Bluesbreaker Eric Clapton ##HOT##
Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton was Eric Clapton's first fully realized album as a blues guitarist -- more than that, it was a seminal blues album of the 1960s, perhaps the best British blues album ever cut, and the best LP ever recorded by John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Standing midway between Clapton's stint with the Yardbirds and the formation of Cream, this album featured the new guitar hero on a series of stripped-down blues standards, Mayall pieces, and one Mayall/Clapton composition, all of which had him stretching out in the idiom for the first time in the studio. This album was the culmination of a very successful year of playing with John Mayall, a fully realized blues creation, featuring sounds very close to the group's stage performances, and with no compromises. Credit has to go to producer Mike Vernon for the purity and simplicity of the record; most British producers of that era wouldn't have been able to get it recorded this way, much less released. One can hear the very direct influence of Buddy Guy and a handful of other American bluesmen in the playing. And lest anyone forget the rest of the quartet: future pop/rock superstar John McVie and drummer Hughie Flint provide a rock-hard rhythm section, and Mayall's organ playing, vocalizing, and second guitar are all of a piece with Clapton's work. His guitar naturally dominates most of this record, and he can also be heard taking his first lead vocal, but McVie and Flint are just as intense and give the tracks an extra level of steel-strung tension and power, none of which have diminished across several decades.
bluesbreaker eric clapton
Aside from the lack of chart success, what was holding the band back as the guitar-driven blues outfit Mayall aspired to was the lack of a lead guitar playing in the style of American blues giants like Freddie and Albert King. Mayall recruited Roger Dean to replace ex-Cyril Davies guitarist Bernie Watson. Both were accomplished players who could knock off some Chuck Berry or T-Bone Walker licks, but Dean was more comfortable as a country player, and neither could get to grips with that signature stinging, single-string blues guitar sound.
Speaking to some American contemporaries, we get very similar stories. One said that if you wanted to get into a west coast blues band, the audition piece was Hideway and you had to be able to play it note for note.
This was the amp that Clapton used with the Bluesbreakers. He combined this amp with his Gibson Les Paul and created tones that had never before been heard. When the Bluesbreaker album came out in 1966, the majority of guitarists were still using American voiced, Fender amps. These amps had a lot of headroom and produced a predominantly clean tone.
Since 2004, Eric Clapton has been using a Carlos Juan CP-1 Pickup in the Bellezza Nera model Martin guitar. These pickups are handbuilt in Germany by Carlos at his American Guitar Center. The Eric Clapton Signature Stratocasters are equipped with Fender Vintage Noiseless Pickups.