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  Eric Clapton: Slowhand

Eric Clapton
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Reviews: 9 show all

Review by ianlow32 July 21, 2005 (13 of 13 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Finally, Slowhand comes to hi-resolution format. I have heard multiple CD versions from the original to the Gold Disc to the remastered, but this new SACD version just blows the rest away.

Slowhand has always been my favourite Clapton album over the years. Classic Clapton originals like Lay Down Sally and Wonderful Tonight define his style and songwriting capabilities and singing. His voice has an aching and tender reach on the ballads, and yet bluesy growl on the fast tracks.

From 461 and Slowhand, Clapton began to rely less on his guitar prowess on albums, but move towards stronger songwriting and singing to establish his albums, and Slowhand is the best example of it. And yet, his taste for covers cannot be faulted either.

Dusting off JJ Cale's Cocaine and William's We're With YOu All the Way shows how he can choose the right material to augment his own songs, until they blend into a seamless piece of excellent work.

Ending the album with an instrumental ballad that recalls the piano coda to Layla, Slowhand remains his best and most focused work over the years. And throw in a great guitar jam in the epic Core, you get a Clapton masterwork that is as timeless now as it was commercially and critically successful during its original release almost 30 years ago.

Listening to the 5.1 mix by the original producer, Glyn Johns did a superb work. Although some has commented the mix sounds muddy, its actually not and its true to its original sound. Its natural and spatial mix and creative surround mixing by Johns gives this classic a new dimension that was not there before.

The electric solos now sound more alive and kicking and even the tender fender licks that kick off Wonderful Tonight sounds so much there and enveloping. Its the drums that has a tendency to sound muddled underneath and the strong bass levels that gives the muddy impression. BUt '70s recordings tend to be presented in such fashion and listening it over again, the surround mix is just perfect and natural. Compared to the bright but not as creative surround mix of 461, this is far superior in the end.

A compulsory purchase and listening for every Clapton fan.

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Review by StyleAndEntertainmen October 27, 2005 (2 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Just a quick note to say that JW has it exactly right. There are a couple of good songs on the disc but overall it's just "pleasant" (but not engaging). The sonics are fair with the highs really suffering the most. I haven't heard previous versions so can't comment on those, but the sonics on this one are just mediocre. I'd pass on Slowhand unless you really want those few good songs or you've "got to catch them all."

Update: I just listened to the stero version and find it is much better. I actually like this album now and do find it engaging. Wow! Even the sound is better (better clarity on the cymbals) given it's mid 70's sound. Try the stereo mix you may like it better too. It's weird because the mc mix is not aggressive. Sometimes I think simple music should just be left simple. Certainly works here for me and I'm raising my ratings accordingly.


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Review by JW December 19, 2004 (2 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The Layla disc a 'must have' SACD, so is 461 Ocean Boulevard. This one is not. Musically it's all a little 'smooth sailing'. Pleasant enough, but unremarkable. Of course it has 'Cocaine' and 'Wonderful Tonight' - the latter really a nice ballad, but spoiled by wedding singers I'm afraid. Yes, I am a Clapton fan!

For a sonic comparison I have on hand the Polydor re-master of Slowhand (P2 31825). The SA-CD seems clearly better than the remastered CD. The CD offers a more distant perspective on the music. The SA-CD sounds much nicer overall. More 3-D and more believable on voice. Having said all that, this is not one of the better sounding SA-CD's. What's not on the recording cannot be recovered, alas.


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