Crossroads 2: Live in the Seventies
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 1999, Volume 6, #4
Written by John Metzger
After achieving phenomenal success with groups such as John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek and the Dominos, Eric Clapton withdrew from the public's eye for nearly three years. It wasn't until 1974 that he returned to the recording studio and resumed a regular performance schedule. Crossroads 2, the sequel to his career retrospective Crossroads, captures the guitarist from the point of his return in May 1974 through the end of December 1978.
Clapton's albums through this period expanded upon his blossoming skills as a songwriter and vocalist, yet they left many wanting more as there were fewer extended guitar solos. However, as evidenced from the tracks on this four-disc set, Clapton's live performances had something to please just about everyone, including stunning guitar solos, raging renditions of classic blues selections, and some of the best tunes that he has ever composed.
Unlike the Crossroads compilation, most of the material contained on Crossroads 2 was previously unreleased, and those songs that were available appear here with a different mix. In addition, all but four of the thirty-five tracks were recorded in concert, and there's more than four hours worth of brilliant, mind-blowing music. The best track on the set is, without a doubt, the extraordinary pairing of Eyesight to the Blind and Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad? that concludes the second disc. Taken from a June 1975 performance in Providence, Rhode Island, Clapton is joined by Carlos Santana and several percussionists from Santana's band. The result is a scorching guitar duel over a driving Latin-influenced groove that pushes the boundaries of Sonny Boy Williamson's Eyesight to the Blind. Just when you think the band can't possibly take things any further, they seamlessly segue into the more majestic Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad? A more perfect pairing of songs, styles, and performers just can't be found.
There are plenty of other highlights here as well, as Clapton mixes his newer material of the time with songs from his enormous back catalog, while also fully exploring his various influences. Included are beautiful renditions of Wonderful Tonight and Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing, a reggae-infused version of Bob Dylan's Knockin' on Heaven's Door, and a fiery rendering of The Core. In the end, Clapton rarely has sounded better than he does on this collection, making it a must-have set for both the most die-hard and the most fickle Clapton fans.
Crossroads 2 is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box