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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on July 25, 2002
The 1980s were a strange decade for Clapton. Like a lot of veterans of the 1960s and '70s, his transition to the MTV era was difficult. There were even a couple of unfortunate instances in which he submitted a completed album to his record company only to see it rejected with instructions to return to the drawing board. He finally showed signs of renewal in 1989 when he released this fine album, which paved the way for his career's revival in the 1990s.
A couple of tracks rank among Clapton's best from any decade. "Pretending" is a firm mid-tempo rocker with one of his most assured vocal performances ever. "Running on Faith" is a gorgeous gospel-like tune that rings utterly true, very inspiring. On "Bad Love" he cuts loose like he hadn't done in years. "Hound Dog" was a risky song to cover because it might have invited unflattering comparisons to Elvis, but Eric pulls it off effectively. "Run So Far" is a sweet and carefree ditty written by George Harrison and featuring Harrison on guitar and backing vocals. The classic blues number "Before You Accuse Me" closes the album with a bang. But there are weaknesses that must be acknowledged. "Anything for Your Love" is an overproduced monstrosity that sounds suspiciously like a leftover from BEHIND THE SUN or AUGUST. There are hints of overproduction elsewhere as well. But for the most part, JOURNEYMAN has Clapton back where he belonged.
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on May 23, 2002
The title "Journeyman" would appear to be a bit of modesty by an artist who has been a towering figure in rock music for nearly thirty years. And yet it is quite appropriate. Clapton has never seemed entirely comfortable under the glare of the spotlight, and much of his best work has been collaboartive (Cream, Derek and the Dominoes, Blind Faith, etc). How else to explain such Clapton diversions as his time spent as the lead guitarist on Roger Waters's debut solo album ("The Pros and Cons of Hitchiking") and tour?
With "Journeyman," Clapton produced his prototypical album. There are a couple of decent singles written by an outside songwriter ("Pretending" and "No Alibis") a couple of covers of rock and blues standards ("Hound Dog," "Before You Accuse Me") a longer guitar jam ("Breaking Point") and a lot of decent filler material in between. For all his talents as a musician, Clapton has never been a first rate songwriter, and as a result even his best albums tend to be uneven. While "Journeyman" is no exception to that rule, it is still one of his better solo efforts.
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on July 27, 2001
After releasing the two worst albums of his career, Behind The Sun & August, Eric Clapton released one of the first box sets to capitalize on the new format known as compact disks, Crossroads. The four cd set was a celebration of his career spanning his Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek & the Dominoes and solo days. Inspired by this past greatness, Mr. Clapton released his best album, Journeyman, in over a decade. The songs have blues roots, but are spiced up enough to sound modern without the gloss. "Pretending" has some great guitar riffs as does "Hard Times", "No Alibis" and "Breaking Point". "Bad Love" is a brilliant song and one of his best, with a stinging guitar solo and strong vocals. "Running On Faith" is an absolutely gorgeous with a lilting dobro and a honey sweet vocal. Journeyman reinvigorated Mr. Clapton's career and showed he wasn't a slave to the times.
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on July 16, 2002
Better than this rating would imply and close to a classic. A fine collection of songs with brilliant lead guitar work, Clapton really shines on the slow blues "Hard Times." The gospelish "Running on Faith" is strong, as are the chugging "Anything For Your Love" and "No Alibis." There's a fun reworking of "Hound Dog," but his stamp on "Before You Accuse Me" rings true and is a fine closer for this album. The collaboration with Robert Cray, "Old Love" is also very good. Throw in the driving "Bad Love" and "Breaking Point" (featuring the ubiquitous David Sanborn on sax), and you have a very good album which holds up well to repeated listenings. The only tune less than stellar is the George Harrison composition "Run So Far." Highly recommended, and it was a fine followup to the magnificent box set "Crossroads."
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on March 20, 2004
I know this isnt Slowhand or From The Cradle but Journeyman is a really good album. None of the songs are really bad so I dont see why anyone could not like it. Journeyman is the best Eric Clapton album of the 1980's. Its not a very forceful album, its more laid back but its still great.
The album starts of with one of its best songs 'Pretending' this song sounds like an old blues through back and it has an amzing guitar solo, as always. 'Bad Love' is the biggest hit off the album and the best song on the album too. 'Bad Love' is one of Eric Claptons best songs, once you get past the keyboards. 'Hound Dog' is a great cover, but not one of his better covers. 'No Alibies' is another great song and probly the second best on Journeyman and the solo is just plan amazing! The album ends with 'Before You Accuse Me' and its a cover song and a great way to end the album. 'Before You Accuse Me' is one of the best cover songs Eric Clapton ever recorded.
Journeyman may not be as good a From The Cradle and it may not be his most powerful album but this is certainly one of his better albums, this may even be better then slowhand now that I think about it....
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on June 7, 2003
I have given this album three stars, partly because of the slick, glossy 80s production by Russ Titelman which has completely removed any hint of real grit from these songs. They might as well have been played using synthesizers (actually most of the drums aren't drums but a digital drum machine).
