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Complete Clapton ()

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Disregard the title of this 2007 compilation: there is no way that any double-disc, 36-track set could be called The Complete Clapton, not when Eric Clapton has had a career that's spanned over four decades. This doesn't even attempt to cover as much ground as his landmark four-disc 1988 box set Crossroads, which began with his first band the Yardbirds and then followed his winding journeys through John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Delaney & Bonnie, and Derek & the Dominos before settling into his solo records. Of course, The Complete Clapton covers the nearly 20 years that have elapsed since the release of Crossroads, a time frame which includes the blockbuster success of his 1992 Unplugged, its all-blues 1994 follow-up From the Cradle, and many soft adult contemporary hits from the late '90s. All these phases are touched upon on The Complete Clapton, but the set lops off all of Clapton's earliest recordings, beginning with five Cream staples ("I Feel Free," "Sunshine of Your Love," "White Room," "Crossroads," "Badge") and Blind Faith's "Presence of the Lord" before delving into his solo career. This turns The Complete Clapton into a portrait of Clapton the classic rocker, as it focuses almost entirely on radio staples -- including tracks like "I've Got a Rock & Roll Heart," "Forever Man," and "It's in the Way That You Use It" that didn't make the cut on Crossroads -- that still are played frequently years after their original release. As such, this set doesn't pack many surprises, but it does hit the obvious highlights well and serves as a good hits package for the casual and curious fan, and in that sense, it works as a good companion piece to Clapton's autobiography, which was published the same week this was released in October 2007. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi Hide synopsis

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