BBC1 interview with Eric Clapton, Saturday February 3rd 1990.

Donated by Dave Vittali

    And now, as part of RADIO 1's exclusive coverage of the Clapton
    concerts, Richard Skinner talks to the musicians involved and explores
    the musical roots of rock's most celebrated guitarist.

    [First verse + first solo]

RS: Eric Clapton with Cream, playing Crossroads some 22 years ago.
    Although he was then only in his early twenties he'd already been
    elevated to god-like status for his exciting mastery of the electric
    guitar. In the two decades that followed he developed a career
    embracing a variety of styles which placed more importance on melodic
    songs and singing. But as he enters the final week of his record breaking
    18 nights at the Royal Albert Hall, it's clear that the guitar still
    beguiles the life and music of Eric Clapton.

EC: When you came knocking on the door this morning I was quite happy
    playing the guitar, for fun, I mean and not practicing and I'll
    always be that way. Because of the way I started out, just me and
    the guitar.

    [Crossroads ends ...]

RS: Eric's fascination with the guitar began in the late fifties during the
    explosive era of American rock and roll and the clumsy beginnings of
    Brittisch beat.

EC: I just managed to convince my grandmother that it was a worth while
    that was something to do, you know, and when I did finally get the
    guitar, it didn't seem that difficult to me, to be able to make a good
    noise out of it. I used to sit on the top of the stairs, so that you
    got echo, you know, to up, to down and got a good sound out of it.
    And also I tell you what encouraged me was there was a big skiffle boom
    happening, and you know there were ads for guitars, very cheap guitars.
    And you know on all the Sunday papers you know on the back pages.
    They looked great, you know the drawings of the guys playing looked
    great and bits of string around their necks. So it didn't seem to be
    that difficult a thing to do, or that inaccessible.

RS: Do you remember what sort of guitar you did have.

EC: I think it was a 'Hohner'. The first one was quite cheap, but that
    was expensive for us. For my folks to buy on the Never Never. It was
    quite, you know, a rare object to have and I gained quite a lot of status
    by having this. And it actually at that point in my life really detached
    me from everybody. Because I now had something to do and I'd practice,
    you know, and keep myself away from everyone else.

RS: So at that stage you were doing the real loners life.

EC: Yeah, and I went straight into a fantasy world. Just stepped straight into
    the abyss. You know, I was gone and kids used to walk past my front room,
    cause I lived on the green. And looked through the window and see me
    in front of the mirror with this guitar, you know. And I was gone just,
    I was Gene Vincent, you know.

    [Be-bop-a-lula by Gene Vincent]

EC: One summer I remember, I got exposed to Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly
    and Buddy Holly was a very very big, made a very big impression on me.
    Because of a lot of things, you know, the way he looked and his charisma.
    There was something lonely about the guy and very ordinary, you know he
    was, he gave hope to millions of kids with glasses.

RS: He was not exactly a product of Hollywood was he?

EC: No, he wasn't. No he was either extreme, you know, the boy next door.

RS: What sort of kid were you then.

EC: Very much like that, and very much a loner, do you know and I didn't fit
    really into sport or all kind of group activities as a kid, I couldn't
    find a niche. And music was not really part of the kind of village
    curriculum it would, you know. It was the one place that I could feel
    at home in. In a very kind of detached and lonely life, you know.
    When I remember how infused and kind of single minded I was then. It set
    me in good stead for all the years later. Because, every time I got into
    a band, or become successful with a particular project, an album or a
    tour or the sound of a particular era. It's adding confusion to my life.
    I don't really know how to deal with that. And I don't know if there is
    a way for me to deal with it. And what stood me in good stead is the fact
    that I can walk in and out of situations. Leave bands, go back to
    obscurity if I choose to, without a great sense of loss of security
    because it's all been based on the fact that I did it on my own or was
    doing, enjoying doing it on my own in the first place.

