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Eric Clapton - Me and Mr Johnson - Warner Brothers

On his new album, Eric Clapton covers 14 of the 29 songs that legendary bluesman Robert Johnson wrote during his lifetime. Robert Johnson has always been one of Clapton’s primary musical influences. “It is a remarkable thing,” writes Clapton in the liner notes to this record, “to have been driven and influenced all of my life by the work of one man. His music is like my oldest friend.” During his career - from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers to Cream and his own solo records

- Clapton has peppered Robert Johnson songs throughout his work. The now legendary cover of “Crossroads” on Cream’s Wheels Of Fire and Clapton’s cover of “Steady Rollin’ Man” from 461 Ocean Boulevard are two of the finest examples of this. Since those early days with the Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Clapton’s passion for the blues and the significant impact he has had on rock music has been undeniable.

Musically stripped down to a primary four piece that includes Clapton on guitars, drummer Steve Gadd, bassist Nathan East and harmonica ace Jerry Portnoy (himself a legendary member of the Muddy Waters Blues Band), Me And Mr Johnson is an inspiring and fun collection of songs that comes a decade after the release of his all-blues covers' collection From The Cradle. Additional musical support comes from Billy Preston on organ and piano, guitarists Andy Fairweather Low and Doyle Bramhall II, and Jim Keltner on drums on one song.

Some of these Johnson covers we’ve come to be familiar with like Keb Mo’s cover of “Come On In My Kitchen,” and the Rolling Stones’ historic “Love In Vain.” Clapton covers both of these on this new album, along with excellent versions of “Hell Hound On My Trail,” “They’re Red Hot,” and “Stop Breakin’ Down Blues,” Clapton proves once again he is standing tall at the crossroads of rock and blues.

Written by Bruce Warren

Release Date: 3/30/2004

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