By the time 1974 came around, Eric Clapton’s days of Cream and psychedelic jamming were over. He was also recovering from his difficult heroin addiction. A demo tape with songs performed by Carl Radle, Dick Sims and Jamie Oldaker was given to Clapton and his manager arranged for him to start recording in Criteria Studios in Miami with Radle, Sims, Oldaker, and producer Tom Dowd. During this time Eric lived in a rental house at the address of 461 Ocean Boulevard in Golden Beach near Miami. Now that you have a little background I will proceed to the review.
My father is a huge fan of Eric Clapton. His collection of CD’s and vinyl had recently been passed onto me (about 3 years ago) and I was left with almost every solo album by Eric including this one. Upon first listen, which was an unfocused one, it did not do much for me. I came back to it however and it slowly grew on me. The first track “Motherless Children” stands out as one of the most upbeat tracks on here, and one of my favorites. It is written by Clapton and Radle, and it is easy to tell as it starts with a rocking guitar riff which is perfect to kick start the album. I also must put that the guitar work throughout this album is phenomenal. It is very easy to tell why Clapton is the God of the guitar. After Motherless Children the album slows down into more soulful songs with heartwarming vocals.
The only song I did not enjoy on this album is “I Shot the Sheriff.” This is because not much was done to the song, it was almost the same as Marley’s except for a few picks at the guitar here and there. It may have been a No. 1 hit but it was not original enough for me to enjoy. I would rather just listen to Marley’s.
Near the end of the album it really starts to pick up. Let It Grow starts off with soft vocals and gradually transitions into a beautiful chorus with backup singers.
Let it grow, let it grow
Let it blossom, let it flow
In the sun, the rain, the snow
Love is lovely, so let it grow
Full writing credits to Clapton on this one as well. Easily the best song off the record. The song closes with an amazing, hypnotic solo that I could listen to time and time again.
The last song, “Mainline Florida” features a talk box and some good guitar work. In the end a nice finish to the album. The only weak part on this album is that Clapton tends to hide behind other musicians and writers. Of course it has the Clapton sound and is an excellent album, it just could’ve used more of his raw talent and writing. At the end of the day, this is still one of his best solo efforts and I would recommend it to any blues rock fan.