    [Worried Life Blues]

RS: Kingston Art School. You went along there, you couldn't ???????????????
    because it's a very vulgarious lifestyle in our culture. The advantage
    of being at Kingston must have been being able to be exposed to different

EC: Well it was more the social life that I got involved in, in the town
    itself. The commuting up from Ripley to Kingston, I probably, I bumped
    into more people of a like mind around that social scene than I would
    ever in Gilford or, you know in my local area. So I spend more time
    in the pubs and in the coffee bars around Kingston than I did in actual
    art school, you know, he was playing hooky a lot.

RS: So who introduced you to the sounds of the acoustic folk, or acoustic
    blues, country blues.

EC: You know why, I bumped into Long John Baldry very early on in those days
    and he was a big hero and there was a couple of other guys too that would
    play, once I started making excursions up to London a guy called Wess
    Jones and another guy called Buck, who all played country blues and folk.
    More country blues than anything else. And Long John was one of the
    leading lights, one of the first people to play twelve string guitar.
    And used to play in the pubs and play versions of Leadbelly and Big
    Bill Broonzy songs.

RS: So was this where you heard it first really, before the records?

EC: No, it was a combination. The fact is that I was
    I saw Big Bill Broonzy on TV and it knocked me out, I mean it's a famous
    peace of footage now, of him in a French nightclub in black and white
    you know. A very very interesting peace of film where he performs about
    four five songs and there's lots of cigarette smoke and like it's very
    seedy, but the atmosphere was unlike anything I've ever been exposed
    to before, it really, it turned me on.

    [Big Bill Broonzy song]
           Hey hey, hey hey baby hey,
           Hey hey, hey hey baby hey,
           Hey hey, hey hey baby hey,
           Hey hey, hey hey baby hey,
           Hey hey, hey hey baby hey,
           I love you baby, but I sure ain't gonna be your dog

EC: It was a mystery to me, how the tuning was, or the style seemed to come
    out of nowhere, it obviously had roots in America going way back, there
    was nothing like it for me I'd ever seen before. And what it was down to
    was to buy the records and to learn by ear. So I managed to get hold of
    a  ?  Big Bill Broonzy album, which was unbelievably enough the right one.
    Until this day, I can't find that record, I mean, I don't know what
    happened, it was on French folk, you know, and it had all the right songs
    to learn of, and that stood me in good stead for about four five years

           Hey hey, lost your good thing now,
           Hey hey, you lost your good thing now,
           You had me fooled, but I found it out somehow.

EC: Once I got into Broonzy, I kind of very, and I realized that Chuck Berry
    was black, I quickly switched off white players. I mean I got very racist
    for quite a while about white musicians. And for instance when the people
    around Kingston at some point discovered Bob Dylan and it was a couple of
    ?       before times are a changin' the freewheeling Bob Dylan became
    very popular. I was really anti it and on principle because I was going
    backwards in my search for the pure essential blues, you know, and when
    they were becoming interested in that particular Bob Dylan album, I was
    discovering Robert Johnson. And the more intense that got, the more
    dogmatic and purist I became.

RS: This statement you've a long time.

EC: It did, and still is to certain extend, I mean I find, even today that
    I get more deep stimulation from that music than I do from anything else.

    [Robert Johnson's Crossroads]
           I went to the crossroads,
           fell down on my knee,
           I went to the crossroads,
           fell down on my knee,
           Asked the lord above for mercy,
           take poor Bob if you please,
           Standing at the crossroads,
           I tried to flag a ride,
           Standing at the crossroads,
           I tried to flag a ride
           Ain't nobody seem to know me,
           Everybody passed me by.

    [Music continues during interview]

EC: It was stumbling on to really the bible of the blues, you know, and a
    very powerful drug to be introduced to us 
    and I absorbed it totally, and it changed my complete outlook on music.

RS: Where you determined to become eventually as good as these people. I mean
    was there a fire in your belly that determined that you should become
    that good that you will master that guitar ...

EC: I wanted what they were experiencing, I don't know if it was ..

RS: You mean, beyond just the music.

