There’s One In Every Crowd

Eric Clapton

RSO Records, March 1975

Produced by Tom Dowd

Insert: by Eric Clapton

TRACKS

side oneside two
We’ve Been Told (Jesus Coming Soon)
(Trad arr. Clapton)
Singing The Blues
(Mary McCreary)
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
(Traditional arr. Clapton)
Better Make It Through Today
(Eric Clapton)
Little Rachel
(Jim Byfield)
Pretty Blue Eyes
(Eric Clapton)
Don’t Blame Me
(Eric Clapton / George Terry)
High
(Eric Clapton)
The Sky is Crying
(Elmore James – Robinson- Lewis)
Opposites
(Eric cCapton)
There’s On In Every Crowd

MUSICIANS
Eric Clapton – lead vocal, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, dobro, arrangements
George Terry – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, group vocals
Carl Radle – bass guitar, electric guitar
Dick Sims – organ, piano, electric piano
Jamie Oldaker- drums, percussion
Yvonne Elliman – lead vocals, group vocals
Marcy Levy- group vocals

THANKS TO: Byron Lee’s Ironmen (Junior, Keith, Sammy & Phillip), Albhy Galuten – sythesizers

Eric Clapton: The band had a predestined aura about it. Carl [bassist Carl Radle] brought Dick [keyboardist Dick Sims] and Jamie [vocalist/drummer Jamie Oldaker], two guys he’d been playing with, down to the 461 sessions in Miami. They brought Marcy [vocalist Marcy Levy] in for There’s One in Every Crowd. George Terry was the staff session guitarist at Criteria for 461, and he just sort of fell in with us. Yvonne [singer Yvonne Elliman] was at the sessions with her old man, Bill Oakes, who runs RSO. I asked her to sing one day and never let her go.
Cameron Crowe Interview, RollingStone 20 November 1975

CHART
UK #15
US #21

The cover

In 2021 you think ‘what an odd dull cover’ but it has history and back in 1975, most of us got the joke. Remember the dyslexic who bought a pet God?

It goes back to the 1966 graffiti campaign, which we now know was advertising. and most suspect the Yardbirds managers of commissioning it. Eric Clapton said in 2016 that it was painted by Hamish Grimes, a Yardbirds promoter. Starting in Islington, graffiti started appearing with CLAPTON IS GOD (much to the deep embarrassment of Mr Clapton).

graffiti, Islington, London 1966

The best-known one has a dog pissing on the wall. Look at the hangdog expression on the similar dog on the cover. That’s the point.

1967 image

Incidentally, no one imagines that these two most famous images were taken by accident. So here CLAPTON IS DOG. Eric Clapton’s original title was “The World’s Greatest Guitar Player (There’s One In Every Crowd).” RSO Records chose only the second part. ‘There’s One in Every Crowd’ was a mid-60s Pall Mall cigarette advertising slogan.

The album

The album was recorded between 29 August 1974 and 18 September 1974 in Kingston, Jamaica.

US advertising poster

I bought it as soon as it came out in March 1975, helping it to that UK #15 slot.. It was sandwiched between probably my two favourite Clapton albums, 461 Ocean Boulevard and no reason to cry. He had at last come out of the shadows of a group identity … John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and The Dominos and taken up the role of undisputed front man. He was not happy in the spotlight generally, but the success of 461 Ocean Boulevard had the management, Robert Stigwood Organization, and its own label, RSO Records , clamouring for a follow-up.

It was hurried, there hadn’t been time to write enough material.

They’d done Miami, naming the album after the studio with 461 Boulevard … compare 2021 Michigan Avenue (The Rolling Stones), 3614 Jackson Highway (Cher), Abbey Road (The Beatles), McLemore Avenue (Booker T & The MGs). After the surprise hit with Bob Marley’s I Shot The Sheriff, it had to be Jamaica for the recordings. On the plus side, it was the same band as 461 Ocean Boulevard and they were fresh off a major tour.

