Eric Clapton – Mojo Hand (Mid Valley MVR 458/459)

Mojo Hand (Mid Valley MVR 458/459)

St. Pete Times Center, Tampa, FL – June 14, 2004

Disc1. Let it Rain – Hoochie Coochie Man – Walk Out in the Rain – I Want a Little Girl – I Shot the Sheriff – Me and the Devil Blues – They’re Red Hot – Milkcow’s Calf Blues – If I Had Posession Over Judgment Day – Kind Hearted Woman Blues

Disc2. Got to Get Better in a Little While – Have You Ever Loved a Woman – Badge – Wonderful Tonight – Layla – Cocaine – Sunshine of Your Love – Got My Mojo Working

Being one of my all time favourite tours I couldn’t be happier with Mid Valley’s decision to continue pressing shows from the 2004 Tour on silver discs. Previous releases on the MVR label from this tour are “Black Beauty (Complete)”, “Vanishing Point”, “Happy Valentine” and “Happy Birthday” just to name a few.

This time is the turn for “Mojo Hand”, an excellent audience tape featuring EC’s gig in Tampa on June 14, 2004. With the setlist remaining unchanged as usual, you may think there is not much spontaneity involved, but EC & His Band’s musicianship is simply excellent… and “Mojo Hand” features probably the best rendition of “I Want A Little Girl” that I have heard in quite a long while and a more-than-brilliant solo on “I Shot The Sheriff” …

Surrounded by old hits, the core of the show has got to be the Robert Johnson songs. They really are a show within a show. ”Me and the Devil Blues” is played acoustic and not much room is left for guitar pyrotechnics, but the lyrics do make up for that. I just love the idea of Robert Johnson findingSatan on his doorstep and then telling him “Hello, Satan / I believe it’s time to go”…. “They’re Red Hot” is a funny barrelhouse song. “Milkcow’s Calf Blues” is a powerful piece full of heat and distortion. ”If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day” (aka “Rolling & Tumbling”) is again another song giving evidence of Johnson’s ties with the devil. It’s a pity that ”Kind Hearted Woman Blues” is the last one of the Robert Johnson songs to be played because it is now when things seem to take off…

A terrific version of “Got To Get Better” featuring some blistering guitar solos from Doyle Bramhall II and EC comes next and leads into a tremendous 13+ minute version of “Have You Ever Loved A Woman”. The show closes with EC’s tried-and-true hits: “Badge”, “Wonderful Tonight”, “Layla” and “Cocaine”, all impeccably executed. The encore consists of an incendiary rendition of “Sunshine Of Your Love” and “Got My Mojo Working” both featuring Robert Randolph.

I hope the Mid Valley folks keep on releasing titles from this tour of this quality in the near future. They will always find a customer here.

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