EC: Yeah, I wanted to know where they got it from, what it was all about,
    you know, and it seemed to strike something in me that was you know
    rearing it's head and I still don't know what that is. But it's a drive,
    a drive to express something and that seemed to me the most ideal, the
    most beautiful way of expressing to be on all painting and poetry or
    any of the other arts. This one guy, Robert Johnson seemed to be ...
    It's so intense and so one of the minute he started to sing and play
    that was he end of the story.

    [Crossroads ends]

RS: Your first electric guitar, do you remember detail on that one.

EC: Yeah, it was, I think it was a blonde double cutaway Tai, quite expensive
    for its time, and quite exotic. It was a copy of a Gibson ES335 which
    was five times the price. I first saw Alexis Korner one of these.
    And it was one of the first guitars of that style I'd ever seen. And it
    just, it captured my heart, you know, and I had to have one.

RS: Somebody told me that that first guitar of yours that first electric
    guitar actually was distorted, that you had a twist in the neck, and
    it had to be sorted out.

EC: Oh yeah, I mean, it wasn't a very good guitar, most good guitars have got
    thrust rods in the necks that you can adjust or that'll keep them in
    shape, you know keep them straight. This one just, well it turned
    into a bow and arrow after a couple of months. And I don't know I just
    seemed to, what are you gonna do, you don't have any other guitar. Adapt
    to it.

RS: You know one thing, I mean, one minute you were telling me about that
    your solitary days and you're in a room and you're very shy and
    everything, now you're up on stage. What happened to give you that

EC: The music. The music alone. I mean, the sound of an amplified guitar
    in a room full of people was so hypnotic and addictive to me, that
    I could cross any kind of border to get on there. I mean, it didn't
    matter to me that there were people, it didn't matter that I was shy
    Just the sound was so captivating that it helped me to get rid of those

    [Spoonful by Howlin' Wolf]

    In Britain, records by the likes of Howlin' Wolf were not to be found
    on the racks with Adam Faith or Helen Chevero. Access to electric blues
    was through expensive imports or membership of a hip clique of
    enthusiasts. One Honourable exception was a sampler album of artists
    of the Chicago label Chess, called simply The Blues Volume One.

EC: We're looking at this ? international R&B series.

RS: That's a rarity, isn't it, this is an actual Britisch pressing.

EC: A Britisch pressing with a compilation of the best stuff really, I
    mean actually not only that but, these were all kind of semi hits
    for the people on it in America. Like Smokestack Lightnin' was a hit
    for Howlin' Wolf and Duke was a hit for Little Walter, and Spoonful
    probably for Howlin' Wolf too. Don't start me talking by Sonny Boy
    Williams but, I don't know who was responsible for this. It may have
    been Lexis(?), you know, someone like that. There were some very hip
    guys around obviously. I don't know how many of these albums sold. But
    I mean this was a jewel to pick up, you know, to have in your collection.
    This was available in like you know boots. You could do it by anyone
    who got by this(?). And the great thing was that once you'd heard a track
    by Sonny Boy Williams, you could then find out that he had albums. You
    know, he had his own albums on Chess, that you could get through ?
    or ?           stand you know so it was exciting to know that there
    was a whole world there to be discovered.

    [Crying (the song Ten Years After covered)]

    With his musical foundation firmly imbedded in the rich heritage of the
    blues, Eric Clapton has played with the Yardbirds, John Mayall's
    Bluesbreakers, Cream, Derek & the Dominos and since 1974 as a solo artist.
    In the second half of the eighties his personal and musical life
    underwent a remarkable renaissance and also during these years he struck
    up his relationship with the Royal Albert Hall.

EC: It's a very very comfortable homey place for me. I tend to think of it
    as mine [laughs]. I will go and see people plan(?), you know, I get a
    bit disgruntled. I went to see a boxing match there last year. I was
    very annoyed by the whole thing.

RS: People having a fight in you front room.

EC: In your front room, yeah. It was terrible. Really wrong thing to do at
    the Albert Hall is to have a boxing match. It's got a very genteel,
    sophisticated and yet comfortable atmosphere. Like it is like a club.
    It reminds me of what the Marquee was like in the early days, you know.
    And everybody is very very comfortable at home and you feel welcome.
    I don't have half the nerves there that I have anywhere else.

