Thursday, November 9, 2006

The Road to Escondido

Posted on Thu, Nov 9, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The Road to Escondido
Label: Reprise
Length: LP
Media: Cassette
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Road to Escondido , The
As one of the most successful MOR artists of the past 15 years, Eric Clapton knows a hit when he hears it. Two of his earliest solo successes, 'After Midnightâ?� and 'Cocaine,â?� were written by his friend J.J. Cale. Possessed of a stinging blues-guitar style and equally meaty songwriting skills, Cale is in many ways Clapton's opposite. He eschews publicity, still plays incredibly hot guitar and doesn't need show business to live a contented life. Co-produced by the soul-robbing Simon Climie, The Road to Escondido is the first collaboration between Clapton and Cale, but the former's penchant for whitewashed slickness wipes out the latter's true-blue notes. Cale's acetylene licks do push Clapton to some of his best guitar work in ages, but the songs' sterile grooves and plastic blues never raise the pulse above a quiver. The whole affair is pleasant enough, but unlike Bob Dylan ' whose roots music has real grit ' Clapton maintains a distance from his music that betrays his Bluesbreakers origins.

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