Over the years, several excellent bootleg compilations have been assembled detailing everything from Eric Clapton’s guest session work to studio outtakes to rare performances of songs in the live arena. These unofficial releases may highlight his entire career or a specific block of time. For novice collectors, these compilations serve as a great introduction to this body of material.
Further On Up The Crossroads (Why Not / quality varies)
This four-CD box set collects material starting with the first Rhythm & Blues Festival in Birmingham in 1964 (with Sonny Boy Williamson) through the summer of 1990 (the International Rock Awards). The great majority of tracks fall into the SB5 – SB6 range. It has things like a selection of Cream’s BBC performances; an early electric version of “Can’t Find My Way Home”; an alternate take of “Cold Turkey” from 1969; and rare live performances of “I’ve Got A Rock N Roll Heart’, “Knock On Wood”, and “Phone Booth” (with Robert Cray). It also collects the audio from many of Clapton’s television performances.
Note: This set was reissued in early 1999 on the EC Label and did not come in a deluxe long box with a multi-page book. The content and the quality of the CDs are identical. This collection makes a great companion to the official release, “Crossroads”.
Anthology Volumes 1 through 6 (MUM / quality varies)
These six CDs (issued separately) collect live performances and studio outtakes from the years 1966 to 1970. The majority of tracks are SB5 or SB6 and the few audience recordings are better than any version previously released on another CD. Gems like a live “I’ve Got My Mojo Working” by The Yardbirds, Blind Faith’s Hyde Park debut at the correct speed, a 1970 performance with Buddy Guy and Jr. Wells, and live recordings of Delaney & Bonnie with George Harrison — plus lots of outtakes — make these discs essential.
Life On Six Strings Volumes 1, 2, and 3 (Montserrat Records / quality varies)
These releases are available as three separate CDs that cover the years 1974 to 1996. This series mainly collects unique live performances — either songs Clapton rarely performed or a different arrangement of an oft-performed song. It also has studio outtakes from the same time period. The tracks include a solo acoustic “Driftin’” from 1994; “Sweet Home Chicago” from the Alpine Valley Concert in 1990; the rarely performed “Breaking Point”; and from 1975, live takes of “Keep On Growing” and “Blues With A Feeling/Stormy Monday”. The sound quality varies, but it is the only way to obtain most of this material.
Nudity – The Lost Radle Tapes (MidValley / SB 3 / 4)
These discs are sourced from tapes of live performances that were at one time in Carl Radle’s possession. Radle played bass for Derek And The Dominos. They were probably recorded at Criteria Studios in August and September 1970 and Olympic Studios, London in April 1971. Some tracks sound as if they were recorded in the studio, others possibly with a mic during playback in the engineer’s booth. Included are alternate takes and mixes of “Layla”, “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” and “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad.” An interesting look at the evolution of a number of now classic Clapton songs. Disc 2 includes various official mixes of “Layla”.
Substance Volume 2: The Unreleased Second Album (Eternal / SB6)
These discs are sourced from tapes that were at one time in Carl Radle’s possession. In the spring of 1971, the Dominos reentered the studio to record a follow-up to Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. Drugs and egos got in the way and the overall sessions were a disaster. These two discs are an intimate look into the studio. Despite the problems, there are some real gems and Clapton would later record some of the songs on subsequent solo albums. Tracks include several instrumentals, an early versions of “Mean Old Frisco” and “High”.
Where’s Eric! does not encourage or condone the manufacture of bootleg recordings. They are illegal and artists do not receive royalties from their sale. However, Where’s ERIC! realizes that there are fans who collect these recordings. In that spirit, information about them is provided for fans’ research and guidance purposes. Where’s ERIC! does not sell, trade or provide free copies of bootleg recordings nor can we tell you how to obtain them.