RS: It is incredibly intimate, I mean, you can virtually see the whites of
    their eyes.

EC: Yeah.

RS: Can't you.

EC: Yeah, all the way back.

RS: Isn't that a bit ???

EC: No, I don't know why, but it can be, it can be it's almost like the
    house lights are always on, you know. But for some reason that place
    Because it's in a round, all people are very close to you. That it feels
    like you're amongst friends.

    The drummer in Eric's Band is Steve Ferrone.

SF: Eric's a little hung(?), you know. He's that sort of person. He tends
    to go to the same restaurant all the time, stay in the same hotels. Goes
    to the same clothes designer. Ones he finds something that he really likes
    he stays with it. And that's why he stays at the Royal Albert Hall.
    By the table(?), there was a funny story happening one, I mean we were
    playing there one night. In the Royal Albert Hall I'm sort of sitting
    right on top of this row of stools. And I'm sitting there one night
    and we came out and Eric started Crossroads [chats begin of Crossroads].
    I started . And there was this woman that was
    sitting like a couple of seats along. And I just sort of glanced over
    there and she's looking at me and say like 'be quiet, you know, I wanna
    hear Eric' [laughs]. And I said you know, 'he's gotta hear me, If he
    doesn't hear me I'm fired' [more laughs]. Yeah, she's really had an
    attitude, you know.

RS: Is the audience an important part of a gig?

SF: Yeah, it is a very important part of a gig. I mean, I've got some great
    audience stories. We did a gig in Holland, last summer. It was really
    hot in this place. It was a hundred and ten degrees, you know, really
    humid you know, in this big .....? this big place {the gig was in
    'De Statenhal in Den Haag, it was soo great!} about ten thousand people.
    And we started Wonderful Tonight. It's got this nice little introduction
    and everything. And then Eric walks up to the microphone and sing the
    first line. And it was like a football supporters thing, it was like
    [sings -quite out of tune in a low voice- 'It's late in the evening'].
    You know [laughs]. So we think well that's it and Eric turns around and
    smiles you know. [sings -again out of tune- 'She's wondering what clothes
    to wear']. The whole .?. you know. All singing along, they did the whole
    song, from beginning to end. And then like after he finished the verse
    they all cheered, you know, this big cheer went up. It was hilarious
    at least Eric tries to sing [tries to sing mellow 'It's late in the
    evening'] nice and quiet [RS: no chance] no, it didn't win no chance
    at all.

    [Wonderful tonight]
           We go to a party,
           and everyone turns to see,
           this beautiful lady,
           that's walking around with me.
           And then she asks me,
           do you feel all right.
           And I say yes,
           I feel wonderful tonight.

           I feel wonderful,
           because I see the love light in your eyes.
           And the wonder of it all,
           is that you just don't realize how much I love you.

           It's time to go home now,
           and I've got an aching head.
           So I give her the car keys,
           and she helps me to bed.
           And then I tell her,
           as I turn out the light.
           I say my darling,
           you were wonderful tonight.

           Oh my darling,
           you were wonderful tonight.

    Although Eric's main nucleus of musicians are all in demand studio session
    players, when they perform together on stage, they're an unnervingly
    cohesive unit. And the American half of the band, Nathan East and Greg
    Philliganes enjoy springing surprises on their leader.
    Bass player Nathan East.

NE: Well, first of all we're gonna start by detuning his guitar, but don't
    tell anybody that [laughs]. You know, his first notes gonna .. It would
    be a real big surprise. But no, I mean, there are certain things Greg
    and I we like to get him going by substituting chords for the ones that
    are originally in the song. I quite enjoy that because, you know, your
    ear is expecting to hear one thing, and you hear another thing. Sometimes
    the change is just a nice surprise. And you can sometimes tell the way
    he moves, you know, you can well throw another change in the thing. It
    sends him into another direction and just, his left side goes to this
    and you know, the head moves back. And it's great, because you know, it's
    a new kind of inspiration, cause we have to keep the songs interesting
    night after night. It's an exercise for us.

