Listen: Is Eric Clapton’s ‘Old Sock’ a “minor work”?
Old Sock is Eric Clapton’s 21st studio album and his first since 2010. The album, produced by Eric Clapton, Doyle Bramhall II, Justin Stanley and Simon Climie, features two new original songs Every Little Thing and Gotta Get Over, and is released on Clapton’s own Bushbranch label.
What the PR says:
The new album is “a collection of some of Clapton’s favourite songs spanning from his childhood to present day that highlights his vast appreciation and knowledge of music. From Leadbelly to J.J. Cale; Peter Tosh to George Gershwin; Hank Snow to Gary Moore and Taj Mahal, this record is a celebration of so many who have inspired Clapton’s rich musical life. Clapton has always had a remarkable ability to recognise great songs and a gift for knowing how to uniquely interpret them, as he does on Old Sock. The album explores romantic standards of the 30s, reggae, soul, rock, and includes a stand out playful collaboration with Paul McCartney, to create an experience that is quintessential Clapton.
Who’s on it?
Longtime collaborators Steve Gadd (drums), Willie Weeks (bass) and Chris Stainton (keyboards) along with surprise guest JJ Cale (backing vocals and guitar on Angel), Chaka Khan (backing vocals on Gotta Get Over), Steve Winwood (Hammond B3 Organ on Still Got The Blues), Paul McCartney (bass/vocals on All Of Me), and Jim Keltner on drums for Our Love Is Here To Stay.
What it’s like?
Late-period Eric Clapton isn’t noted for stretching himself artistically and as the title suggests, on Old Sock he remains firmly in his comfort zone. Though it follows the format of 2010’s Clapton, concentrating on covers of songs that have held Slowhand’s attention since childhood, it’s a less successful outing, its pleasures often too overdressed to truly impress. Gary Moore’s Still Got The Blues, where EC trades licks with Steve Winwood’s organ, is a case in point – a dutiful chorus-drenched amble that falls some distance short of the original’s aching tension. A reggae groove works on the Taj Mahal-featuring opener Further On Down The Road but seems like an afterthought on Peter Tosh’s Till Your Well Runs Dry, and Every Little Thing (one of two originals) is fatally wrong-sided by a cloying kiddie chorus. The half-spoken Folks On The Hill and All Of Me are string-laden, sleepy-eyed 30s standards à la McCartney’s Kisses On The Bottom album, and he duly duets on the latter. Chaka Khan’s testifying on the album’s other original, Gotta Get Over, raises the heat for a rare beacon: Clapton’s guitar work sizzling and defiant where elsewhere it merely simmers. But it’s hardly enough to make this more than a minor work. (Gavin Martin)