Eric Clapton ‘The Lady in the Balcony: Lockdown Sessions’
American Blues Scene Staff
The project was initiated as the result of the forced cancellation of Eric Clapton’s concerts scheduled for May 2021 at the Royal Albert Hall due to the continued disruption caused by the pandemic.
Eric Clapton returns with a remarkable new release, The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions on November 12. Available via Mercury Studios on multiple formats, the 17 songs find Clapton and longtime bandmates Nathan East (Bass and Vocals), Steve Gadd (Drums) and Chris Stainton (Keyboards) performing acoustic renditions of Clapton standards and an assortment of other numbers encompassing blues, country and rarified originals.
Overseen by Clapton’s legendary longtime Grammy-winning producer Russ Titelman (James Taylor, George Harrison, Brian Wilson, Randy Newman, Rickie Lee Jones) and recorded live at Cowdray House in West Sussex, England, the performance finds Clapton and company revisiting such timeless classics as “After Midnight,” “Layla,” “Bell Bottom Blues,” “Tears in Heaven,” “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” and “Key to the Highway.” In addition to revisiting some of Eric’s best-loved selections from his own extensive repertoire, Clapton and crew also offer their own versions of songs that had a profound effect on his career and those of his contemporaries including the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac tracks “Black Magic Woman” and “Man of the World.”
The project was initiated as the result of the forced cancellation of Eric Clapton’s concerts scheduled for May 2021 at the Royal Albert Hall due to the continued disruption caused by the pandemic. Looking for a viable alternative and hoping to keep his options open, he reconvened with his band to the English countryside and staged a concert in the presence of only the participants themselves while letting the cameras roll. (Clapton’s wife Melia, the sole outside observer inspired the Sessions title.) The mostly acoustic set was envisioned to be like an Eric Clapton Unplugged II, but not quite, as three songs are played with electric guitars. The result became far more than simply a sequence of greatest hits. Rather, it’s one of the most intimate and authentic performances of Clapton’s entire career, an offering flush with real insight into the make-up of his indelible catalogue.
After his time with the Yardbirds in 1963, Clapton began a career as a professional musician that has seen numerous bands, an abundance of albums, countless worldwide sold out shows, an impressive array of accolades, unwavering critical acclaim and his consistent display of legendary guitar work.
The Lady in the Balcony: Lockdown Sessions will be available on DVD+CD, Blu-ray+CD, 4K UHD+Blu-ray, 2 LPs pressed on yellow vinyl, and a Deluxe Edition containing the DVD, Blu-ray & CD packaged in a 40 page 12” x 12” hardback photo book, digital video & digital audio. In addition, a CD-only version will be available exclusively at Target.
George Harrison’s Masterpiece, ‘All Things Must Pass,’ Celebrated With Suite Of 50th Anniversary Editions
American Blues Scene Staff
“Even before I started, I knew I was gonna make a good album because I had so many songs and I had so much energy. For me to do my own album after all that – it was joyous. Dream of dreams.” – George Harrison
Recorded and released in the wake of The Beatles’ April 1970 dissolution, George Harrison’s landmark solo album, All Things Must Pass, is a fully realized statement by a bold and audacious artist. Produced by Harrison and Phil Spector, the 23-track All Things Must Pass stands tall a half-century later as an epic, ambitious expression of Harrison’s remarkable gift for sheer songcraft, powerful spirituality, and a celebration of both his inimitable individuality and unique camaraderie with his fellow musicians.
All Things Must Pass was an overdue artistic release for George as a songwriter and musician. The first-ever triple studio album, All Things Must Pass overflows with a voluminous range of ideas, musical styles, and influences, spanning rock ‘n’ roll, country, gospel, blues, pop, folk, R&B, Indian classical music, and devotional songs. Despite the album being wildly successful and Harrison’s affection for it, he would write in the liner notes for the 30th anniversary remaster, released in 2001, “I still like the songs on the album and believe they can continue to outlive the style in which they were recorded,” adding, however, “it was difficult to resist re-mixing every track. All these years later I would like to liberate some of the songs from the big production that seemed appropriate at the time”.
Decades in the making and lovingly crafted by the Harrison family, All Things Must Pass has now been completely remixed from the original tapes for a stunning suite of 50th-anniversary releases that fulfills Harrison’s longtime desire. Executive produced by Dhani Harrison, a product produced by David Zonshine and mixed by triple GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Paul Hicks (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, John Lennon), the new mix transforms the album by sonically upgrading it – making it sound brighter, fuller, and better than ever before.
