|1. Motherless Children|
|2. Give Me Strength|
|3. Willie And The Hand Jive|
|4. Get Ready|
|5. I Shot The Sheriff|
|6. I Can't Hold Out|
|7. Please Be With Me|
|8. Let It Grow|
|9. Steady Rollin' Man|
|10. Mainline Florida|
See all 15 tracks on this disc
|2. Let It Grow|
|3. Can't Find My Way Home|
|4. I Shot The Sheriff|
|5. Tell The Truth|
|6. The Sky Is Crying / Have You Ever Loved A Woman / Rambling On My Mind|
|7. Little Wing|
|8. Singin' The Blues|
See all 11 tracks on this disc
This album didn't disappoint that day, and it doesn't disappoint today. Contrary to another review, it ages quite well. The rock covers ("Willie and the Hand Jive," "I Shot The Sheriff"hold their own with the originals, and the blues songs are timeless. "I Can't Hold Out" and "Steady Rolling Man" kick major blues butt! The originals are excellent as well, particularly "Mainline Florida."
Any record collecion that includes Eric Clapton is incomplete without this record. It was his comeback effort following several years of laying low with a heroin problem. It is clearly a career milestone, and his first recording with a band that he would work with for the remainder of the decade. Don't overlook the band - with the exception of Duane Allman, George Terry may be the best guitarist Clapton worked with - he compliments Clapton and drives him at the same time.
It may not have the flashy guitar work of his earlier recordings, nor is it as gritty as fans of Eric Clapton the blues player (rather than Eric Clapton the pop singer) might have preferred. But it is a pleasant, low-key affair with several excellent songs, including a charming, laid-back rendition of Johnny Otis' "Willie And The Hand Jive" and the lovely, folkish ballad "Please Be With Me", originally recorded by Southern rockers Cowboy.
Clapton should stay away from covering Elmore James, though. He obviously knows that he can't match the intensity of James' vocals, so he delivers "I Can't Hold Out" in a very subdued style which doesn't suit the song.
His version of Bob Marley's "I Shot The Sheriff", although somewhat watered-down, works really well, however, as does the mournful spiritual-like blues "Give Me Strength" and the melodious "Let It Grow", both of them Eric Clapton originals.
Lovely slide dobro playing on "Let It Grow".
Another bluesy spiritual, Blind Willie Johnson's "Motherless Children (have a hard time)", is quite good as well in this electric, up-tempo recording, in spite of the clippety-clop rhythm played by drummer Jamie Oldaker (kind of a strange choice for a blues number).
All in all, "461 Ocean Boulevard" is a really fine album, and one that Eric Clapton tried again and again to replicate over the next ten years.
The recording doesn't age well. It's largely uninspired, languid 70's rock. Great cover songs (Motherless Children, Willie and the Hand Jive, I Shot the Sheriff) are run through the de-flavorizer. Clapton's singing sounds like he's been told to keep it down and his playing shares a "don't wake the neighbors" restraint. Where's the fire? NOT on this album.
The best moments are the back-to-back ballads, Please be With Me & Let it Grow. Dated and sentimental, perhaps, but with great changes and gorgeous arrangements.
Clapton may be God, but even God rested on the 7th day. And now we know at what address.
That said, this CD release has one serious deficiency. When first released on vinyl in 1974, the album's second song was a Clapton original called "Better Make It through Today." When remastered for CD, it was replaced by "Give Me Strength." I always believed that "Better Make It through Today" was integral to this album's success, and its absence is awfully conspicuous. The back cover of the vinyl version of 461 OCEAN BOULEVARD contains a notation saying that "Better Make It through Today" was recorded at Dynamic Studios in Kingston, Jamaica, whereas the rest of the album was recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami. Clapton's 1975 follow-up, THERE'S ONE IN EVERY CROWD, was also recorded at that studio in Jamaica, and sure enough "Better Make It through Today" now appears on the CD version of that album. Perhaps it was never supposed to appear on 461 OCEAN BOULEVARD, but people are right to complain about the change. So this album gets two ratings. The old vinyl release gets 5 stars while this CD release is downgraded slightly to 4.5 stars, which is still pretty damn good.
Now you know...
I have three different versions of this CD. The original came out in the early '80s and it has the same lineup of songs as the vinyl. Read more