    Keyboard player Greg Philliganes.

GP: We just tend to change the chords around, and expand them. I mean not
    play wrong chords, but just expand them. So it kind of opens the door
    creatively for Eric, and the first time we did that back in '86 I
    remember him looking at us like WOOAH. And you know, he build on from
    that. So now he's used to it, but we still try that.

RS: Catch him out?

GP: Well it's good to catch him out every once and a while. So that's were
    the challenge comes in, you know, and he responds to that challenge
    by playing his ..... behind of.

EC: They went into a bit last night, in Cocaine, when I gave Greg the last
    solo of the song. And he went into these standard progressions, which
    I can't, you know, a better guitar player than me, with an ear, a jazz
    player maybe, may have been able to pick up the chords straight away.
    But I just stopped. I don't know where they are, and I'm not gonna, you
    know, hit the wrong ones can ruin the whole thing. Although they can do
    it all the time, you know, they're far better than me, on a musically,
    on a theoretical music level. You know, they're out of my league.

           If you wanna hang out you gotta,
           take her out cocaine.
           If you wanna get down,
           down on the ground, cocaine.

           She don't lie, she's all right,
           she's all mine, cocaine.

           If your duty is done,
           and you wanna run hot, cocaine.
           If you got bad news,
           you ought to kick them blues cocaine.

           She don't lie, she's all right,
           she's all mine, cocaine.

RS: What do you think fires Eric Clapton, what is it that keeps him going,
    when you work so damn hard the way he does?

NE: I would think, the fact that his love is just playing, standing on stage
    and that's just fuel for you know, it's inspiration not to be sitting
    at home on your own. Or I would think that when he's away from that, he
    just can't wait to get back to that. And I just can't imagine him going
    too long without doing that, you know, without playing. I mean, how much
    fly fishing can you do before you get fed up with it.

           When you're feeling is gone,
           and you wanna ride on cocaine.
           Don't forget this fact,
           you can get it back, cocaine.

           She don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie,
           She don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie,

EC: This moment in time, on this tour, you know, I'm discovering a lot of
    new things. And to be 45 and doing that, it's a mixture of pleasure and
    pain, I can assure you.

RS: I reckon that that life performance is something awfully special to you.

EC: Yeah, it is, because it's a real discovery of your inner resources, you
    know. That's what my character is all about and what my playing is all
    about. But to get up there and just go inside and draw out something that
    makes you feel good first and foremost. It's not something that you know
    happens every night. And I got a consciously become unconscious. If you
    know what I mean.

    [Same old blues]
           Here I am back home baby,
           I'm back home to stay.
           I love you babe,
           Never more will I go away.
           I won't hurt you no more baby.
           Ain't gonna tell you no more lies.
           No more running 'round,
           No more phony alibis.

           Same thing every morning,
           What's it all about.
           I get those same old blues every night.
           Same thing every morning,
           tell me what it's all about.
           I get those same old blues every night.
           Same thing every morning,
           tell me what it's all about,
           I get those same old blues every night.

           Every night.

NE: He has this way of phrasing with the guitar. Sometimes it just is like
    a furious sort of burst out you know. If you speak with him, if you ask
    him to do something he doesn't want to do it's like "No, ain't gonna
    do it". And that's how he plays guitar. You know, yesterday we were
    playing same old blues. And he did the whole introduction and everything.
    And going so down into the song. And he played this blinding guitar. You
    know, it was just like "PAM DADADADdada WAP BAF" done. And I thought
    Christ what was that, and I had to stop playing 'cause I wanted to see
    what he was gonna play next [laughs]. Wanting to hear it I just stopped
    for a second ? what he's gonna do next, you know, and it was great. So

    [Same Old Blues]

EC: It's very dependent on your state of mind. And your emotional state as
    well. And a lot of it comes pouring out, you don't really have that much
    control with it. If you decide to let the woo down (?), it can take over.

RS: One of that lads in the band said, that if you're in a bad mood that you
    can almost attack the guitar.

EC: Yeah, that's true sometimes you know. I know who said that [laughs].