Releasing August 6 via Capitol/UMe, All Things Must Pass 50th Anniversary Edition will be available in a variety of formats:
UBER DELUXE EDITION
Exclusive to GeorgeHarrison.com, uDiscover, and Sound of Vinyl, All Things Must Pass 50th Anniversary Edition will be available as a very limited Uber Deluxe Edition box set, which includes the album on 8LP (180g) and 5CD + 1 Blu-ray audio disc housed in an artisan designed wooden crate (approx. 12.4” X 12.4” X 17.5”). The collection explores the 1970 album sessions through 47 (42 previously unreleased) demos and outtakes, offering an inside look into the creative process. The Blu-ray allows fans to experience the main album in a high-res stereo, enveloping 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Atmos mixes.
The crate contains two books, an elaborate and expanded 96-page scrapbook curated by Olivia Harrison, with unseen imagery and memorabilia from the era, handwritten lyrics, diary entries, studio notes, tape box images, a comprehensive track-by-track, and more; while a second 44-page book chronicling the making of All Things Must Pass through extensive archival interviews with notes is also contained herein. The elegantly designed book pays homage to Harrison’s love of gardening and nature. The book also contains a wooden bookmark made from a felled Oak tree (Quercus Robur) in George’s Friar Park. This truly unique box will also contain 1/6 scale replica figurines of Harrison and the gnomes featured on the iconic album cover, a limited edition illustration by musician and artist Klaus Voormann, as well as a copy of Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Light from the Great Ones” and Rudraksha beads, contained in individual custom-made boxes.
SUPER DELUXE EDITION
The Super Deluxe Edition box set, presented on 8LP (180g) or 5CD + 1 Blu-ray audio disc, explores the 1970 album sessions through 47 (42 previously unreleased) demos and outtakes. The Blu-ray allows fans to experience the main album in a high-res stereo, enveloping 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Atmos mixes. The collection contains a beautiful 60-page scrapbook curated by Olivia Harrison, with unseen imagery and memorabilia from the era, handwritten lyrics, diary entries, studio notes, tape box images, a comprehensive track-by-track, and more. It also includes a replica of the original album poster.
All Things Must Pass will be released in multiple physical and digital configurations, including as a 5LP or 3CD Deluxe Edition that pairs the main album with the session’s outtakes and jams. The main album will be available on its own as 2CD, 3LP, or limited edition 3LP color vinyl. All versions are available for pre-order now.
“Since the 50th-anniversary stereo mix release of the title track to my father’s legendary All Things Must Pass album in 2020, my dear pal Paul Hicks and I have continued to dig through mountains of tapes to restore and present the rest of this newly remixed and expanded edition of the album you now see and hear before you,” says Dhani Harrison. “Bringing greater sonic clarity to this record was always one of my father’s wishes and it was something we were working on together right up until he passed in 2001. Now, 20 years later, with the help of new technology and the extensive work of Paul Hicks we have realized this wish and present to you this very special 50th Anniversary release of perhaps his greatest work of art. Every wish will be fulfilled.”
The All Things Must Pass sessions began just six weeks after the April 1970 announcement of The Beatles’ break-up. Two days were spent recording thirty demos in Studio Three at EMI Studios, Abbey Road in St. John’s Wood, London. The first day, May 26, saw Harrison record fifteen songs backed by Ringo Starr and his longtime friend, bassist Klaus Voormann, beginning with “All Things Must Pass.” The next day, May 27, George played an additional fifteen songs for co-producer Phil Spector. The All Things Must Pass Uber and Super Deluxe Editions collect all 30 of these remarkable demo recordings, including 26 tracks never before officially released and several songs that didn’t make the album like “Cosmic Empire,” “Going Down To Golders Green,” “Dehra Dun,” “Sour Milk Sea,” and “Mother Divine.”
The scope of Harrison’s songwriting remains breathtaking – his deeply personal introspection and striking wit are matched by the album’s boldly extravagant production. With its densely orchestrated textures and eclectic embrace of myriad genres, Harrison and Phil Spector’s groundbreaking sonic approach set a grand blueprint for countless artists to follow.