Peter Tosh sat in for two songs, but neither made it to the album.

There is some indication that members of Clapton’s own band were concerned about the inclusion of so many reggae tracks and that probably is the reason that some songs (“Whatcha Gonna Do” and “Burial”) recorded with reggae legend Peter Tosh were omitted from the album.
Clive Barrett, 1 February 2008 online, 4/10

WHAT THE CRITICS SAID

Clapton plays guitar with utilitarian economy but here it is also without the ring of purposeful authority. As on its predecessor, the lack of riveting or attention-drawing guitar work places the primary focus on Clapton’s singing, which through experience, growing confidence and a touching candor has become as distinctive and as eloquent as his playing. But where Clapton sounded either quietly tormented or beatifically serene, on the last album, through most of the new one he sounds only languid or charming. … Where there is conviction on There’s One in Every Crowd, there’s still no growth, no strain, no sense of challenge. Clapton also fails to challenge us; and it is the challenges he’s issued to himself and to us, much more than his virtuosity, that have made him a pantheon artist. Those who have been moved by Clapton’s work would be acting unfairly if they demanded a Layla every time he recorded. But it’s also unfair not to expect some new challenge. On this album he doesn’t offer any.
Bud Scoppa, Rolling Stone, 22 May 1975

This is the J.J. Cale record we were afraid Eric was going to make (ho-hum) when he signed up all those Leon Russell sidemen (yawn) for461 Ocean Boulevard. Only for J.J. (think I’ll turn in) the nice tunes come naturally. Original grade C. C+
Robert Christgau, Christgau’s Guide: Albums of the 70s

Not mentioned, but he refers to no reason to cry as the ‘lacklustre follow up’ to 461 Ocean Boulevard, thus skipping two albums, this one and EC Was Here. It gets two stars in the list.
John Milward, Rolling Stone Record Guide, 1980 **
John Milward, New Rolling Stone Record Guide, 1983 **

There’s On In Every Crowd virtually duplicates its predecessor’s approach, but with considerably less success, commercial or artistic. Mostly the difference was the writing as no amount of reggae groove is going to make Clapton’s Don’t Blame Me as memorable a song as I Shot The Sheriff.
J.D. Considine, The Rolling Stone Album Guide, 1993 ***
J.D. Considine, The New Rolling Stone Album Guide, 2004 ***
(So much for ‘new and completely revised)

 It is a pleasant and unpretentious album which fails to challenge Eric Clapton and fails to excite the listener. It does have its moments however and definitely had a laid-back charm about it.
Clive Barrett, 1 February 2008 online, 4/10, eric clapton.co.uk

Although “There’s One In Every Crowd” suffers in direct comparison to “461 Ocean Boulevard”, it is not a bad album by any means.  It is a meticulous produced yet modestly ambitious work. If Clapton’s intention was to distance himself from the virtuoso role of early works then this album was perfectly planned and executed.  
Carlos Benedict, 5/10, eric clapton.co.uk

WHAT THE ARTISTS SAID

Eric Clapton: We did it in Jamaica and had a fairly good time. It’s the kind of record that if you didn’t like it after maybe the third or fourth time, you wouldn’t play it again, but if you did like it and you carried on listening to it, you’d hear things that are really nice, just little things in the background, little touches. My voice still sounds too young. I was very concerned during the first part of my career about whether I should sound young or old, or like so-and-so, or so-and -so, and when I was making those records I was actually contriving a young voice, a sweet voice.But over the years, seeing as I smoke sixty cigarettes a day, that’s no longer possible.
Quoted in Marc Roberty: Eric Clapton: The Complete Recording Sessions 1963-1992, 1993

