PD 3503 At His Best
Previously released material
Released on October 1972
US CHART POSITION #87
Find it at GEMM
PD 3503 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

P olydor was just itchin’ to reissue Clapton’s music; in the span of less than a year they released The History of Eric Clapton, At His Best and Clapton. That each of these repackages charted is pretty amazing. That I managed to find this in a used record store for two bucks (even if it is a CRC print) is even more amazing. However, like a lot of Clapton fans, I’ve already heard these songs since I own their source: Blind Faith, Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs, and Clapton’s eponymous debut. While there was a great demand for Clapton’s music, there seems to have been an equal demand to have it appear under his moniker. Lumping the Blind Faith and Dominos music into an Eric Clapton collection is presumptuous and misleading, since the best of Eric Clapton at the moment (1972) would have heavily leaned on Cream. Instead, At His Best is slanted heavily toward Derek and The Dominos, the most fruitful of the three Clapton projects since Cream. Selectionwise there’s lots of leeway, since fifty percent of the material had a chance of making the cut. “Bottle of Red Wine” is a good opener, including “Let It Rain,” “After Midnight,” “Blues Power” is required, choosing “Easy Now” is a kindness. The Derek material digs deeper: eight tracks including “Layla,” “Bell Bottom Blues” and “Little Wing.” Blind Faith only gets a glance, with “Sea of Joy” and “Presence of the Lord.” Me, I would’ve included “Had To Cry Today” and dumped “Slunky” and “Lonesome...” from his solo elpee, if I’d been held at gunpoint and forced to compile yet another temporary shrine to Clapton. Time has rendered At His Best little more than a pair of sticks in the sand, a means to mark the passing of time in terms of Clapton’s achievements. If you stumble on it in a used record shop, it’s worth a flyer since the sound quality isn’t bad (I actually like the sound on the Blind Faith recordings better than the original elpee) though no match for the CD remasters.

PD 3503 back cover
PD 3503 back cover

TRACK LISTING

    record one
  1. BOTTLE OF RED WINE    (Bonnie Bramlett/Eric Clapton)    3:06
  2. ANYDAY    (Eric Clapton/Bobby Whitlock)    6:33
  3. I LOOKED AWAY    (Eric Clapton/Bobby Whitlock)    3:02
  4. LET IT RAIN    (Bonnie Bramlett/Eric Clapton)    5:07
  5. LONESOME AND A LONG WAY FROM HOME    (Bonnie Bramlett/Leon Russell)    3:43
  6. SEA OF JOY    (Steve Winwood)    5:23
  7. LAYLA    (Eric Clapton/Jim Gordon)    7:01
  8. BLUES POWER    (Eric Clapton/Leon Russell)    3:10
  9. BELL BOTTOM BLUES    (Eric Clapton)    5:00

    record two
  10. AFTER MIDNIGHT    (John J. Cale)    3:11
  11. KEEP ON GROWING    (Eric Clapton/Bobby Whitlock)    6:20
  12. LITTLE WING    (Jimi Hendrix)    5:31
  13. PRESENCE OF THE LORD    (Eric Clapton)    4:48
  14. WHY DOES LOVE GOT TO BE SO SAD?    (Eric Clapton/Bobby Whitlock)    4:41
  15. EASY NOW    (Eric Clapton)    2:58
  16. SLUNKY    (Bonnie Bramlett/Eric Clapton)    3:33
  17. KEY TO THE HIGHWAY    (Charles Segar/Willie Broonzy)    9:39

CREDITS

ERIC CLAPTON -- guitars & lead vocals
JIM GORDON -- drums
CARL RADLE -- bass guitar, percussion
BOBBY WHITLOCK -- organ, piano, vocals, acoustic guitar
J.I. Allison -- vocals (crickets) Duane Allman -- guitars
Ginger Baker -- drums
Bonnie Bramlett -- vocals
Delaney Bramlett -- rhythm guitar & vocals
Rita Coolidge -- vocals
Sonny Curtis -- vocals (crickets)
Rick Grech -- bass guitar
Bobby Keys -- sax
Jim Price -- trumpet
Leon Russell -- piano
John Simon -- piano
Stephen Stills -- guitar
Stevie Winwood -- vocals, organ, guitar
Ron Albert, Chuck Kirkpatrick, Howie Albert, Carl Richardson, Mac Emmerman -- recording engineers
Shelley Snow -- research and collation
Ron Levine -- art and design

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US October 1972 Polydor 2LP PD 3503 front flap design
UK   RSO 2LP 2659 025  
JPN 1980 RSO 2LP MWU-9713/4 lyric insert

 

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