George had been stockpiling material for nearly half a decade, with a number of songs – including “Isn’t It A Pity” and the title track – rehearsed with, but not recorded by, The Beatles. Further songs evinced Harrison’s growing frustration over those preceding years, including “Wah-Wah,” the dramatic “Beware of Darkness,” and “Run Of The Mill,” the latter named by both George and Olivia Harrison as one of their all-time favorites.
Written by George while producing Billy Preston’s 1969 Apple Records solo debut but saved for his own album a year later, the glorious “What Is Life” highlights the artist at his most exultant. At the album’s heart were songs like “My Sweet Lord,” “Awaiting On You All” and the impassioned “Hear Me Lord,” each of which epitomized Harrison’s lifelong inner journey.
An anthem weaving a chant of the Hare Krishna mantra and “hallelujah,” “My Sweet Lord” proved a worldwide smash upon its November 1970 single release, making history as the first solo single by a former Beatle to reach #1 in the UK or the US. Inducted into the GRAMMY® Hall of Fame in 2014, the indelible anthem of spiritual and religious unity has remained one of the world’s most beloved songs, named among the “Greatest Songs of All Time” by both Rolling Stone and NME. Last year saw a limited edition clear vinyl 7″ of “My Sweet Lord” released by the George Harrison Estate in partnership with Record Store Day‘s Black Friday event on November 27, 2020 – the official 50th anniversary of All Things Must Pass’ original release.
Harrison’s close friendship with Bob Dylan begat two songs: the album-opening “I’d Have You Anytime” was co-written with Dylan, while the classic “If Not For You” was at the time an unreleased Dylan composition. The All Things Must Pass Super Deluxe Edition includes previously unreleased demo recordings of both songs as well as “Nowhere To Go” and “I Don’t Want To Do It,” another original Dylan song later recorded by George for a 1985 soundtrack but remains unrecorded by Dylan himself.
George brought together a stunning roster of friends and fellow musicians to record All Things Must Pass, including Ringo Starr, Klaus Voormann, and Billy Preston, along with Eric Clapton and his new American bandmates, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, and Jim Gordon (soon to be known collectively as Derek and the Dominoes). Badfinger’s Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Joey Molland, and Mike Gibbons contributed additional acoustics and percussion. Phil Spector’s desire for multiple pianos, layers of acoustic guitars, and more drums saw the addition of Peter Frampton and Jerry Shirley from Humble Pie, Spooky Tooth’s Gary Wright, Plastic Ono Band veteran and future Yes drummer Alan White, Traffic’s Dave Mason, Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker, and the in-demand horn section of Bobby Keys and Jim Price. Pete Drake, legendary Nashville session musician provided pedal steel guitar on several tracks. Arrangements for strings and horns came from longtime collaborator John Barham.
The original release of All Things Must Pass collected 18 songs over two LPs alongside a third LP – dubbed “Apple Jam” – showcasing four improvised instrumentals including a pair recorded as part of Derek and the Dominoes’ first-ever official recording session in June 1970. In addition, the “Apple Jam” disc includes “It’s Johnny’s Birthday,” sung to the tune of Cliff Richard’s 1968 hit “Congratulations” and recorded as a gift from Harrison to mark John Lennon’s 30th birthday.
The All Things Must Pass session tapes created in 1970 include over twenty-five hours of music on forty-nine 1” eight-track tapes, four 2” sixteen-track tapes, and forty-four ¼” stereo tapes. Richard Radford, Archivist for the George Harrison Estate oversaw the preservation of the tape collection, with the original analog multi-track and stereo tapes transferred to 192 KHz/24bit digital preservation copies.
Hailed by Rolling Stone as “the War and Peace of rock and roll” and “an intensely personal statement and a grandiose gesture,” All Things Must Pass was met by unanimous critical acclaim and spectacular commercial success, spending seven weeks at #1 on Billboard’s “Top LPs” chart and eight weeks atop the UK’s official albums chart (though chart records until 2006 mistakenly stated that it had peaked at #4). Currently certified 6x platinum by the RIAA, All Things Must Pass later received a 1972 GRAMMY® Award nomination for “Album of the Year,” while “My Sweet Lord” earned a GRAMMY® nod for “Record of the Year.” “What Is Life,” the album’s second single, also became an international hit, reaching the top 10 in the US and Canada as well as #1 in Australia and Switzerland.
Today’s launch is heralded with the official video of the previously unreleased and remixed “Run Of The Mill” (Take 36).
