461 Ocean Boulevard [Deluxe Edition]

by: Eric Clapton

Polydor/Chronicles' 2004 deluxe edition reissue of Eric Clapton's 461 Ocean Boulevard -- long considered one of Clapton's best solo albums, ranking alongside Eric Clapton and Slowhand as one of his finest studio efforts -- expands the original ten-track album to two discs. The original album is supplemented by five session outtakes on the first disc, all of which have been previously released on other reissues: "Walkin' Down the Road" appeared on 1996's Crossroads 2, "Ain't That Lovin' You" appeared on 1988's Crossroads, while "Meet Me (Down at the Bottom)" appeared on 1999's Blues and the other two tracks, "Eric After Hours Blues" and "B Minor Jam," appeared on the limited-edition bonus disc that came with the original release of Blues. All these sound like outtakes -- they're all a little too lazy and meandering to make a finished album, but fanatics will surely like all of these outtakes collected in one place and paired with the official album. The second disc compiles highlights from two concerts Clapton gave at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on December 4 and 5, 1974. Here, Clapton also sounds a little bit too laid back, particularly on the acoustic material, but he does have some fine moments scattered through the disc -- perhaps not enough to satisfy anybody besides dedicated fans, but that's who the reissue is for, and they'll likely be satisfied with this nicely remastered, well-packaged set, even if it packs no revelations. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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