" The Ultimate Illustrated History By Chris Welch "
Voyageur Press

Clapton On Display: Informative, Stunning, and Impressive

This is a beautiful piece of work, both for its fine content from author Chris Welch and for its gorgeous construction, with four hundred-plus photos that are offered on very high-quality paper. I could go on about the merits of Eric Clapton, and suspect that no one can dispute what he has contributed to the blues world, starting with the Yardbirds, Mayall, Cream, Derek and the Dominos, and till this day with his ongoing Crossroads shows where many blues artists get to show off their attributes, sometimes with Mr. Clapton sitting in. Let us not forget that Clapton has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times (and is the only artist who can boast about this trifecta), as a member of the Yardbirds, Cream, and also as a solo artist. He's also collected seven Grammys and eighteen gold, eight platinum, and seven multi-platinum records, including one ten-time platinum recordings.

Author Welch is more than appropriate to assemble and write about Clapton, as (during a recent radio interview from the U.K.) Welch told me he saw EC in 1964, and has been writing about Clapton for decades. Welch began writing for Melody Maker magazine in 1964 and offered many memories about observing the constant evolution of Clapton's creativity, and churning growth throughout his entire career. Additionally Welch has written or co-authored biographies on David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, John Bonham, Yes, the Stones, Bob Marley, Tina Turner, Steve Winwood, Pink Floyd, Cream, Hendrix, and others, so he definitely has the credits to backup his writings. Welch has also written liner notes for many rock albums. Also included is a very welcomed and complete Clapton discography, as well as concert posters, cover artwork, ticket stubs, his guitars, and countless photos from EC performances.

Welch also opines about the darker moments of Clapton's life, such as the deaths of his friends Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman, plus EC's affair with George Harrison's wife, Pattie Boyd, and Clapton's addiction to heroin, a habit that cost him several years of his career in the early seventies.

As the saying goes, you can't judge a book by looking at its cover, but that's certainly not the case here. The cover is extremely thick and eye-catching, displaying three (inlaid) Clapton photos from various eras of his illustrious career, but it's the inner pages that count. So I would have to say that you will enjoy the content, and you'd be ecstatic having this beauty resting on your coffee table. Last, but not least, I would like to add that this Ultimate Illustrated History of Clapton would also make for the perfect companion to EC's best selling Clapton: The Autobiography from 2007. Enjoy.

Bob Putignano: