Timepieces – The Best of Eric Clapton
In 1965, Eric Clapton left The Yardbirds because he felt that they had strayed too far from their blues origins and too close to the mainstream with their hit ‘For Your Love’. But after some stellar work with Cream in the late 1960s, and with Derek and the Dominoes in the early 1970s, Clapton himself drifted to the mainstream in his solo career, peddling extremely smooth songs like ‘Wonderful Tonight’.
At least Clapton wrote ‘Wonderful Tonight’; elsewhere he rarely puts pen to paper, covering Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Johnny Otis, and J.J. Cale (twice) – it feels like the only thing that solo Clapton has to contribute to the world of popular music is his smooth guitar leads.
The key redeeming feature of Timepieces is the magnum opus ‘Layla’, Clapton’s anguished plea of love to George Harrison’s wife. The raw power and emotion are stunning, while the extended piano led coda is memorable in its own right – but of course it’s better heard on its parent album, from Derek and the Dominoes in 1970.
There are a few other passable songs towards the end of Timepieces -‘Promises’ and ‘Let it Grow’ are both pretty and inoffensive – but for me, Clapton ceased to be interesting after 1970, switching from dynamic blues to formulaic adult contemporary.