Sunday, January 18, 2009

Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood: Little Wing

Last year, discussing Steve Winwood's Dear Mr Fantasy from Eric Clapton's second Crossroads guitar festival, I said that I have always been a little resistant to the Clapton mystique. I have since worked out why this is.

Although I post a lot of material from the 1960s here, the decade in which I formed my tastes and followed the charts was the 1970s. I can still identify most singles from the middle of the decade from their first few notes.

And in the 1970s Eric Clapton was issuing singles like "I Shot the Sheriff" and "Wonderful Tonight". These were not the sort of thing to inspire anybody. Having delved deeper into his archive recently, I have more respect for him.

In 1969 Clapton and Winwood were both members of the short-lived Blind Faith, which is generally regarded as the first "super group". More about them one day.

Here they are from February of last year playing in one of three rapturously received concerts they played at Madison Square Gardens in New York. As was said at the time, it was a novelty to see two former bandmates who so obviously enjoy playing with one another. Most group members from the Blind Faith era hate each other and have only got back together because they need the money.

"Little Wing" is a Jimi Hendrix song and Clapton sounds pretty wonderful playing it. In case it seems sacrilegious for anyone else to play a Hendrix song, it is worth pointing out that Steve Winwood played with him on "Voodoo Chile" from the Electric Ladyland album.

Later. Videos of this song keep disappearing from Youtube, but the latest one I have found has little audience noise.


Anonymous said...

The trouble with any live performance recorded in the USA is that one's enjoyment is spoiled by the incessant whistling and whooping noises that American audiences make.

Watch any American TV programme with a live audience - say, the Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien chat shows - and you get the same problem.

What are these people on?

Anonymous said...

"What are these people on?"

Not their veddy, veddy proper, corkscrewed-way-up-there thumbs, eh wot old son?

Do you know where rock came from? Elvis knew. Elgar didn't. In the places rock came from, audiences didn't lie in repose for performances.

It is Generative Art, bro, authored by its time and its history, by its technology and yes its audience at least as much as by its putative performers and composers.

Yes you can stubbornly deny this and yes you'd be wrong.

A modestly offered if perhaps challenging suggestion:

Go back to The Who, turn left at Terry (O')Riley. Work and play your way on to recent Pauline Oliveros and then slide back over to your favorite old LP stuff.

You may end with a much richer appreciation for some music you already quite rightly (but only narrrowly) love.

I did.