In my list of Top 100 albums to listen to from beginning to end I purposely stayed away from Best Of Albums as this would be the equivalent of cheating and the kind of thing that ultimately destroyed music as we once knew it as artists became increasingly aware that making a GREAT albums with GREAT songs from beginning to end was hard work and required inspiration, rather than producing a few “hit singles” and then re-packaging those singles into a best of compilation.
Along the way, a few albums are to be considered the equivalent of “best of” albums and Slowhand by Eric Clapton sits atop this list with hit after hit of timeless songs, all played with that un-hurried style of play which probably led Giorgio Gomelsky (the Yardbirds’ manager) to give Eric Clapton the nickname “slowhand” way back in 1964.
The record starts with a rendition of J.J. Cale’s “Cocaine” and from there it never looks back with Wonderful Tonight, Lay Down Sally, Next Time You See Her and We’re All The Way concluding one of Rock’s greatest Side A. Side B is of no less substance and for many of us who grew up with the “early” version of Clapton marks the last side in which his whiskey laced vocal cords and dirty blues guitar will ever sound like this again. “The Core’s” duet with Marcella (Marcy Levy) is classic Clapton’s smokie Wednesday evening bar sound which leads into his cover of John Martyn’s “May You Never”, opening a window to his troubled soul.
Are there more complex Clapton’s records? Sure, Are there more technical and melodic records of his? For Sure, but NONE deliver timeless listening pleasure front to back as Slowhand, a record for all ages, seasons, moods and one that has remained steadfast in my ultimate playlist for the past 40+ years.