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.