapton “461 Ocean Boulevard” Label: Polydor Genre: Rock-bluesEric Clapton might be off to North Korea to gig, according to some media reports, so no doubt North Korean supremo Kim Jong-il will be interested to know Clapton recently released a deluxe two-CD edition of his 1974 album “461 Ocean Boulevard.” CD 1 contains session outtakes from the original 461 recordings and a blistering concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London covers CD2.
Revisiting this record meant a thick helping of nostalgia pie for this reviewer. I first heard it in the early 1980s when a friend emigrated, bequeathing me his Clapton-heavy LP collection.
The guitar work on 461 marks a sharp mood change for Clapton: no searing solos or slamming power chords, but plenty of bourbon-soaked vocals. Melodic riffs like “Give Me Strength” conjure up lonely highways cutting through sparse landscapes, and “Let It Grow” meditates on new beginnings.
461 is good enough you could almost forgive Clapton for the mawkish 1992 ballad “Tears in Heaven.”
Well, almost. By Michael Gibb