Journeyman MAG

By Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

   On his 17th album, singer-guitarist Eric Clapton returns to some of his blues roots and comes out sounding his best in over a decade. He chooses a wide range of songs to cover, including ones by Jerry Williams and George Harrison. Even so, the album remains remarkably consistent.

There are some thin spots, particularly towards the end of Side One. His remake of Ray Charles' "Hard Times," with a full horn section, is somewhat overblown (no pun intended). Better is the synthesizer-based "No Alibis," where Clapton's guitar solos easily catch fire. But if you really want to sample Eric Clapton, there's his own ballad "Old Love," which contains a hook that should spurn dozens of imitations.

"Journeyman" proves that Eric Clapton is capable of making good records again, after some unsuccessful attempts at commercial pop. On his next album, he should be able to apply the formula that works so well on "Journeyman" to more of his original material. n

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