RS: Don't sack him [laughs].

EC: But that's true, a lot of aggression will come out. And I'm not
    particularly proud of having you know, in my person do you believe.
    I've got the god given talent or the god given opportunity better put,
    to let that out in a harmless way you know, and I don't know what it
    does to you, I don't really know. About those down, or how that affects
    them, but it's a way for me expressing indignation from what ever it
    made, but aggression definitely in a overall way.

    [Same Old Blues ends ....]

    [Edge of Darkness ....]

    The theme to BBC 2's nuclear thriller, Edge of Darkness, was Eric
    Clapton's first foray into film score writing. His collaborator on
    the project was composer Michael Kamen, with whom he subsequently written
    the Lethal Weapon soundtracks. In spite by the orchestral performance
    of Edge of Darkness last year. Clapton has commissioned a concerto for
    guitar and orchestra, to be played on the last three nights at the Albert
    Hall. And to be broadcast life on RADIO 1 next Saturday. Michael Kamen.

MK: He called me one day and said he knows that I've been writing a saxophone
    concerto for Dave Sanborn. A ? concerto for orchestra. And he knew about
    that, and he asked me if I write him one. And I said hang on, let me
    think about that. YES, ? like that. And then it developed into this group
    of evening at the Albert Hall. At first I didn't realize what it was
    about. It was just like a hypothetical concerto. Seemed like a good idea.

RS: How do you approach the writing of this, do you actually get together
    sometimes. Well, does he provide you with a few ideas, that you
    incorporate in it or what.

MK: Basically, because he and I have collaborated on several things, it comes
    out of a social meeting, when I'll play him something, or he will play
    me something. And we'll say well that's good, we can turn that into
    something for orchestra and guitar maybe. And so we have spent time on
    that basics just working out the piece.

RS: Which is based on his well known works?

MK: No, no, the concerto for guitar is just based on my unknown works. I'm
    writing it as we go and he say, yeah, I like that, or how about this.
    Or that's to fidly ? I can't play that. You know, I keep writing notes
    that are not on the guitar. Bending notes that and he says, you know,
    I can't bend everything. I'm not made out of rubber.

    [Edge of Darkness ends ....]

RS: Eric, you're not classically trained.

EC: No.

RS: You haven't really apart from one occasion, formed anything with a major
    orchestra like this ...

EC: What are you trying to tell me [laughs].

RS: What could do ask you ....

EC: ..... that disastrous right?


EC: I already read there was a great little thing in the Times about it.
    I got there to the preview article, quite small, saying: "Beside from
    his towering ego" you know, that was talking about it "the most ominous
    thing was this upcoming you know, orchestral thing. It was very funnily
    written, you should check that up. It is very daunting prospects for me.
    Because, to a 35 minutes ?, you know, the music itself isn't gonna lend
    itself to any johnderies, like it's slightly classical because of the
    orchestra. But Michael has been doing his best to write the music for the
    way I play. So it will be a kind of hybrid. And the problem is gonna be
    literally a mental practical thing of how much I can remember of it,
    before I have to resort to hide living (?). Which you can't do really,
    That much of with an orchestra.

RS: So is it a bonus, or something that knocks it down, the fact that he
    hasn't got formal training?

MK: That's great. I mean when you're writing a formal piece of music, your
    objectives all the time is to make it sound if it's being invented on
    the spot. I love formal music, but I love it only when it sounds like
    it's being composed in front of me. And that's essentially what you get
    on tonight, it will be being composed in front of people.

RS: This orchestral night then, you're working with a man who has been a pop
    star, who plays country music well, he loves jazz music as well. But
    basically what do you think is the real inspiration behind the guitar
    work with Eric Clapton.

MK: Well, it would be easy enough to just say 'the blues'. But, in fact he's
    a conversationalist, he plays as if he were speaking to people. And that
    is very much a quality of the blues, of the best blues. It's somebody
    conducting a conversation. And if there's anything singular about his
    playing it's that he has something to say. He's able to do that. He
    speaks the language of blues and I in a way although I have a lot of
    classical training a lot of background, I also grew up with a home full
    of Leadbelly and Josh White and Big Bill Broonzy and Howlin' Wolf. So
    we share that.

