What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Clapton, known as one of rock's best guitarists, is at heart a bluesman, and the blues, by its very nature, is no stranger to life's darker side. Hence some of these songs deal with themes of violence, death, drugs, and sexual frustration, to say nothing of the pure sadness of love gone wrong. And at the time many of these songs were recorded, Clapton was going through drug issues, marital upheavals, and personal tragedies. But the blues, by its very nature, is also a survival tool for getting through life's troubles by giving them expression, and Clapton is one of its most popular and accessible stylists.
What's the story?
Drawn from guitar legend Eric Clapton's early solo career in the '70s (including two tracks from the fabled Derek and the Dominos album, which also featured Duane Allman), this collection includes a fine selection of his work in a variety of styles. Besides his own hit songs (\"Lay Down Sally,\" \"Promises\"), there are several outstanding cover tunes: Bob Marley's \"I Shot the Sheriff,\" Bob Dylan's \"Knockin' on Heaven's Door,\" J.J. Cale's \"Cocaine\" and \"After Midnight.\"
Is it any good?
As a point of entry to Clapton's multi-decade career, this collection is an excellent choice. The musical standards are uniformly quite high -- Clapton has always been considered a "guitar god" -- and the tracks are all very accessible and appealing. As usual for rock and blues, some of the themes are definitely adult, including drug references and violence, but they tend to be treated more as descriptions of the landscape the singer occupies than endorsements or advocacy.
This album, which includes a variety of styles, may encourage some kids to delve deeper and track down some of the original albums and the sources of the cover tunes.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why drugs seem to be such an issue for a lot of rock stars -- during the time he was recording these songs, Clapton was emerging from a heroin addiction, and dealt with other substance issues. (Now he hosts the Crossroads Festival, benefiting a drug treatment center.) If you're a creative person, what are the dangers?
When Clapton recorded "I Shot the Sheriff," Bob Marley's music was just becoming known in the United States. What do you know about Jamaican music, and Marley in particular?
Why do you think unrequited or forbidden love is such a popular subject for songs?