Hanaten Sources (Tarantura TCDED-11, 12)
Hanaten Sources is a nice box set issued recently by Tarantura. It collects together two brand new audience sources from two very different Eric Clapton tours in the city of Osaka, Japan neither of which has circulated before.
Hanaten Sources is packaged in a red cardboard box with a cartoon of Clapton on the cover. Each of the two concerts is housed in a gatefold sleeve with photographs of the original cassette J-cards on the cover and several live shots in the middle.
It is limited to one hundred numbered copies and is already sold out. Perhaps Tarantura will issue a second edition in the future which will have the missing encore on the second show. As it is, of the Eric Clapton tapes Tarantura issued in the past year, this is among the very best ones and is definitely worth having.
I Can’t Believe It! (Tarantura TCDED-11)
Koseinenkin Kaikan Dai Hall, Osaka, Japan – November 5th, 1974
Disc 1, Koseinenkin Kaikan Dai Hall, Osaka, Japan – November 5th, 1974: Opening, Let It Grow, Can’t Find My Way Home, Better Make It Through Today, changes guitar (acoustic to electric), Tell The Truth, Driftin’ Blues, Willie And The Hand Jive, Get Ready, Let It Rain, break
Disc 2: Layla, Presence Of The Lord, I Shot The Sheriff, Badge, All I Have To Do Is Dream, Singing The Blues
This was the year of Clapton’s first tour in four years, since the end of the Derek And The Dominos tour in 1970. Promoting 461 Ocean Boulevard, he spent most of the summer traveling around North America in two separate legs. The second of the two was a short, seven-date tour in late September and late October. He began his first tour in Japan on October 31st in Tokyo and played a total of five dates. The first three were in the capital and the final two, on November 5th and 6th, at the Koseinenkin Kaikan Dai Hall in Osaka.
His band featured Jamie Oldaker (drums), Dick Sims (keyboards), Carl Radle (bass), George Terry (guitar) and Yvonne Elliman and Marcy Levy singing backing vocals. The set list follows the same pattern as on the earlier tours with the first couple of songs played. This show begins with “Let It Grow.” Yvonne Elliman sings Steve Winwood’s lead on “Can’t Find My Way Home” and the opening acoustic set closes with the There’s One In Every Crowd song (which had yet to be released at this point) “Better Make It Through Today.”
The first two discs, packaged together in a cardboard gatefold sleeve with the title I Can’t Believe It! document the November 5th, 1974 performance at the Koseinenkin Kaikan Dai Hall. Previous releases of this show have been released before on a soundboard recording.
The first half of the show can be found on First Appearance Part 1 (EC In Person – 002) which has “Let It Grow, ” “Can’t Find My Way Home”, “Better Make It Through Today, “Tell The Truth,” “Drifting Blues,” “Willie And The Hand Jive,” and “Get Ready.” The second half of the show can be found, again on a very good soundboard recording, on First Appearance (Part 2) (EC In Person-003).
This release includes “Let It Rain,” “Layla,” “Presence Of The Lord,” “I Shot The Sheriff,” “Badge” and “All I Have To Do Is Dream.” The final encore “Singing The Blues” is missing from that tape. This tape was subsequently released by Mid Valley (The Magnificent Seven (Mid Valley 290/291)), Watch Tower (First Appearance (WT 2004112/13)) and the fan produced Live In Osaka (PHR 19741105). The soundboard suffered from excessive amounts of hiss.
The latter title had the levels of hiss reduced with some loss of the top end. The new audience source on Tarantura has never been released before, making its debut. It is good sounding and enjoyable on many different levels. There is considerable distance between the stage and recorder and Clapton’s introductions are a bit hard to hear. However, the music is clear enough especially once the ears adjust to the fidelity.
The change from acoustic to electric guitar is tracked separately on this release, lasting about forty-five seconds before the band begin an eight minute version of “Tell The Truth.” “Driftin’ Blues” is nine minutes long and contains a small cut at the beginning but is otherwise complete. The “Willie And The Hand Jive” and “Get Ready” medley sounds particularly sleazy on this night. The “break” at the end of disc one is a two-minute interruption in the music.
Clapton speaks to the audience, but his voice is difficult to hear and some people by the recorder carry on a conversation. “Layla” is eight minutes long, is missing the piano coda, but has one of the longest crescendos, lasting almost half of the length of the song. “Badge” is the set closer and is very sloppy with the band singing in different keys. This segues with The Everly Brothers’ “All I Have To Do Is Dream” before the track ends in a cloud of feedback. The new audience tape records the encore “Singing The Blues,” making its debut on this release.
Moshi-Moshi, Osaka (Tarantura TCDED-12)
Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan – September 26th, 1977
Disc 1: Opening, The Core, Badge, Double Trouble, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Bottle Of Red Wine, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out, Alberta
Disc 2: We’re All The Way, Sign Language, Tell The Truth, Stormy Monday, Layla
The second two-disc set, Moshi-Moshi, Osaka, contains a new audience recording for the September 26th, 1977 show at the Festival Hall in Osaka. There is another audience source in circulation, but it is so bad it has never been booted before and exists merely for Clapton completist. This new tape source has a similar sound to the 1974 recording in this collection.
It is a bit louder but has the same distance between stage and recorder with the similar difficulty in understanding some of the stage announcements. Unfortunately it isn’t complete since the encore “Key To The Highway” is missing. Tarantura should have edited the song from the older tape source to complete the show but didn’t. It is however a dramatic improvement over the older audience recording for this date making it worth having.
In “Double Trouble,” from 7:20 to about 7:49, the taper’s microphone picks up annoying feedback and there is some lower end distortion at the end of “Alberta.” This show occurs during the Slowhand period and is the first of nine total dates in Japan. On this tour he came with the same backing band as before except for Yvonne Elliman. Marcy Levy covered all of the female vocals.
The set list for these shows changed every night but “The Core” was the most common opener and is so here. “Badge” sounds nice in this recording with the moving descending riff echoing off the walls of the Festival Hall. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” is the same Arthur Brown reggae cover that both Clapton and Dylan himself were playing in the late seventies. “Bottle Of Red Wine” is introduced as “an oldie.”
“This is a very nice young lady named Marcy Levy” is Clapton’s introduction before her solo piece “Nobody Knows When You’re Down And Out.” Someone in the audience shouts out “Play ‘Layla”” after “Alberta.” “Sooner or later we will” Clapton responds before the same guy makes the same request.
“Tell The Truth” is sung as a duet between Clapton and Levy and lasts for thirteen minutes, longer than it did in 1974 but doesn’t come close to the improvisation as it did in the final days of Derek And The Dominos. Clapton sings the other Dominos track “Stormy Monday,” which has a strong organ presence. “Layla” is the set closer and lasts seven minutes. It is the first half of the song extended with excellent guitar solos, but the piano driven coda wasn’t played.
The tape ends right when the song finishes. It would have been good if Tarantura edited the encore to give a complete performance and this oversight is the only complaint one may have about this.