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August 16, 2016

Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974)

by Record Facts

Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE (born 30 March 1945), is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time.

eric clapton - 461 ocean boulevard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artist:  Eric Clapton
Title:  461 Ocean Boulevard
Year:  1974
Format:  LP
Label:  RSO Records
Catalog#  2394138

461 Ocean Boulevard is Eric Clapton‘s second studio solo album, arriving after his side project of Derek and the Dominos and a long struggle with heroin addiction. Although there are some new reggae influences, the album doesn’t sound all that different from the rock, pop, blues, country, and R&B amalgam of Eric Clapton. However, 461 Ocean Boulevard is a tighter, more focused outing that enables Clapton to stretch out instrumentally. Furthermore, the pop concessions on the album — the sleek production, the concise running times — don’t detract from the rootsy origins of the material, whether it’s Johnny Otis‘ “Willie and the Hand Jive,” the traditional blues “Motherless Children,” Bob Marley‘s “I Shot the Sheriff,” or Clapton‘s emotional original “Let It Grow.” With its relaxed, friendly atmosphere and strong bluesy roots, 461 Ocean Boulevard set the template for Clapton‘s ’70s albums. Though he tried hard to make an album exactly like it, he never quite managed to replicate its charms.

After overcoming his heroin addiction, Clapton realized that he wasted three years of his life, stating he had not done anything other than watch television and get out of shape. When Clapton sought help working on a farm, he began to listen to a lot of new music and old blues records he had brought with him and started to play again, even writing whole songs out of simple ideas. With these song ideas in mind, Clapton was given a demo tape by Carl Radle, the former bassist for Derek and the Dominos, with songs performed by Radle with keyboardist Dick Sims and drummer Jamie Oldaker. Clapton liked the recordings, calling them “simply superb”. Clapton was given time to write new material for a next album by Radle. When Clapton set to work on tracks for the upcoming studio release, he wanted to leave his songs as incomplete as possible, so that the musicians, who were going to record with Clapton in the studio, would get the chance to make them their own. After Clapton appeared in the rock opera Tommy, his manager at the time, Robert Stigwood, contacted him about a new project. Stigwood arranged for Clapton to record at the Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida with Radle, Sims, Oldacker and record producer Tom Dowd. When the time came to record the new album, Clapton was worried about both the commercial and artistic success of the album, noting his concept of a new album would only work when there was chemistry between the musicians. Clapton also hired guest vocalist Yvonne Elliman and guitarist George Terry as full-time members of his group. Stigwood also paid for Clapton to live at a rental house at the address 461 Ocean Boulevard in the town of Golden Beach near Miami. The whole album was recorded from April to May 1974. For the recording sessions, Clapton used his Blackie Fender Stratocaster electric guitar. For slide guitar work, Clapton used several Gibson ES-335 guitars. He also played vintage Martin acoustic guitars.

 

Side one
1.  Motherless Children  (4:55)
2.  Give Me Strength  (2:51)
3.  Willie and the Hand Jive  (3:31)
4.  Get Ready  (3:50)
5.  I Shot the Sheriff  (4:30)

Side two
1.  I Can’t Hold Out  (4:10)
2.  Please Be With Me  (3:25)
3.  Let It Grow  (4:57)
4.  Steady Rollin’ Man  (3:14)
5.  Mainline Florida  (4:05)

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