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Reviews: Eric Clapton: 461 Ocean Boulevard

Reviews: 10

Review by jimmyjames8 November 10, 2004 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Just a quickie review. Don't own the redbook version of this record. I see that there is a remaster cd out of this done on Apogee UV 22 converter that I am sure sounds great but I have no first hand knowledge. I probably hadn't listened to this "record" straight thru since '75. I listened to the SACD in surround twice. This is a GREAT sounding surround SACD. Very good depth to the sound, great surround mix. One of the better I have heard. Worth owning. Cheers!

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Review by JW December 19, 2004 (5 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
My review on the Layla disc is also published here. Now, to me, that is a 'must have' SACD. I am not so sure about this one and the other Clapton though I like 461 OB better than Slowhand musically speaking. It's more complex and interesting. EC's singing is very good on this album. The album stands as a 'whole' and I think it invites people to listen and discover its moods. Beautiful ballads like 'Let It Grow' and 'Please Be With Me' are worth the price of admission alone. Overall it has a similarly relaxed bluesy feel as 'Slowhand'. But better. Plus it has three seductive blues bonus tracks, with EC at his most intimate. Actually, I will revise my opening statement: this is a 'must have' after all :-)

What about the sonics? First of all the recording level of the CD is much lower than on the SA-CD's. I used a RS SLM to level-match. The CD has much less weight, sounds harder and less rich compared to its SA-CD issue. There is a similar distant presentation on both RBCD and SA-CD I feel. The SA-CD is better on voice and instrument separation and soundstage. Not a huge difference, but to me an important one.

On the RBCD there is a really nice ballad called 'Better Make It Through The Day', originally released as a track on Clapton's 1975 studio album "There's One In Every Crowd". It sort of ended up on this CD and not on the SA-CD, though I have been made aware of the fact that it was released on the Mobile Fidelity issue of 461 OB as well. So I guess Clapton fans need both :-)


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Review by Compression Must Die December 27, 2004 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is an improvement over the MFSL redbook (which IMHO was the best release to date). The surround mix is not one of my favorites, but it has its moments.

The best surround cut on this is "Let It Grow," where George Harrison's guitar and voice are clearer than ever. The edit is unchanged and EC's big breath at the beginning of this track is more evident than ever. :D

Worth having, but don't expect enormous differences.

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Review by Jagan April 30, 2005 (7 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I have been a fan of Eric Clapton since borrowing a friend's "Cream" CD in high school, and hearing the electric and acoustic versions of Layla on the radio, but I had not heard this album until 2004.

My first copy of this album was a DTS-surround CD version. This latest SACD release blows the DTS version away. The mixes are more balanced here, and the tones of the instruments, especially on the surround mixes, are fantastic!

It is a treat to hear such precisely clean cymbal splashes on the intro to "Motherless Children", it is like a live performance. The great tone also showcases Clapton's guitar playing on "Give Me Strength".

One of the prettiest songs on the disc is "Please Be With Me".

If you are a Clapton fan at all, seriously consider getting this SACD release. The production quality is very high, and the music has stood the test of time - long enough for me to have discovered it 30 years after its initial release!

It makes me happy when I can buy such quality products these days. What a treat!

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Review by Stevesebastianb May 7, 2005 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This classic from Eric Clapton is one of the must haves in an collection. The performance is excellent and the sonics on the recording are also excellent.

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Review by veltri May 11, 2005 (10 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
When listening to albums featuring Eric Clapton I try to pinpoint an undisputable reason for his reputation as one of the greatest guitarists. While I believe this to be true, it is very hard to do.

In a similar way, when listening to an SA-CD, I look for an undisputable part that can be used as proof why SA-CD is miles ahead sonically of regular CD’s.

461 Ocean Boulevard is an album that makes a case for both Clapton and SA-CD.

Overall a mid-tempo to mellow album, it is the slower songs that are most notable sonically. “Give me Strength” has some guitar picking that while not virtuoso, shows amazing control and feeling. Each crystal clear pick seems to emit a different emotion. When the slide is used as in “Please Be with Me” you can hear the journey of the note. The sound bends to a precise point until the hand cuts the note. This deliberateness was not evident until hearing the SA-CD. On this album it is the nuance that shows Clapton’s greatness and it is now evident through SA-CD.

Other notables:

“Get Ready”, a powerful duet with Yvonne Elliman has the two vocals as if they are standing side by side – perfect images.

“Let it Grow” gives twice as many chills on SA-CD.

Incidentally, “Steady Rolling Man”, in a departure of Robert Johnson’s one-man performance is done with several musicians.

The only low points on this SA-CD are the bonus tracks which have each instrument coming out of all speakers at once.

This is a terrific album made better through SA-CD.

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Review by Croc June 28, 2006 (1 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
truely fantastic disc !!!

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Review by fredblue May 19, 2009 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
While not the last word in sound quality I've come to expect from the very best Multi-channel SACD's I've heard, this is the best sounding Clapton SACD by a country mile.

It helps that it's a brilliant record, whereas "Slowhand" is spotty content wise and "Layla" too inconsistent in it's sound quality, 461 OB features consistently strong songs, a great set of musicians, some refined work from EC and a very pleasing, what I would call "sympathetic" surround sound mix.

It doesn't do anything dazzling, or meddle with the original, which is definitely a good thing, but it creates a nice spread around the room of some of the most wonderful music Clapton has ever produced. LFE use is a bit haphazard... every now and again the bass gets a bit wooly and it all goes a little haywire but for the most part the mix as a whole is very well-conceived. Eric's vocals on "Let it Grow" also need a bit of taming as they are a little boomy and I have to tinker with the sound level of the centre channel on that one but for the rest of the album I can sit back, almost transported to "mainline Florida" in 1974, soaking up the gorgeous sounds of some extremely talented individuals. These were fertile sessions, for a newly invigorated Eric Clapton.

This is a disc I turn to for a spin more and more often, as I really stop to consider which SACD's are "essential listening" and which I simply wouldn't entertain if it weren't for the paucity of Rock/Pop Multi-channel SACD's available. This is certainly one of my essential's!

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Review by RJN17 June 3, 2011 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I just got the SACD of this and I must say it is like hearing the album for the first time, the surround mix is that good.This album was kind of ruined for me with the overplay of I Shot The Sheriff on the radio. But hearing it in Multi channel surround has opened my eyes to what a really good album this is.
I am glad that I grabbed this one as the SACD format seems to be dying out, at least for rock type albums. I would grab it while you can if you like Multi Channel SACD's.

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Review by velocitymj June 12, 2011
Performance:   Sonics:    
While SACD has made this album sound a bit better, in terms of sonically separating the instruments on some tracks, it doesn't make this album any less blase´, nor does it stop all of the vocals from emanating from the same place in the sound stage (which appears to be in the drum kit).
I don't know what it is with Eric Clapton. He's one of the greatest living blues guitarists and yet it appears that putting out a well recorded album (at least one that I've heard), is something that he doesn't get.. or his producers certainly don't get. Even though the music isn't that amazing, if he had done that with this album, it would sound so much better, .
If you're someone who enjoys average, than this is an album for you.
If you're an audiophile who loves great music and great recordings, then look elsewhere.

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