Eric Clapton – Old Sock (Polydor/Universal) CD REVIEW

April 23, 2013

9f8943e77dfe2db96809fd830ee097f1b0509a6aOLD SOCK? I mean: OLD SOCK! WTF? I suppose one could develop a certain affection for an old sock, as long as it was still a pair of old socks, but only if it didn’t have any holes, and only the sort of affection one feels for that which is comfortably familiar.
So why would EC call his latest Old Sock? Perhaps he’s trying to cultivate the image of an old codger with nothing much to prove, and hopes therefore to deflect any criticism for what is a pretty spectacularly ordinary record. The cover certainly plays along with that idea: the decidedly amateur photos make him look like a homeless bozo.
The music is even worse than the album’s title or its photographs. It’s a covers album, of sorts – old sock as in something that covers you? – and on the first couple of tracks, at least, the artists covered haul their asses out of limbo to accompany the guitar god. These are, respectively, Taj Mahal and JJ Cale. Unfortunately, Oscar Hammerstein, Jerome Kern, Peter Tosh, Gerald Marks, Gary Moore, Otis Redding, George Gershwin and others are rather too dead to make even a brief guest appearance, but Clapton has a go at noodling through their songs anyway.
ERIC-CLAPTON---OLD-SOCK-2lp-2If Paul McCartney’s dire attempt at a smoochy covers album begged belief, we get to cringe all over again on that hoary old standard ‘All Of Me’ on which McCartney is dragged out to plonk a double bass and, uh, sing. There are a few other celebrity guests like Chaka Khan, Steve Winwood, and a large studio cast including famous session musos Willie Weeks and Steve Gadd. And they float through 12 performances that barely assert their right to exist, and on which ‘God’ fails to remember to play even one decent guitar lick.
Every now and then an old bastard (that is, someone around my age or older) comes up to me and groans away about how there’s no good music these days, and you just know that the only albums they ever buy are by guys like Clapton; guys who were really good in the ‘60s, but have been coasting along for so many years now that it’s hard to remember the last time they made a truly great album. Old Sock puts a new spin on the word ‘coast’, and I can’t think of even one half-good reason to shell out to support the steep decline represented here. He hardly needs our hard-earned. GARY STEEL

Sound = 3/5
Music = 1/5

Steel has been penning his pungent prose for 40 years for publications too numerous to mention, most of them consigned to the annals of history. He is Witchdoctor's Editor-In-Chief/Music and Film Editor. He has strong opinions and remains unrepentant. Steel's full bio can be found here


  1. Clapton has been taking music fans for a “ride” for the last 20 years,and living off his “white boy trying to play the blues” reputation from the 60’s 70’s. I wish these geriatrics would retire and stop embarassing themselves.

    My Aussie nephew adores him and flew from Darwin to Brisbane to hear him play in 2006. He described the gig as an OK jam session, with Claptons offsider playing most of the guitar licks!!! The kid thinks claptons great songs are “I shot the sheriff” and “cocaine”. I had to explain to him other artists actually wrote the songs.(and did better versions)

    Other friends paid 120 quid each to watch him play at the Royal Albert Hall in 2008. They describe him as being “indifferent” and putting on a “I don’t give a shite how I play” performance”. They were disgusted and left early.

    There is a “fashion police”. Perhaps we need to set up a “music police” and expose these so called classic artists.

  2. People who think Eric belongs to the geriatrics in guitar playing don’t understand music and the music Eric plays. They listen to his cd’s and think he plays everything himself.Then they go to a concert and see what has to be done to play this kind of music.This is one of the greatest guitar players you will see during your generation.Old Sock is a fantastic cd and is a landmark in the journey that Eric has undertaken during his career.Not every fan will enjoy this cd.If its fears solo’s you are hunting stay away.If its quality music your looking for, buy!

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