Sunday, September 02, 2012

95 Songs of Summer, #68 - "I Shot the Sheriff" (1974)

And now we reach Labor Day weekend, rounding the far turn of the summer and heading into the home stretch.  Already the angles of the day are starting to feel different - it is still hot outside, but the shadows are beginning to deepen, the nights are beginning to cool, and if you look closely you can even see the very beginning of the turning of the leaves.

Eric Clapton deserves his place in the Hall of Fame, but  I think it is also fair to say that his career has included long stretches of unrealized potential.  For every "Layla," there have been other songs, probably dozens, where it felt as if Clapton was just scratching the surface of his enormous talent.  And that talent is enormous - I will never forget the night I watched (on TV, not in person) Clapton blow fellow guitarist Robert Cray, hardly a slouch himself, right off the stage with searing, blistering notes from his Stratocaster that Cray probably couldn't even imagine, much less approach.

This is one of Clapton's best songs, a version of the Bob Marley classic that to these ears is just as strong as the original.

Eric Clapton, "I Shot the Sheriff," from the summer of 1974.

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