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Eric Clapton: Old Sock

Guest star-studded nostagia fest from Slowhand.

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.

Late NME, Daily Mirror and Classic Rock writer Gavin Martin started writing about music in 1977 when he published his hand-written fanzine Alternative Ulster in Belfast. He moved to London in 1980 to become the NME’s Media Editor and features writer, where he interviewed the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Pete Townshend, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Dury, Killing Joke, Neil Young, REM, Sting, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Willie Dixon, Madonna and a host of others. He was also published in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Loaded, GQ and Uncut, he had pieces on Michael Jackson, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra featured in The Faber Book Of Pop and Rock ’N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and was the Daily Mirror’s regular music critic from 2001. He died in 2022.