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-=-=-=–=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- SPIRITUAL MUSIC ADVICE 'N' STUFF

by Rev. Richard Visage


Ever wonder why there's so many music dinosaurs out there? It 

seems to me like, back in the bad old days, a band would get a hit or two, then deservedly fade into obscurity. Say, for instance, Freddy and the Dreamers – I think they had one horrid hit with "Do the Freddy", and maybe a backup hit with a loathsome ballad, and then were never heard of again. Freddy probably became an insurance salesman dressed in doubleknits, and yeah, he's the guy that came to your front door, smoking a cheap cigar.

He deserves it, too. But then there's others that just never seem to 

go away. The first time I saw Eric Clapton play, he was with Cream, and he was generating serious guitar magic at the time. He played wildman blues and psychedelia, did amazing improvisations, and enunciated his guitar work like no one in the business. He was a certified guitar god, and deserved the title.

Things changed. Eric joined the super-ego super-group Blind Faith

and was still brilliant. After the one and only album that Blind Faith produced, he joined the musical debacle called Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. Worse, he sang. Worse, as his career continued, he didn't stop singing. Ugh. Let's spin a CD, kids.

Back to the Cradle, Eric Clapton

Who could possibly disapprove of Eric Clapton doing a back to the

roots pure blues album? I just know all the critics are going to rave over this one just out of purity of concept.

And it is a good idea. Hell, he's put together some extra-fine blues 

musicians for this album and done all the recordings on a single take. Is this great or what?

Well, first of all, Slowhand can still pick. Bigtime. There's some 

absolutely technically brilliant guitar work on this album. The band is relentlessly professional. And the whole thing is tired, tired, tired. There's so rarely a trace of emotion, or real blues feeling on this album, that it could be made into one of those New Age sleep- inducing tapes. Ms. LaBamba steals the remote control from me when I listen to this album, and quickly changes the disc. Can you argue with a woman who wears spandex and garters?

Oh, and the vocals deserve mention. With the exception of a 

small bit of backup vocals, it's all Eric. Eric, his nasal whine, and twenty years of failed vocal training. It's so laboured at times as to be downright hilarious. To really enjoy this album, you need one of those karioke machines that can tune out the original vocals on the track. The only song that really works on this album is an acoustic blues track, "Driftin'", which is reminiscent of the pathos-ridden Tears in Heaven, and doesn't require much in the way of vocal gymnastics. Again, absolutely wonderful guitar work on the acoustic box.

Well, I'm sure that you're going to buy this one, despite my ranting 

about it. But, let's make a bet. In a year from now, you'll find this CD second from the bottom in your pile, look at it, and think about putting in on. But, you'll just stick it back on the bottom of the pile. Delete bin, here it comes.

As your spiritual advisor, might I suggest that you pick up J.J. 

Cale's new release, Closer to You, instead? J.J. is the author of some of Clapton's bigger hits, "Cocaine" among them, and is held in godlike esteem in the UK and in parts of Canada. He's also the gentleman whose guitar style is most imitated by the likes of Clapton and Mark Knoffler. This is real Okie pop/blues, it doesn't to pander roots purists, and it has the feel of musicians who love, and are lost in, the music. The album starts with the blues/rocker "Long Way Home" and winds through the hypnotic vibe-powered "Slower Baby" and winds up with "Steve's Song", an absolutely sparkling instrumental. One could criticize some of the lyrics as being a little to simplistic or Okie, but they don't detract from the music.

I'd mention that Ms. LaBamba gets naked every time I play it, but 

that'd probably encourage folks to buy the album for all the wrong reasons. Or, maybe not.

                            #  #  #

Religiously yours,

Copyright 1994 Rev. Richard Visage

Rev. Richard Visage is the official Spiritual Advisor to Fidonet and is listed on the masthead of the Fidonews, where his correspondence with the infamous Doc Logger is published regularly. The Rev. operates 163/409 on a laptop from various hotel rooms, and is bankrolled by expense accounts from unsuspecting publications who showed the poor judgement of hiring him. Canadian Government officials list him and his semi-clad secretary, Ms. LaBamba, as officially being "at large" somewhere in North America.

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