The songs themselves are generally pretty good, though. They are not as lean, nor as muscular, as they could have been, but "Pretending" is a fine, mid-tempo rocker with some really great vocals by Eric Clapton. "Bad Love" suffers from terrible, overblown production and weird synthesizers, but it's not a bad song, and "Running On Faith" is a slow, bluesy ballad with relative lean instrumentation and some nice slide dobro playing.
"Hard Times" is another slow blues, augumented by a horn ensemble, and Clapton actually does a pretty good, funky rendition of "Hound Dog".
"Run So Far" is a little masterpiece, written by George Harrison, who lends a hand playing guitar and singing harmony vocals. Nice, sparse arrangement there.
Clapton wrote "Old Love" with Robert Cray, and it works pretty well, too, without too much of the wall-of-sound treatment which has partly ruined "No Alibis", "Breaking Point" and "Anything For Your Love". And the album ends on a high note with some real, three-dimentional drumming from Steve Ferrone and Jim Keltner on the fine ballad "Lead Me On" and Bo Diddley's fiery blues classic "Before You Accuse Me" (albeit in a slick, less fiery version).
All in all, "Journeyman" is a good album. It could've been great, if a few more songs had been good instead of merely adequate, and if the production had resembled his 70s albums a bit more, but it is not one to be avoided by any means.
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on January 13, 2003
Having contributed to a lot of bands' albums and concerts over the years, Eric Clapton has amassed a group of friends who also happen to be first-rate musicians. Never being one to assume that he alone makes his albums great, Clapton routinely gives them a lot of room to write and perform. True since Clapton gave up the solo on "Layla" to Duane Allman, it works for him in spades on this album.
Jerry Jeff Williams, a Texas songwriter with whom Clapton has had many fruitful collaborations since the Eighties, wrote several of the originals, standouts being "Pretending" and "Breaking Point." The first song has the most confident, tension-free vocals Clapton has committed to a studio album since _461 Ocean Boulevard_ more than a decade earlier; its low, bluesy verses and suddenly louder choruses seem written specifically to Clapton's strengths as a vocalist. As was true throughout the entire album, Clapton taps the midrange boost on that custom Stratocaster and burns through the solos and fills. If this record did nothing else for his fan base, it proved that Clapton had overcome his early-Seventies fear of overplaying or repetition; not until _24 Nights_ would anyone hear Clapton having as much fun as a lead guitarist again.
As the Amazon reviewer pointed out, he remained rooted in a bluesy context throughout, juxtaposing the faithful treatment of Bo Diddley's "Before You Accuse Me" with the sophisticated Robert Cray minor blues of "Old Love." While the production remains extremely clean, no one could accuse Clapton or any member of his supporting bands of not bringing enough soul to this particular session. Aside from "Run So Far," which indulges Clapton's taste for cheerful and insubstantial country, there's not a weak song on this album. If you had to purchase five essential records by him not including box sets or anthologies, this would rank among them, below _Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs_ and _461 Ocean Boulevard_.
Well worth owning for fans and enthusiasts, and an excellent place to start for people who really liked _Unplugged_ but don't know where in his thirty-five years in music to start.
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on July 10, 2000
But that's not saying too much. I liked this alot when it first came out, but it has not aged terribly well. Most of this is just a little too slick and ready made for FM radio (e.g., "Pretending", "Bad Love"). It's still a heckuva lot better than "Behind The Sun" and the execrable "August".
The biggest problem is that it suffers from cd-itis (the tendancy to pack way too many mediocre tracks onto an album just because they fit onto the cd). Several of the these songs should have been left on the cutting room floor or tacked onto the end and marked as bonus tracks.
Still, there are enough good tracks to recommend this one, particularly "Before You Accuse Me", "Running On Faith" and "Lead Me On". It just doesn't make its way into my player very often, unlike, say, "461 Ocean Boulevard". . .
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on March 3, 2004
JOURNEYMAN is the follow-up to 1986's AUGUST. As the 1980's neared the end,PRETENDING was on hit parade and played on rock stations worldwide. This album was released in the fall of 1989. Guest artists include Phil Collins and the late great George Harrison. Harrison wrote RUN SO FAR and sang background vocals. Other great tracks are NO ALIBIS and other hits BEFORE YOU ACCUSE ME,BAD LOVE and RUNNING ON FAITH. HARD TIMES is bluesy. In fact that style of music influenced Eric Clapton. OLD LOVE,along with RUNNING ON FAITH and BEFORE YOU ACCUSE ME have been used for the live follow-up UNPLUGGED. HOUND DOG has slightly different lyrics. It doesn't sound like the version recorded by the late great Elvis Presley. All the other songs are good. Hey,I love the lyric,"You say I'm spending my money on other women and taking money from someone else."!
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on July 26, 2003
Clapton's abilities as a studio musician shine here, but the album dates itself with 80's clap-track (Anything for Your Love) and the sounds of solid state amplifiers. Old Love, Pretending, No Alibis, Bad Love and Before you Accuse Me are all cult favorites for Clapton fans. Lets face it, 461 Ocean Boulevard is his weakest album and it's still awesome. This album rates better in my book, but not his best effort. Too much doo-wop girls and over-production, which again shows its ugly head on the albums Pilgrim and Reptile. Still, Clapton can write and play and somehow manage to put out a good album, regardless of your recording tastes.
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