E.C. King (Tarantura TCDEC-25, 26)
Convention Center, Dallas, TX – November 15th, 1976
Disc 1, soundboard: Opening, Hello Old Friend, Sign Language, Badge, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Can’t Find My Way Home, Tell The Truth, All Our Past Times
Disc 2: Blues Power, One Night, Layla, Further On Up The Road
Disc 1, audience: Opening, Hello Old Friend, Sign Language, Badge, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Key To The Highway, Can’t Find My Way Home, Tell The Truth
Disc 2: All Our Past Times, Blues Power, One Night, Layla, Further On Up The Road
Eric Clapton – E. C. King
E. C. King is a very nice comprehensive box set from Tarantura that couples the audience and soundboard sources from Clapton’s 11/15/76 Dallas performance. It was recorded and broadcast by the King Biscuit Flower Hour, or at least the broadcast was believed to be Dallas . When it came time to compare the previous versions of the broadcast in my collection, Dallas 1976 Pre-FM Master on Beano and One Night In Dallas on Seagull Records, I was very surprised to find that the sources didn’t always match. To be sure of what I was actually listening to I first compared the audience and soundboard sources from Tarantura. They are identical almost the whole way through with the exception of “Blues Power”. Since there is no change in sound quality in the audience source it leads me to believe that the soundboard source for this track must be from another night.
The audience source has been previously issued as Hello Old Friend on Bell Bottom and Dallas on the Slowhand label and is now almost impossible to find. I didn’t have either of these titles to compare but I can say that the source used by Tarantura sounds excellent even though portions of the tape suffer slightly from a slow wobble as if it were sourced from warped vinyl. There is no surface noise present so it may be that the tape suffers from age or improper storage. That being said it really isn’t that bad and this is still one of the better audience recordings from this tour. Also worth mentioning, when played on a computer, the disc title comes up as Hello Old Friend so my guess would be that it was sourced from the Bell Bottom release. It is pretty much complete with a two minute cut in “Tell The Truth” and another cut in “Blues Power” near the end.
The broadcast has been booted many times over the years and what I found when comparing the various soundboard sources is that on the Beano title the only tracks that are actually from Dallas are “Badge”, “Knockin On Heaven’s Door”, and “Layla” where Clapton thanks Dallas at the end and is no doubt the reason for the mix up. I didn’t have to look far to identify where the other tracks came from. The rest of Beano’s title and Seagull Records are from the following night in Norman , Oklahoma . A more complete version can be found on One Night In Oklahoma on Slunky but sounds inferior to Beano. This also identifies the source for “Blues Power” found on the E. C. King soundboard. We can only assume the KBFH recorded the two nights and mixed songs from both shows for the broadcast. A small portion of this broadcast is also featured over at Wolfgang’s Vault.
Tarantura’s soundboard is good but does have some fuzziness to it in places as if the level was a little too hot and there are some changes in sound quality between a few of the tracks where they have compiled various sources (all from the same night) but whatever the case, Tarantura presents the most complete version of the actual Dallas soundboard. It is still missing “Key To The Highway” and the proper “Blues Power” but is probably the best we’ll get until those are found.
The No Reason To Cry tour was broken into two very short tours with one in the UK and one in America both being under a month long. The shows featured a small handful of new cuts but as the tour rolled on some of the tracks played earlier in the UK tour, like “Hungry” and “Innocent Times”, were dropped. A great performance throughout with the new “Hello Old Friend” and “Sign Language” starting the show with Eric on acoustic guitar again. The band really had it together at this stage of the tour and there are some nice extended jams during “Tell The Truth” and “Blues Power”. The latter from the broadcast has an excellent jam in it where the band has really got a nice groove going on and is maybe the reason they used this one over the actual Dallas performance. “Layla” is about 16 minutes with a drum/percussion solo sandwiched in the middle and EC mentions Dallas after the song. Eric introduces Freddie King who joins the band for the final track, “Further On Up The Road”, but his introduction is missing in the soundboard and this could be edited in from the official Polydor release, Freddie King 1934 – 1976. Clapton and King have a cool break where they trade licks for a few and is a highlight in the show.
Tarantura packaged this in a beautiful box set with two separate cardboard gatefold sleeves containing the soundboard and audience sources inside and comes with a mini poster of Clapton and King playing next to each other. Although there are a couple of changes in sound quality in their soundboard version it still sounds very good the whole way through and the audience tape is very enjoyable as well. This show is a must have for all Clapton collectors and should be released officially someday. Hopefully the complete raw soundboard version will surface from a single source but until then this may be the definitive package.