Eric Clapton – Plymouth (Blackie 05)

Plymouth (Blackie 05)
ABC Theatre, Plymouth, UK – August 3, 1976

All Our Past Times – Further On Up The Road – Tell The Truth – Ramblin’ On My Mind / Goin’ Down Slow  – Innocent Times – Blues Power

Not the best document of EC’s 1976 UK Tour… but at least a document that survived those years… Moreover, in soundboard sound!! That is what makes this tape interesting.

EC is quite “loose” if you know what I mean. He says the word “fu**ing” a couple of times at the beginning of the show and seems to be in a bad mood… but then he gets to start singing the beautiful All Our Past Times.

With 14 shows performed from July 29 through August 17, only three of them have been silver pressed so far. Two gigs in soundboard quality: the warm-up show in Hemel Hempstead on July 29 (available as “Private Gig” (no label), “The Pavilion” (premiere release on the “EC Compilations” label) and “No Reason To Dry” on the Akashic label) and the fifth show of the tour, featured on “Seaside Special” (second release ever by “EC Compilations”) and  “Plymouth” itself .  The best recording available of the third show – the show after the warm-up gig – is found on Mid Valley’s “I’m With Stupid” which is taken from a very good audience master tape.

“Plymouth” merely features six tracks making it easy to conclude it is an incomplete tape. Still it gives you the chance to listen to a live rendition of the rare Innocent Times, a song from the “No Reason To Cry” album that never went further from the 1976 Tour.

All Our Past Times opens the show with EC on acoustic guitar and George Terry playing a very gentle solo on electric mode. Next comes a good performance of Further On Up The Road, one of EC’s live staples in the mid-to-late 70’s and a personal favourite, with a nice interplay between EC and George Terry. A great 13-minute Tell The Truth follows. The intro to Voodoo Child is played at some point in the last two minutes of the song, and I believe it is played by George Terry but I am open to different opinions! EC was prone to playing long blues medleys those days and Plymouth was no exception. The Ramblin’ On My Mind / Goin’ Down Slow combo is fantastic with a couple of key changes and a great playing from EC, particularly on the last minute of the song… just before…. it fades out (!!)  which is something that absolutely lets me down. I just hope this is all that was recorded and we got the recording “as is”. That is when we have to say “something better than nothing”, I guess

Marcy Levy sings the aforementioned Innocent Times, an aching ballad written by EC whose lyrics contain a verse that gives name to the album “No Reason To Cry”. On the intro to Blues Power EC makes a brief pause before the crowd starts to applaud. A joking EC then says “Thanks a lot – and for the next one…” before continuing. The rendition of Blues Power is nice as it is played in a moderately slow tempo and is a good choice to close the show.

The source tape shows some hiss but not being a well documented tour, I still find this “Blackie” release worth having. I never had the chance to listen to the other tape available covering this show (“Seaside Special”). Apparently it misses Blues Power but features Have You Ever Loved A Woman, Stormy Monday, Hungry and Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door. Any comments on this title will be highly appreciated.

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