This is a non-chronological compilation of more than half a century of work from Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix in no less than 12 different recording environments. We have some prime examples of Clapton’s solo performance, from “Let It Rain” which was released in 1970, to “Somebody’s Knockin’,” one of two remakes of J.J. Cale’s favorite album, I Still Do, his 23rd current studio album.
As for Jimi Hendrix, there is hardly enough to say about his unbelievable authority and supernal influence. That he had mastered so many things in just a little time reveals the eminent magic he had in his heart, mind, soul, and fingers; the knowledge of the music of the other world he was wearing is what earned him the indisputable title for being the greatest guitarist of all. Hendrix had nothing to do with the other rock bands of his era and was certainly not an ordinary man in the world when it came to be playing the guitar.
After playing with some of the greatest and most prominent guitar bands of the 1960s era, in the mid-1970s Clapton launched his band “Derek and the Dominos.”
Clapton wrote the following tune: Song of their first album to convey his unshared love and affection for Pattie Boyd who at that time George Harrison’s spouse but who would eventually leave him for Clapton in the mid-1970s.
The main riff of the song was prepared by Clapton along with no other than the legendary Duane Allman. Duane took part in the Clapton’s band on the producer Tom Dowd’s suggestion. This unusual modulation of a semitone down the main riff in D minor and the signature of the key of the choir in the verses, which are in D-flat minor, enhances the desperate mood of Clapton’s Leaves’ Eyes – lovelorn lyric.
There is a profound musical sense of perception in the way his gloomy Stratocaster lines intertwine with Allman’s strange spectral improvisations on slide guitar during the song’s extended solo on the main structure of the riff. This is the beginning of a majestic piano coda, written by Domino drummer Jim Gordon, that offers Allman and Clapton the opportunity to enjoy even more space to expand on the song.
“Steppin’ Out” is undoubtedly one of Clapton Bluesbreakers’ most famous songs. With “Hideaway,” he delivers the most potent dose of Clapton’s solid and breathtaking sound and fierce playing. This playful and straightforward blues, instrumental in G, allows him to borrow pieces from the original version of Memphis Slim from 1959. Clapton portrays the character of Slim’s piano intro, then refers to the tenor saxophone solo of the piece while the John Mayall is on the keyboards.
At 54 seconds, he embodies a clever technique of ” scraping ” from the master solo, performed by Matt “Guitar” Murphy, who joined the Blues Brothers Band as a soloist at the end of the 70s. But there’s a whole bunch more happening here.
Clapton incorporates a severe vibrato of the twelfth fret of the G string – only adding to the sustain generated by his overdriven Marshall amp – and uses finger slips when moving from one position to another in the minor G pentatonic scale. The rhythmic solo then concludes with Clapton, as well as his idols B.B. King and Buddy Guy, leaning high on their necks and then reverting back to the figure intro.
It should be noted that he did record many more versions of the album “Steppin’ Out” with his ephemeral 1966 supergroup, 14-minute version on Live Cream Volume II, Powerhouse, as well as with Cream.
Have You Heard
Frankly speaking, if “Have You Heard” guitar solo by Clapton’s does not make your heart race, makes you breathless or at the minimum gives you goosebumps, we would recommend you consult a doctor.
This pentatonic dramatic masterpiece which spans to 73 sec is by far the most frantic and passionate solo in the guitarist’s fifty-one-year long career. The single, which gushes out from the starting grid at 3:25, is a sequence of spectacular and intense incendiary turns, hammer blows, strategically timed positional changes, and slips. Clapton ends with a series of high-pitched climactic notes, a nod to his single performances on Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (aka The Beano Album).
All of this is thanks to his revolutionary new sound, firm, sustained, and overworked sound he forged when he plugged a 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard into a 42-watt 2×12 Marshall combo and turned it to the levels more than enough to split anyone’s ear.
The album features Clapton burning and dazzling something like the futuristic coalescence of his numerous musical influences, from Otis Rush, Freddie King, Hubert Sumlin to the Buddy Guy. Surprisingly, Clapton on the verge of turning 22 was merely 21 years old when the album Blues Breakers was first recorded in the year of 1966. Regardless of whether Eric Clapton simply faded or disappeared after the album’s release that summer (a bit like stolen Gibson Les Paul Standard, still missing in 1960), he would still have won a respectable spot on the history of the electric guitar.
Star Spangled Banner
Everyone is fully aware of Jimi’s volatile but exciting interpretation of the Star-Banner, and of course, it all began with his wildly iconic performance at Woodstock in 1969. Jimi was enlisted in the USA army in the year 1961, and so he knew it very well what it means to serve a country, and this patriotism made this instrumental jam shine at levels that can’t be achieved even today; when other rock guitarists play the Star Spangled Banner, he doesn’t have the same spark as Jimi version.
Just as “Crossroads” ushered a whole new generation of music enthusiasts into Robert Johnson’s mystique, “Spoonful” by Cream brought an additional exhibition to Willie Dixon, songwriter, and Howlin’ Wolf, who had first recorded the song in the year 1960.
