There are a lot of words that can be used to describe Eric Clapton’s latest release, Old Sock. Words such as comfortable, relaxed, and cruise control can all be used to describe the sound and feel of this album.
Clapton does not over-reach or try to be over-creative. Instead he selects material that he seems to enjoy and fits where he is in life. While his guitar chops are still present; they do not dominate the album but rather are used in support of his vocals, which are the center piece. It all ends up as an album that covers the middle ground well with no real lows or highs. As the title would suggest, the music takes you to a warm and safe place.
The old Led Belly song, “Goodnight Irene,” is probably the best track. His voice moves it away from its blues origins but some slide guitar returns it back again. His cover of Ray Charles” “Born To Lose” has a little fire in it while his mostly acoustic “Still Got The Blues” is a fine tribute to the late Gary Moore. “Further On Down The Road” ends with one of the few classic Clapton guitar solos and is well-worth the wait.
On the other hand, “The Folk Who Live On The Hill” has a blandness to it while “Gotta Get Over” never really gets going. “Every Little Thing” unfortunately comes complete with a children’s choir, which is a bit out of tune.
Old Sock is like a dinner wine; you savor it but it leaves no lasting impression. There is little doubt that Clapton is content with the album and I am OK with it as well. As Ricky Nelson once sang; “You can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself.”