    [Blues Power ...]

    Clapton's apparently addiction to the blues, possesses by him in the
    three nights ... . And a special band of friends and heroes is getting
    free way. Playing in the band is singer and guitarist Buddy Guy.

EC: I first heard him, I think on one of these, It could have been on
    this  international. No I tell you what it was. I know it was a 
    international record. It was called folk festival of the blues. It was
    like recorded somehow in a nightclub gathering of Sonny Boy Williams,
    Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Willie Dixon as well and Otis
    Span (?). And the first song on side one was called 'Wee wee baby'. And
    all of them singing it. They just give this guitar solo to someone and
    it's Buddy Guy just blazes and it's still to this day one of the most
    monumental guitar solos ever recorded. I mean, he takes off. And from
    that point of hearing that record, years ago, he was my hero. I mean,
    this guy could do no wrong. And then I heard he was coming to London.
    And they had him play in the Marquee one night with a pickup band. And he
    did, this is long before Jimi Hendrix ever came to England, he played it
    behind his head, he threw it on the floor, he played it with his feet.
    I mean, he did everything. He did everything that Jimi later did. Except
    that Buddy was dressed in this like sharkskin suit, you know like a Rock
    and roll suit. He was immaculate. So he not only played it, but he was
    the embodiment of what it was all about. You know, and he was a beautiful
    man too. He just had this gentlemanly manner. The whole thing was right
    you know. A quiet soft spoken guy who just was a maniac on stage. I mean
    that was it, it was love at first sight.

    [Wee wee baby ...]

RS: Buddy Guy, how good a blues man is Eric Clapton.

BG: Well, to be honest with you. I think he one of the best beddy of that
    hour .. . You know, what can you say when a guy like Eric picks up
    a guitar, and the sound he gets out of it and the records he sell. I
    mean what more can you can ask for, you have the name of the game in
    this business just to be good. I don't even have words to express how
    good that guy is.

RS: But can an Englishman really feel and play the blues.

BG: [BG laughs] Most people ask me that, I don't think that has anything
    to do with the  of playing the blues what nationality he is. I think
    Eric has five fingers and sing and we are humans you know and that
    guy is just doing a thing like it's supposed to be done.

RS: What do you expecting of the shows at the Albert Hall.

BG: When I .. with Eric man I just hope I'll be at my best that night
    because when you're on stage around that guy you have to be on your
    pees and queues and try to play some of the best stuff that you know
    I won't have any time to try to learn that night. I gotta play what I
    already know.

RS: I .. he wants it to be a totally spontaneous evening.

BG: Whatever he decide I hope we just have a good ... I'm looking forward
    to it and I'm all hiked up about it. I feel goosebumps about it now
    and I just can't wait to get this thing going. I feel like Eric
    is a brother of mine. As a matter of fact, the last time we were together
    that's what he said we're gonna adopt each other.

    [The first time I met the blues]

RS: Alongside Buddy Guy on the special blues night are a veteran of Chuck
    Berry's band pianist Johnny Johnson, drummer Jamie Oldaker. From
    the Robert Cray band Richard Cousins on bass and Robert Cray.

EC: When I first was aware of him, a little longer than that, I was into him,
    well into him. I was talking to Mark Knopfler about him. Mark said he'd
    been offered the job of producing Robert Cray and he wasn't that interested.
    And I said 'why not?'. He said 'because he doesn't excite me that much, it 
    seems very normal', you know. Coming from Mark that really shocked me, but
    when I looked at it from his point of view, in a way he can be like that.
    It's kind of very level, you know. And he doesn't pander in any way to
    sensationalism, you know. He makes good solid R&B and blues records. And
    even on stage, you know, he's a gentleman. He just presents the way it is
    and what is required for you is to go inside that and discover what it is
    that makes him tick and then you know, you're bond. You know, that's it,
    there's no turning back because what it's made of is so fine. It's like
    crystal, you know, it's like the purest crystal.

