Cons: not releasing work that displays his talent anymore
In the mid-sixties, when Eric Clapton was a 21-year-old guitarist with the British group, the Bluesbreakers, a friend spray-painted "Clapton is God" on a wall in London. Almost 35 years later, Eric Clapton is still considered the greatest living guitarist.
Eric was at his best from 1966 to 1968 with Cream. Before Cream, he had been a member of the Yardbirds. Clapton revolutionized guitar playing with songs like "Sunshine of Your Love," "White Room," "Born Under a Bad Sign," and "SWBLAR." Hearing a live version of Jimi Hendrix playing "Sunshine of Your Love" (it is an instrumental) makes me think that Clapton inspired Hendrix, who further revolutionized guitar. For instance, Clapton was one of the first to make use of the "wah-wah pedal." Looking at the music, the chords and notes are not extraordinarily complicated (although the guitar solo on White Room is intricate). Not to minimize the technical aspects of his playing! I could certainly never play the notes as quickly as he does, no matter how long I practice. And he is also a phenomenal accoustic guitarist. However, what makes Clapton unique is the sound he can get out of his Fender Stratocaster. Clapton was very creative in his use of feedback and reverb.
On "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by the Beatles (White Album), Eric Clapton is featured on lead guitar. The first time you hear him come in, it is unmistakably Eric. While George Harrison was a good guitarist, he certainly could never play like that!
After Cream broke up, Eric and drummer Ginger Baker formed Blind Faith. This fantastic group, featuring Steve Winwood, didn't last long either, and Eric went on to form Derek and the Dominos in 1970. With this group, he recorded "Layla," as an ode to George Harrison's wife, who he was in love with.
While Clapton's solo work will always pale in comparison to the songs he released with Cream, Eric is still a phenomenal guitarist. I am in awe of him and could listen to him play all day. I just wish he would release some more songs with wailing guitar solos instead of his easy listening stuff like "Change the World" and "Father's Eyes."
[Note: I know this review is not about the "Eric Clapton and Friends" Live album. I submitted this review under the subject of "Eric Clapton", just him as an artist. Epinions somehow moved it.]