ALL THINGS MUST PASS
SUPER DELUXE EDITION
RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 6, 2021
Disc One (Main Album)
I’d Have You Anytime
My Sweet Lord
Isn’t It A Pity (Version One)
What Is Life
If Not For You
Behind That Locked Door
Let It Down
Run Of The Mill
Disc Two (Main Album Cont.)
Beware Of Darkness
Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)
Awaiting On You All
All Things Must Pass
I Dig Love
Art Of Dying
Isn’t It A Pity (Version Two)
Hear Me Lord
Out Of The Blue *
It’s Johnny’s Birthday *
Plug Me In *
I Remember Jeep *
Thanks For The Pepperoni *
* Newly Remastered/Original Mix
Disc Three (Day 1 Demos – Tuesday 26 May 1970)
All Things Must Pass (Take 1) †
Behind That Locked Door (Take 2)
I Live For You (Take 1)
Apple Scruffs (Take 1)
What Is Life (Take 3)
Awaiting On You All (Take 1) †
Isn’t It A Pity (Take 2)
I’d Have You Anytime (Take 1)
I Dig Love (Take 1)
Going Down To Golders Green (Take 1)
Dehra Dun (Take 2)
Om Hare Om (Gopala Krishna) (Take 1)
Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) (Take 2)
My Sweet Lord (Take 1) †
Sour Milk Sea (Take 1)
Disc Four (Day 2 Demos – Tuesday 27 May 1970)
Run Of The Mill (Take 1) †
Art Of Dying (Take 1)
Everybody/Nobody (Take 1)
Wah-Wah (Take 1)
Window Window (Take 1)
Beautiful Girl (Take 1)
Beware Of Darkness (Take 1)
Let It Down (Take 1)
Tell Me What Has Happened To You (Take 1)
Hear Me Lord (Take 1)
Nowhere To Go (Take 1)
Cosmic Empire (Take 1)
Mother Divine (Take 1)
I Don’t Want To Do It (Take 1)
If Not For You (Take 1)
† Previously Released
Disc Five (Session Outtakes and Jams)
Isn’t It A Pity (Take 14)
Wah-Wah (Take 1)
I’d Have You Anytime (Take 5)
Art Of Dying (Take 1)
Isn’t It A Pity (Take 27)
If Not For You (Take 2)
Wedding Bells (Are Breaking Up That Old Gang Of Mine) (Take 1)
What Is Life (Take 1)
Beware Of Darkness (Take 8)
Hear Me Lord (Take 5)
Let It Down (Take 1)
Run Of The Mill (Take 36)
Down To the River (Rocking Chair Jam) (Take 1)
Get Back (Take 1)
Almost 12 Bar Honky Tonk (Take 1)
It’s Johnny’s Birthday (Take 1)
Woman Don’t You Cry For Me (Take 5)
Blu-ray Audio Disc (Main Album Only; Surround, Atmos, Hi-Res)
Walter Trout To Release New Studio Album ‘Ordinary Madness’ on August 28
For Walter Trout, there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. Across his five-decade career, the great U.S. bluesman’s music has always been a lifeline and call-to-arms
Walter Trout and Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group have announced the global release of a new studio album titled Ordinary Madness on August 28. The pre-order goes live today, featuring configurations that include 2LP+MP3, CD, Limited CD Box, and MFiT Digital.
For Walter Trout, there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. Across his five-decade career, the great U.S. bluesman’s music has always been a lifeline and call-to-arms, reminding listeners they are not alone. Now, as the world seeks solace from a tragedy that has touched us all, he comes armed with a boundary-exploring new studio album and eleven searingly honest songs that bring his fans even closer. “There’s a lot of extraordinary madness going on right now,” considers Trout, of the COVID-19 crisis. “This album started because I was dealing with the flaws and weakness inside me. But it ended up being about everyone.”
Ordinary Madness was completed mere days before the U.S. shutdown, its cathartic songcraft and themes of shared troubles couldn’t chime better with a period in which our souls and spirits are under fire from tumultuous global events.
