Vincent Van God – Known As Kind Of Blues (Tarantura TCDEC-70-1, 2)
The Forum, Los Angeles, CA – November 3rd, 1994
Disc 1 (55:09): Motherless Child (fade in), mc, Malted Milk, How Long, Kidman Blues, County Jail, Forty-Four Blues, Blues All Day Long, Standin’ Around Cryin’, Hoochie Coochie Man, It Hurts Me Too, Blues Before Sunrise, Third Degree, Reconsider Baby, Sinner’s Prayer, Can’t Judge Nobody
Disc 2 (57:35): mc, Someday After a While, Tore Down, Have You Ever Loved A Woman, Crosscut Saw, Five Long Years, Crossroads, Groanin’ the Blues, Ain’t Nobody’s Business, Sweet Home Chicago
Eric Clapton’s From The Cradle blues revue toured in two distinct settings. The first, from October 3rd, in Quebec to November 4th in San Jose, was booked in arenas and the second half from November 7th to November 28th were in smaller clubs. The show at the Los Angeles Forum is the penultimate arena date and exists in an excellent, almost complete soundboard recording.
It was released before on LA Forum 1994 (EEC-51/52) and twice by Mid Valley. Kind of Blues(Mid Valley 003/004) was issued first, a six disc set with other shows and then separately in 2005 on Kind Of Blues (Mid Valley 326/327). On the first release Mid Valley spliced in “Motherless Child” from one of the Fillmore shows the following week, and omitted the track entirely on the remaster.
Tarantura covers the entire show including a short fragment of the opening song “Motherless Child,” fading in from the middle of the song. Vincent Van God has excellent sound quality, very clear detailed, well balanced and powerful.
Several years ago Tarantura released Nothing But Benefit (Tarantura TCDED-14-1,2), a benefit show in New York from the same era. Clapton structures the show so that it acts as a summary of the development of the blues and a clinic in various blues styles, from acoustic solo to electric. Robert Johnson’s “Terraplane Blues” opens the New York show, but that is replaced with “Motherless Child.”
“Sinner’s Prayer,” “Can’t Judge Nobody” and “Sweet Home Chicago” are added and “Going Away” and “Born Under A Bad Sign” are dropped.
The first song is a cover of “Motherless Child Blues,” the Robert Hicks tune from the twenties (and renamed “Motherless Child” on From The Cradle, but has nothing to do with the famous negro spiritual). Afterwards Clapton tells the audience that he’s going to play “a selection of songs that spell it all out for me, whatever that is.”
“Malted Milk,” the second all acoustic number, is a cover of the Robert Johnson tune and replicates the original studio recordings. The third song of the set is “How Long Blues,” Leroy Carr’s 1928 interpretation of the song in 1928 featuring the bar room piano along with harp and acoustic guitar.
At this point the entire band joins him onstage. “Kidman Blues” is a fast paced blues written by Big Maceo Merriweather, a blues-man who recorded in the thirties and forties. “County Jail Blues” follows and is a blues written by Little Alfred Fields. This song is a rewrite of the song “Worried Life Blues,” a song recorded also by Merriweather and has been covered many times throughout Clapton’s career.
“Fourty-Four Blues” by Howlin’ Wolf begins the Chicago blues section of the set, followed by “Blues All Day Long” by Jimmy Reed. Best known as Muddy Waters’ guitarist in the fifties, he recorded several album and is one of three bluesman who were still living at the time of this performance, (Eddie Boyd and Lowell Fulson being the others).
Clapton then plays “Standing Around Crying” by Muddy Waters. The original Chess recording dates from 1952 and features Rogers on guitar and Little Alfred on harp.
“We’re gonna do some songs by Elmore James” Clapton says before “It Hurts Me Too,” recorded by James in 1957 and is followed by his 1955 hit “Blues Before Sunrise.” Curiously the latter is written by the same Leroy Carr mentioned above.
“Third Degree” is a song co-written by Willie Dixon and pianist Eddie Boyd. This song was a hit in 1953 and he passed away several months before Clapton released From The Cradle.
“Reconsider Baby” is the hit written and recorded by Lowell Fulson. This song was also covered by Elvis in the 60’s and was named by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as one of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock And Roll.” It is an excellent example of West Coast blues, which is characterized by strong piano and jazzy guitar licks.
The two “newer” songs are played in the middle of the set. “Sinner’s Prayer” was written by Lloyd C. Glenn and Lowell Fulson and was released in 1950 and is followed by “Can’t Judge Nobody,” the song written by Otis “Big Smokey” Smothers.
“Have You Ever Loved A Woman” and “Crosscut Saw” are very familiar to Clapton collectors because both have been covered extensively throughout his career. He plays them in arrangements almost identical in the past.
Like in the New York show, the show ends with “Crossroads” (closer to Robert Johnson’s original than Cream’s arrangement), “Groanin’ The Blues” and “Ain’t Nobody’s Business.” The classic “Sweet Home Chicago” is the final number of the night and a fitting end to the evening.
Tarantura package Vincent Van God – Known As Kind Of Blues in a gatefold cardboard sleeve with Vincent Van Gogh’s Self Portrait 1889 self portrait on the front cover. Inside are small photographs from the tour plus a gallery of the blues musicians he covers in the set. The label also includes an insert with liner notes giving short summaries of each track. It’s a nice touch and a fitting inclusion on what is one of the best sounding documents to come out of the From The Cradle tour.