Review: Eric Clapton “Back Home”

Review of “Back Home”
Tony Edser, Editor – Where’s Eric! Magazine & Website

When I interviewed Eric Clapton in April 2003, around the time he was starting work on this album, he remarked “I couldn’t be happier really, I’ll see if I can try and make a happy album without it being yeuch!”

He was referring, of course, to the contentment in his life brought about by having a settled marriage and children and his natural desire to write songs about the family.

Has he succeeded? Well, if you’d asked me after one play through I would have said “Oh my God, no!” Referring back to the notes I made as I listened to the album for the first time, I see comments like “poppy, instantly catchy”, “filler”, “Isley Brothers outtake” and even “Eurovision” alongside the various track titles. Thankfully, with the benefit of repeated listening, and a period of two weeks in between where I left the album completely alone, I am pleased to say this album has grown on me considerably. In fact, I’m reminded of the lyrics to one of Eric’s famous 70’s songs – “Let it grow, let it grow, let it blossom, let it flow”. In other words, give it time and the true meaning and value of this album will manifest itself. The songs sit together well as a collection – the album doesn’t have the disjointed feel of Reptile for example – there is plenty of tastefully understated guitar work and the production is superb; there’s often lots going on in the mix but it never sounds cluttered.

It shows Eric really is happy with his lot at the moment – there isn’t an out and out blues tune in sight! True, I could have done without some of the more mawkish lyrics (“Mum’s getting snappy coz Daddy won’t change no nappy”) and the baby crying on the opening track, So Tired, whilst even the choice of cover versions (I’m Going Left excluded) is, unusually for Eric, rather insipid. However, I’ve regularly found myself humming many of this album’s melodies, even subconsciously, and I just can’t get the guitar solos to the outstanding track, One Day, out of my head – they’re just so so tasty.

Think about some of Eric’s recent work – touring the world in 2004 where he and his red-hot band were rocking and rolling like teenagers every night, the Me and Mr Johnson recordings with their intense, fiery blues passion and lastly 4 nights of unparalleled supergroupdom with Cream and you can understand the pleasure for Eric in just coming “Back Home”.

Where’s Eric!
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