Trout has been nothing short of prolific over the course of his seven decades on this Earth. He’s released 27 solo albums over a career that has spanned the globe, and delivered notoriety as one of the great purveyors of the blues. Trout’s history is equal parts thriller, romance, suspense and horror. There are musical fireworks, critical acclaim and fists-aloft triumph, offset by wilderness years, brushes with the jaws of narcotic oblivion, and the survival of an organ transplant few come back from. From 1973, when he left his New Jersey home headed to Los Angeles, he has followed a road that afforded him an opportunity to just play, sharing the stage as a sideman with Jesse Ed Davis, Big Mama Thornton, Lowell Fulson, Joe Tex, and of course the great John Mayall (following a three year tenure in Canned Heat).
Admirably open about his troubled youth, and his own ongoing struggles with mental health, the bluesman had spent recent tours soothing himself by scribbling down his thoughts and feelings. It was only later he realized he’d just written the most honest lyric-sheet of his career – and felt he had an opportunity to let fans share and identify with him. “Everybody is dealing with something,” he says. “And I’m no different from anybody else. Ordinary Madness doesn’t mean you’re gonna end up in a mental institution. It’s just being human. It’s common humanity.”
Trout’s formative blues influences are well-documented, spanning from Paul Butterfield’s 1965 self-titled debut alongside Mike Bloomfield to John Mayall’s seminal 1966 ‘Beano’ LP with Eric Clapton. But as he cut his teeth in New Jersey, the young guitarist was also drawn to the maverick songwriters, taking in The Beatles, Dylan and Neil Young’s Crazy Horse. At every step of his career – moving to California in ’74 to back up giants like John Lee Hooker, joining Canned Heat and Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in the ’80s, then flying solo in 1989 – the stockpile of songs kept growing.
When Trout walked away from the Bluesbreakers, he embarked on a solo career that has yielded a catalogue that has established a deep legacy in the world of blues, Americana, and the realm of revered singer-songwriters. While many would slow down as they approach their 70th birthday, Trout continues to deliver inspired recordings, performances, and a voice that articulates relevant ideology and insights in to The World that inspires his deep perspective. There’s no autopilot emanating from Walter, but a true a sense of growing momentum, elements of surprise, and repertoire that continues to be more compelling with each new creation.
This time around, Trout is doing things a little differently. Led in by an electronic intro created by eldest son Jon Trout, the song sets off on a hypnotic groove with a gloriously languid guitar break that’s anything but autopilot blues. “I’ve broken the pinkie on my left hand three times in the past year,” remembers Trout, “so the guitar playing on this album took a little work, and there’s some anger and frustration in some of the solos. I really like that solo on the title track. It took two or three re-takes. But I think I nailed it.”
From that jump-off, a career-best album spilled out, as Trout convened his band of Michael Leasure (drums), Johnny Griparic (bass) and Teddy ‘Zig Zag’ Andreadis (keys) – along with long-time producer Eric Corne, plus special guests Skip Edwards, Drake ‘Munkihaid’ Shining and Anthony Grisham. The backdrop, once again, was the private LA studio of Doors legend Robby Krieger. “The whole place is full of vintage gear, and it’s all there for you, whatever you want. The keyboard that Ray Manzarek used in The Doors – it’s just fucking sitting there. I remember, on the rhythm track for OK Boomer, Michael Dumas, who runs the studio, comes walking in and says: ‘Here’s the SG that Robby used in The Doors – wanna try this?’ Then, for the rhythm guitar on Heartland, he says: ‘Here’s one of James Burton’s Paisley Telecasters…’”
Musically, Trout’s antennae are up, as he pushes the envelope on the psychedelic layered vocal harmonies of “The Sun Is Going Down,” a song about dealing with ageing. Trout shares, “Lyrically, it’s about running out of time. You gotta look at death, deal with it, accept it. That’s a condition of being alive.” The blissed-out anthemics of “Up Above My Sky,” nods to peak-period Pink Floyd and Trout worked with the U.S. blues singer Teeny Tucker on the bereft “All Out Of Tears” – a tribute to her late son. On the haunting “Heaven In Your Eyes,” Walter was stunned by Marie Trout’s lyrics about the desperation of trying to find ways to reach the person you love but being unable to find the words.
“As the lyric says in ‘Up Above My Sky,’ he reflects, “sometimes you have to see through the darkness to find the light. I can’t wait get back out there again, meet the people at shows, hug them and pose for a photo. And I’m really looking forward to playing these songs live. Because I think this album speaks to these times…”
Touring plans will be announced in the coming weeks as The World returns to some level of normalcy enabling all artists to return to staging appearances.