I didn't expect much from this dvd featuring Eric Clapton's early career with several different bands, as most of these Review dvd's never feature one full song and mostly interview people who never even knew or played with the bands, but this Review dvd both surprised and provided me with a real treat!
The dvd starts out with some great information and photos of the little boy Eric born in Ripley, England on March 30, 1945 with his parents who were really his grandparents and his sister who was 15 years older than him, who was really his Mother. Eric's early background, like most great guitarists, is obviously a gift he was born with and nurtured with the great art schools England provided after WWII for their students. For a dvd not authorized by Eric Clapton, the rare photos, clips, performance clips and great information are really quite superb. Then it quickly becomes obvious why this dvd is so superb.
This close look at Eric Clapton's early years contains archive interviews of Eric himself, commentaries from his friends, band mates and colleagues, sixties performance clips and photos that have been rarely or never seen before and period archive material from the sixties that take you back into that time period. Hearing great stories from Alan Clayson author of The Yardbirds, Ben Palmer pianist from Eric's earlist band The Roosters, Bill Halverson Cream producer, Chris Dreja Yardbirds guitarist, Chris Welch Cream journalist, Dave Kelly blues guitarist, John Mayall blues guitarist and bandleader, Neil Innes musician and songwriter, Nigel Williamson Uncut's editor, Paul Jones vocalist for Manfred Mann, Tom McGuiness guitarist from Manfred Mann, Top Topham earliest Yardbirds guitarist and many more. These great blues artists and authors have great stories to tell about the very young Eric Clapton!
We get to enjoy great information, stories, clips and photos about the barely 16 year old Eric playing with the band, The Roosters around London. The stories about the great Brian Jones, later of The Rolling Stones, being turned down as the guitar player for the band are just amazing! We then get to enjoy an abundance of information, stories, clips and photos from Eric's guitar playing with The Yardbirds. John Mayall and others provides great stories of Eric when he was with John Mayall's group The Bluesbreakers. The Cream has the best clips and stories about Eric with the great Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. Of course the performance clips are always too short, but the Cream does have several dvd's which cover some of their great performances, which you can buy here on Amazon, such as Royal Albert Hall, Strange Brew, Live, Disraeli Gears and others. Many of the Cream's tremendous songs were written by Eric and others along with a couple other Cream songs written by the poet Pete Brown and Jack Bruce. Eric really embraced the psychedelic era of late 1966 to 1967 and it shows with what I think is some of the best music from that time period done by Cream. Chris Welch points out that Eric was trying to have a Hendrix sound with Sunshine Of Your Love. Jimi Hendrix is also featured in some great peformance clips and rare photos with great stories of his friendship with Eric.
This wonderfully long 2 hour documentary ends in 1969 with Eric Clapton's newly formed band Blind Faith. Blind Faith only lasted a year, because it was too much like Cream, which is what Eric wanted to move away from. He was looking to move into a different direction with Steve Winwood, Ric Grech and Ginger Baker again, but they seemed to play more old Cream songs than anything else. The fans loved the Cream songs again, but Eric did not.
It's quite amazing that by age 24, Eric had already played with 5 GREAT bands and it was only 1969! I remember seeing Led Zeppelin play at The Cleveland Auditorium in August of 1969 and how tremendous they were! The sixties bands that Eric played in- Yardbirds, Bluesbreakers, Cream and Blind Faith, I never saw live back then, but if I could- I would have loved to see Cream in the sixties! Seeing this dvd takes me back to that era to revisit that tremendous time of the great guitar music that Eric Clapton was such a vital part of!
There are also a few Extras included: Sonny Boy Williamson and The Yardbirds; Paul Jones on Eric Clapton's Powerhouse; Bill Halverson on Cream's Badge and Contributor's Bios. Even with no complete performances, this long 2 hour documentary is a solid 5 STARS, taking you back into the fantastic guitar world of the sixties with a very young Eric Clapton! You will quickly see that these bands had no influence on making Eric Clapton the Great Guitar Player that he is today, as he was always Great in any year, with any band and this documentary showcases that tremendous talent!