Starting today, you can buy a brand-new “Deluxe Edition” of Eric Clapton‘s bright and pleasing, March 1992, Unplugged concert on MTV. Yes, you get a remastered CD, with six new songs and a DVD that curates the entirety of the MTV performance.
Every and all guitar players must purchase both the album and the video performance if you want to understand just how a light hand — a slowhand — survives in performance when blended with voice and rhythm.
Clapton is at his very best in this acoustic guitar showcase, and you really come to understand the genius of his playing. He is an old-pro master and I don’t think he’s been more interesting in anything he’s done since that historic, six-Grammy-award-winning, performance.
In addition to remastered versions of the 14 original songs, you get six extra performances:
- My Father’s Eyes (Take 1)
- Running on Faith (Take 1)
- Walkin’ Blues (Take 1)
- My Father’s Eyes (Take 2)
- Worried Life Blues
In listening to the extra cuts, you understand why they didn’t make the original version. The timing is off. The sound isn’t as rich and clear. Eric seems a little agitated — but it’s a delight to have these abandoned cuts included because they show the process of creation in performance — that that includes the not-so-perfect with the almost there.
What makes one version of a song better than another? You can find the evidence herein. At times, Clapton seems rushed or uncertain, and that trepidation shines through a little too clearly, and that creates a grand record beyond illusion.
Being able to watch Eric Clapton sitting and playing a variety of guitars is a real joy.
The fact that his three “Open G” slide songs — “Running On Faith” and “Walkin’ Blues” and “Rollin’ and Tumblin'” sound even clearer and better in this remastered deluxe version is only outshone by the addition of additional takes of those songs in the bonus disc:
“Running On Faith (Take 1)” —
— and “Walkin’ Blues (Take 1)”
Having those additional examples of the songs teaches us just how differently a song can sound from intention to intention — and we need not sweat being imperfect in our imitation. Yes, they’re the same songs, but the performance quality and emotion are entirely different!
For the True Clapton fan, you must have the “Authentic Guitar Transcription” book in hand. All of the 14 original songs are written in TAB form, so you can recreate the exact notes and style Clapton used in performance.
The inclusion of the second guitarist Andy Fairweather Low‘s performance next to Clapton’s on the page also helps demonstrate the depth of sound created.
Yes, Clapton is singing and playing and Andy is only playing, but this book proves how it is really Andy’s riffs, and not Clapton’s, that make these songs so immeasurably memorable.
For the even Truer Clapton Fanatic, you cannot do without Wolf Marshall‘s excellent book and CD of “Signature Licks” dissecting that Unplugged performance.
Wolf walks you through some of the harder guitar sequences in slower versions of the songs to help you hear, and better know, just precisely what Clapton was up to — and why!
Yes, Andy Fairweather Low is right there, too, on the page. His second guitar parts are much more challenging to perform than Eric’s — so player beware!
Eric Clapton is one of the greatest musical talents of our time. His career currently stretches over 51 years, and his influence is still magnificent and magnitudinal — what else could a person ever wish from the promise of a life?