Song of the Week – Doctor My Eyes, Jackson Browne & Hello Old Friend, Eric Clapton – feat. Jesse Ed Davis


When it comes to inspiration for the SotW, I believe in serendipity. Recently my friend Julie C. alerted me to a film she thought I’d be interested in. The movie that premiered at the 2017 Sundance Festival in January is called Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World. Julie was right; I checked out the flick and it was right up my alley. It told the story of the significant contributions Native Americans have made to rock music – from Charley Patton and Mildred Bailey to Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix and Jesse Ed Davis (and more).

Around the same time I saw an article on a blog I’ve recently begun following called Music Aficionado titled “Have You Heard Jesse Ed Davis?” That’s all the push I needed to do a deep dive into his work.

I was familiar with much of his work because I’m of the age where we would scour the details of every credit written on an album cover or sleeve. Davis, a full blood Kiowa Comanche Indian, was listed on some of my favorites – Walls and Bridges and Rock ‘n’ Roll by John Lennon, George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh, and the unfortunately under recognized Asylum Choir II by Leon Russell and Marc Benno.

But his resume is way deeper than that. He worked with Taj Mahal and played slide on his version of “Statesboro Blues” that reputedly inspired Duane Allman to take up the slide (and copied Davis’ riff). He also worked with Buffy Sainte-Marie, Gene Clark, Neil Diamond, Harry Nilsson, Arlo Guthrie, Leonard Cohen, Rod Stewart, Bryan Ferry and several of the blues greats like John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins and the Kings – B.B. and Albert. Obviously, he was a guitarist in demand! He also released several solo albums that mostly went unnoticed but deserve to be heard.

The first SotW is “Doctor My Eyes” by Jackson Browne.

The brief but stylish solo at 1:45 was laid down by Davis on the first (and only) take! I have to assume those are also his tasty licks that are played throughout the cut.

The next SotW is “Hello Old Friend” by Eric Clapton.

When guitar god Eric Clapton invites you to play a slide lead on one of his songs, you gotta have something special… and Davis delivers.

Davis got little work after 1977, the result of his escalating drug and alcohol abuse and the detrimental effects it had on his health, culminating in a stroke. He died in 1988, apparently of a heroin overdose, when his body was found on the floor of a laundry room in Venice, CA.

But the joy in his music has kept his spirit alive and will continue to be appreciated for many years to come.

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – April Fool, Ronnie Lane & Pete Townshend (feat. Eric Clapton)


We were all very saddened to hear that B.B. King passed away yesterday. Of course I was tempted to pay tribute to him with today’s SotW, but there were so many words written about him yesterday that I have nothing new or special to add. Rest in peace B.B. (and Lucille too).

I recently finished Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, The Faces . . ., written by the legendary engineer/producer Glyn Johns. It’s an insider perspective of classic rock and roll that few people can offer. He was in the room when some of the most important albums in the history of rock and roll were recorded.

When Led Zeppelin recorded “Dazed and Confused” he was in the room.

When Mick Taylor and Bobby Keys ripped off those amazing solos on Sticky Fingers’ “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” he was in the room.

When Roger Daltrey let out that blood curdling scream toward the end of “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” he was in the room again.

As I read the book I was excited about the prospect that Johns would help me to (re)discover some gem of a record that I had overlooked or forgotten. That came in the chapter about the Pete Townshend/Ronnie Lane album Rough Mix.

I’ve always enjoyed that album but often focused on its most popular songs – the ones that got FM radio air play – “My Baby Gives It Away” and “Street in the City.” But it is a lesser known cut on the album, “April Fool”, that Johns says is “among the few moments in my recording career that I treasure.”

The track was almost finished when Eric Clapton offered to add a Dobro part to complement the song.

“I played him the track and I noticed that his foot was tapping as he ran through the song. I quickly put a mic on his foot and we recorded the next run-through. It was note-perfect and quite beautiful. Eric reacting in the most natural and emotive way to the song and Ronnie’s performance of it. Up until that moment I had paid very little attention to Eric as a musician and therefore never really understood what all the fuss was about. I thought he was just another bloody white kid playing the blues. That was very clearly my loss. In a matter of a few minutes I had been completely won over. This was a perfect example of what I have always thought about Eric’s playing. He never allows his brain to get in the way between his heart and his fingers.”

The instrumental title cut (also with Clapton on lead guitar) is pretty cool too.

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – Just Like A Prisoner, Eric Clapton


Every musician/band has their “golden age” no matter how great their entire musical legacy may be. Today’s case in point is Eric Clapton. He made his mark early on with major contributions to some of the most important records in rock history with The Yardbirds, John Mayall, Cream, Blind Faith, Delaney & Bonnie and Derek & The Dominoes. But with each of those bands he became restless in short order and never spent more than a few years with any of them.

Then he went solo and that’s the part of his career that I mean to discuss today. Clapton has recorded some 30 albums since his first solo release, Eric Clapton in 1970. That was followed by 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974), Slowhand (1977) and Backless (1978) – his “golden age”. Many of you can name at least a few songs on each of those albums but how many of you can name a few songs on August (1986), Pilgrim ((1998) or Reptile (2001). Only true fans, for sure.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that the records he produced after the 70s don’t contain lots of good music. It’s just that we fans lose interest and need to work harder to keep up and find the gems within.

One such gem is “Just Like A Prisoner” from Behind the Sun (1985).

OK, I admit that the lyrics are a bit mundane, but Clapton’s guitar playing is amongst his best since Layla (perhaps because it was inspired by the same woman). In fact I recently read in MOJO he was once asked if he’d ever created “a thing of beauty.” “A long solo at the end of Just Like A Prisoner,” he replied. “It gets better and better. You think, ‘This could go on forever’. Some of the most beautiful guitar playing I’ve ever heard. And it’s me.”

That’s a good enough endorsement for me!

The only problem is that the cut contains typical 80s production values (the album was produced by the then VERY HOT Phil Collins). If the song could be remixed to take out the wash of synthesizers and drum machines the solo would stand out more and probably sound a lot better (IMHO).

Enjoy… until next week.