Eric Clapton-Old Sock

Universal Music; Audio CD: Rs. 395/-

They say never judge a book by its cover. With this album, you cannot help but judge it by its cover! After making 20 albums in the past, maybe you cannot expect an artiste to have a professional photo shoot. Why must he, if he’s achieved a cult following among listeners of all ages? Especially if the person in question is Eric Clapton! The album cover is a self-portrait Clapton took with his iPhone while on holiday in Antigua!

That and the title sets the stage. The singer-songwriter-musician has attained cult status. Given his career spans over five decades, you don’t expect him to do anything path breaking with a new album, nor do you expect to be disappointed by the man who influenced you into listening to Blues. The man who inspired the guitarist in you with his improvisational style. When you listen to Old Sock, you might feel this way about Eric Clapton.

This is his 21st studio album which features two new compositions. The record sees him cover some of his favourite songs. It also features several guests such as Steve Winwood, JJ Cale and Paul McCartney among others.

The 12 track album starts off with “Further down the Road”, which features the song’s original artiste Taj Mahal. We see Clapton take a more casual and soulful approach on the original. Melodic background vocals and a phenomenal harmonica section are the highlights of this song.

“The Folks Who Live on the Hill” is a nostalgic kind of offering. While the song is often associated with American jazz singer Peggy Lee, Clapton does a good job as he preserves the song’s orchestral excellence, without forgetting to infuse it with some sweeping strings. “All of Me” with Paul McCartney meanders beautifully between soulful and playful.

“Still Got the Blues” with Steve Winwood's Hammond organ and Clapton's gut-string guitar is sure to make you want to play the song again, almost immediately! “Goodnight Irene” has a bluesy-folk texture and you cannot help but fall in love with the mandolin.

The best tracks on the album are most definitely his new compositions. “Gotta Get Over” which features Chaka Khan is upbeat and classic Clapton who seems more energised as he breaks into that unforgettable bluesy electric guitar riff intro which builds into a snarling verse. The chorus is infectious too.

With “Every Little Thing” Clapton delivers a signature guitar solo and the vocal backed chorus is divine.

The album ends with the jazzy shamble of “Our Love Is Here to Stay,” which is a fitting close to a generally decelerated record.

At the end of the album you notice that there are no great surprises on Old Sock which explores folk, soul and bluesy rock but Clapton deserves appreciation for giving the sings his inimitable interpretations.

Unlike an old sock, Old Sock doesn’t reek but perhaps its lining has run thin. Then again, don’t we all hold on to our favourite possessions? In this case, diehard fans will still hold on to the man who made the pentatonic scale as celebrated as it is!

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