Monday, April 18, 2011


Taking a trip through Clapton-land, reading Clapton: The Autobiography, and listening to some CDs that I dug out of a box -- a lot of stuff recorded from stuff borrowed from my friend and co-worker, the late John Besse (a fine guitar-player himself).

I'm barely halfway through Eric Clapton's autobiography, but it's giving me a new-found appreciation for his music. Not that I wasn't already a fan -- I've always thought of him as one of the greatest musicians ever, and I was enjoying hearing his stuff on the radio long before I even knew his name.

This book, with Clapton dropping names left and right, is almost like a mini-history of rock-and-roll; he was influenced by, and played with, so many greatest blues players, so many ground-breaking artists from the 60s. I find it striking that the blues formed such a major part of his development, even though I sorta knew that the roots of rock-and-roll really are the blues.

Clapton chronicles his heavy drug use, which is a sad, but necessary aspect of the book. But, more interesting to me are the parts about his meeting and playing with Hendrix, Muddy Waters, members of the Beatles, the Who, the Stones, Buddy Guy, and many, many others.

When he writes about the women in his life, I feel him, as anyone else would who has known, for example, what it feels like to have known a woman who no other woman could ever replace, or who has ever found himself writing songs and poems about her, and thinking of her endlessly. Or, anyone who has really felt the blues, I guess!

And, listening to the music... actually, so far I haven't actually gotten past my CD recorded from the collection The Cream of Clapton. I keep playing it over and over again. I've got a stack of CDs to listen to, but this one, with tunes from when he was with Cream, like "I Feel Free" and "Sunshine of Your Love," and many others like "Bell Bottom Blues" and "Layla" (Derek and the Dominos), and other music, is so good to listen to that I haven't listened to anything else for a few days now. After reading so much about how he developed as a guitarist, and stuff about his techniques (which, I have to admit, I really don't understand much about), all of a sudden I'm listening to these songs and paying close attention to the guitars, and to the music, when in the past I'd probably have been more caught up in the singing, the lyrics.

On another bright, beautiful Albuquerque morning, enjoying this book and this wonderful music!

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