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Eric Clapton's self-titled debut album: now expanded, but not essential

Eric Clapton releases a massively expanded version of his self-titled 1970 solo debut

Eric Clapton: Eric Clapton (deluxe edition)
(Image: © UMC/Polydor)

With Cream and Blind Faith finished and Derek & The Dominos not quite ready for take-off, in July 1970 Eric Clapton released his self-titled first solo album. 

Unassuming, blues-tinged and produced by Delaney Bramlett, it made the Top 20 on both sides of the Atlantic and established the template for Clapton’s next half-century. 

All the same, he was so unsure of his direction that he had it mixed three times. All three versions are here. The original Tom Dowd mix had a certain brassy boldness, but Bramlett’s version – which first appeared as part of a 2005 reissue – is more subtle, especially on the quieter Easy Now, which almost breaks into Renaissance’s Northern Lights at one welcome point, and the sweet Lovin’ You Lovin’ Me

Clapton’s own, previously unreleased, mix toughens up the turbo-charged instrumental Slunky and After Midnight. If that wasn’t enough, a fourth disc comprises eight out-takes and oddities featuring Clapton, including Delaney & Bonnie’s unsettling Groupie (Superstar) and King Curtis’s blistering Teasin’

The mixes aren’t sufficiently different to add more than nuance, but they do provide signposts as to where Clapton was and where he could have gone. A worthwhile exercise, although not an essential one.