RC: Robert Cray. When did you first realize there was an English guy who played
    a bit of blues as well, called Eric Clapton.

RC: Well I found out about Eric Clapton at a younger age, when I was about 
    twelve years old. My guitar teacher was listening to John Mayall records
    and Eric Clapton was part of the John Mayall band back in those days and
    unbeknownst to me, I was already playing some Eric Clapton before I knew
    who the guy was. I found out later on.

RS: It's strange isn't it, that this guy from the south of England became such
    an accomplished and acknowledged master of the blues.

RC: Yeah, you would think that, but you know, it's just a matter what you like
    and he was one of those kinda guys who happened to like the blues and went
    ahead with it.

RS: Tell me just how successful the blues were at the time that you were getting
    into it. In America.

RC: At a particular time, I started listening to what nobody was listening to,
    but there were people out there like Albert King ad you had people like
    Eric Clapton playing. A lot of my favourites such as Buddy Guy, Freddie 
    King, those people were still around, but the music wasn't very popular
    on the radio. It just so happened that after years of playing guitar myself
    and finding out a lot more about the blues records that my parents had and
    I also had a lot of friends who played guitar. We would get together and 
    collect records by people like Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf and
    we got pretty heavily into the music. Buying books and studying about the 
    people. So at that particular time nothing was going on with blues. Except
    for ourselves and what we made.

RS: Eric would say that he's a blues purist, you know, that he, deep down, he
    just loves the real blues. Would you describe yourself the same way?

RC: Well, I can't say that I'm a purist, but I do like serious low down blues
    as well as a lot of different kinds of music. There was one point in my 
    earlier days that nobody could tell me anything existed but blues .
    And since then I've changed quite a bit.  

RS: What's Eric Clapton like to work with. 

RC: He's a really easy going guy. There's no pressure really when you're on 
    stage with him. The only pressure is that he's the big name. And when
    you're in a working situation with the guy, you just do what you do and
    try to make a nice bond and create something that sounds good. It's nice
    to be put on your toes, you know.

    [Old Love]
RS: Old Love with Robert Cray, from the latest Clapton album Journeyman. Having
    listened to Eric and the musicians involved in the Clapton concerts. It
    seems the essence of his musical genius, is that he's never straight far
    from the pure source of the blues. And as always, he remains it's champion.

EC: When you got the blues<..> being introduced the English blues<..>, going 
    back to America was that people, a lot of people thought that we'd probably
    written or, you know, attached importance to our performance of these songs.
    Were in actual fact we were just playing undiscovered songs, by famous
    artists to the people that already should have known. 

MK (??): You know, the funny thing is, is that if you take the fact that Eric 
    listened to black music from Chicago, whatever and he got real influenced 
    by it and then he took it and almost, you know, made acknowledge what 
    otherwise, you know, a lot of these guys people never would have heard.

RS: It's still pretty strange, that these <....> from London who <....> 
    Manchester ended up exporting, re-exporting America's music back to America.

BASSPLAYER: Right, I think it's great that the music would come across that way
    and then all of a sudden we listen and we get a different thing from the 
    music that comes from over here. And <...> copying each other. It's like
    a story that is told and changed along the way.

RS: They used to say, to play the blues, you got to feel . 
EC: Yeah.

RS: This seems to be ingrained  you.

EC: Yeah.

RS: Somewhere.

EC: But it has to be incorporated with a lot of other facets too. It's got to
    be presented with a certain amount of pride, you know, with a certain
    amount of dignity and a certain amount of finesse. Otherwise you only just
    get -blblblblbl- you know and just make a lot of noise and so that's the 
    blues. It's not that simple. And it has a lot to do, instinct <..>, you
    know, craddled instinct. 

    The journeyman was presented by Richard Skinner, researched by Pete Frame
    and written and produced by Kevin Howlard. 

    And you'll have another chance to hear that program on Tuesday evening
    at 7:30. <..> Eric Clapton's blues night, will be live and direct from the
    Royal Albert hall in London on radio one tonight at 8:30.