And while Howlin’ Wolf’s stark-and-dark version haunts her in itself, Cream’s take on Clapton’s guitar and Jack Bruce’s heavy bass song takes her several steps further. Clapton’s solo, which begins at 2:23, at first seems like a playful performance as if he was playing with the audience, but at 2:46, there is an abrupt and dramatic shift in the direction of music. He played a series of notes the “virtual howls and moans” – loud on the neck, punctuating each of them with several fissures perfectly synchronized to his low E string.
At precisely 3:31, he starts a brand-new melody, leading Bruce, and the drummer Ginger Baker on the journey. Clapton’s sound on the song, a distinctive, dense, and reverberant sound which only Gibson Humbucker can produce, is found alone in Cream’s canon and Clapton’s entire discography. During Cream’s concerts, “Spoonful,” like many of the other tracks, offered the group members plenty of space to stretch, as you can hear on the sensational nearly 17-minute version of Cream’s Wheels of Fire.
The little wing is not only one among the most beautifully crafted composition; it’s also one among the most beautifully played guitar solos. This intricate narration is inspired by the experiences of Jimi Hendrix in Monterey, California. This album testifies the Jimi’s incredible artistic talent. His unnatural, inordinate knowledge and discrete theory of the instruments approach can best be summed up in this album.
And this “Little Wing” solo is a perfect way to bring it to an end.
Let It Rain
This beautifully crafted song, taken from Clapton’s first solo album, begins with a gentle and harmonious three-guitar mini choir of perfectly harmonized finger-slides and vibratos, the guitarist superimposing a mini-choir of three guitars on the harmonic.
Together, they both create an effect that visualizes the instrument playing a harmonized melody with greater clarity that, according to many experts, can only be achieved with three distinct lines of single voices or notes.
This song was recorded by Clapton on his Fender Stratocaster to which he calls “Brownie,” by implementing his brilliant single-wound bridge microphone to achieve an excellent sound crystal clear definition. Clapton’s solo on the outro of the song features his vibrato and the use of pentatonic scales (major and minor)
Although Clapton’s main sound here is much brighter than the one that he had used many times in his career, his distinctive style, string bending, vibrato, and phrasing, remains his signature.
Are You Experienced?
There is nothing that can beat the backward solo of Jimi Hendrix that adorned the mid of this heavy hitter, but it was the 12-minute improvised jam that he played back and October 11, 1968. This masterpiece deserves every attention as approximately 85% of the performance is devoted to the unmatched solo that he drops on his audience at that lucky night.
There is one thing that deserves to be noted in Jimi’s imminence musical talent, and that is a skill and ability to play his songs and tracks differently each time while giving them a fresh and rejuvenating feel.
All Along the Watchtower
This is Bob Dylan’s song that Hendrix with his skills made his own. Once Dylan said himself that he wouldn’t be able to play his very song as Jimi did in a live performance. It’s one of those albums in which you will find that Jimi sounded a way more graceful than what he is typically known for and that is the unkept or distorted style of playing.
This album is a three-guitar solo, and in particular, that hurts solo is exactly where Jimi starts playing a Hawaiian slide with a cigarette lighter before releasing some of the exceptional pieces of his career with the wah-wah pedal.
When we are talking about the biggest guitar solo that has been ever recorded by Mr. Hendrix, the machine gun has a slight advantage over Voodoo Child.
The version played by the Gypsies’ band at their concert back in the year 1970, in Fillmore East was finally transformed into their album entitled together by one of them is undoubtedly a live performance like none another. This hymn anti-war is the darkest and the most emotionally charged that Jimi has ever written and the powerful combination of sinister Buddy Miles croons and percussion attached above only adds to that.
But the highlight is the improvisation of Jimi’s explosive guitar, which reaches the four-minute mark. It, I dare say, the orgasmic note it supports for around a 10-second mark is probably among the handful longest most straightforward note of all rock.
And the way Jimi Hendrix manages to achieve our transcendental elucidation on this so with his guitar pouring out his heart and soul with every single pass is the pure visualization of purity and perfection. Especially the way Hendrix creates all these heart-wrenching effects imitating the real horrors of anymore is just indescribable.
His vivid interpretation of this seminal counter-culture anthem is virtually nothing but the high-level musical expertise that genuinely signifies the connection between him and the members of his group; in this case, drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox of the epic supergroup Gypsys.
The kind of guitar passages and hammer bar nuances he wore during this live stage performance are greased with such character, and everything is expected in part because of Miles and Cox’s reserved rhythmic expertise. The last few minutes of the Hendrix’s performance makes for some fantastic fitting finale. This undoubtedly is Jimi Hendrix’s one of the greatest guitar moments.
Voodoo child remains the holy grail for anyone who wants to discuss how and what an electric guitar should sound like. It’s a sacred bible for every guitarist.
Jimi Hendrix used all the techniques known in the guitar world into this song. Its one of those solo that brought Jimi to the pinnacle of the Rock and Roll that still is yet to be claimed and most of it was the result of his repulsively brilliant guitar licking deeply into a gut distortion that doesn’t sound right when it is played at intensely high volumes.