Eric Clapton: There’s One in Every Crowd was different, completely different. Some of it, the parts we cut in Kingston, Jamaica, went easy. No matter where you go, the music’s in the air. Everyone is singing all the time, even the maids at the hotel, and it really gets into your blood. But that album took a lot of work, and I think it sounds like it too. I wasn’t surprised the album didn’t do too well. I like the studio but I just don’t play the same way as I would onstage.
Cameron Crowe Interview, RollingStone 20 November 1975

Eric could be pretty negative about the record:

Eric Clapton: The problem was, in my drunkenness, I was being led around a lot by Tom (Dowd) and sometimes even Roger (Forrester) with them making assumptive artistic choices on my behalf. Sometimes disastrously so.
Eric Clapton, The Autobiography 2007

Eric Clapton: There’s One In Every Crowd was really just another rock ‘n’ roll record, which owed little to Jamaican music or reggae.
Eric Clapton, The Autobiography 2007

Carl Radle: We had 461 and two or three tours behind us, and by the time we came to this one, we were really together.
Quoted in Marc Roberty: Eric Clapton: The Complete Recording Sessions 1963-1992, 1993

On the 1975 tour following the album:

Eric Clapton: I was underplaying a lot and I guess the band were still trying to get to know one another. I just wasn’t keen to project myself as a guitarist because there were too many others who could top me. There is always someone faster, isn’t there? I’m not a competitive guitarist and if I have to change my ways to top a poll, I’d rather not play at all.
Quoted in Chris Welch: Clapton: The Ultimate Illustrated History, 2011

side one

We’ve Been Told (Jesus Coming Soon)

Clapton is God? Or has Clapton found God? When I first heard this track, I thought it generic. The years pass, my hi-fi got better I guess and this song becomes the strongest on the album.

The groove is pure J.J., Cale with sparkling and intricate touches of dobro. Clapton’s voice is helped greatly by the female chorus. Looking at user reviews on amazon, ‘relaxing’ is a word that keeps coming up for the album, and it is. The drumming and the guitars are fabulous. There’s so much going on, those ‘little touches’ that Eric Clapton mentioned in the quote above.

Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Swing Low Sweet Chariot: Eric Clapton, UK 45, RSO 1975

The single. It was a UK #19 hit. It failed to chart in the USA.

This African-American spiritual’s origins are lost in history, but the text and tune were published in 1876. Some claim it was composed by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman, and transcribed by a minister, Alexander Reid, along with Steal Away, also by Willis. The significance is their location … Oklahoma (then the Indian Territory), tying it to those Leon Russell / Shelter Records connection. The lyrics have been analysed as referring to the Underground Railroad … Jordan, initial escape. Home … Africa, or freedom. Jesus, those who helped the slave escape.

The earliest known recording was 1909 by the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

The second religious one in a row, but this time it’s set to a reggae rhythm with whispered vocals that break out. OK, this band handle the reggae convincingly for me.

Yvonne Elliman takes the lead vocal on an alternate verse . Eric takes the solo. Hammond hovers.

Little Rachel

You don’t need no high I.Q.
To get right down and sing the blues

A classic riff leads into another in the style of J.J. Cale, as it would be as the songwriter Jimmy Byfield was part of the Tulsa, Oklahoma music scene with Cale, Elvin Bishop and Leon Russell. Jimmy Byfield was the lead singer in Rockin’ Jimmy and The Brothers of The Night.

Clapton would later collaborate with J.J. Cale. At the time, I was heavily into the J.J. Cale albums Naturally and Really. Naturally gave Clapton After Midnight. A friend who worked in a record shop had a pile of T-shirts made up with the Really cover logo. I bought two and wore them till they fell in shreds. I like Clapton in J.J. Cale mode.

Don’t Blame Me

The credits read Clapton / Terry but See Eric Clapton below.

Eric Clapton: We did one song on the album called Don’t Blame Me, written by George Terry, which was sort of a sequel to I Shot The Sheriff, but it didn’t sit well. It felt like we were milking a formula, which in effect is what we were doing, and that almost always backfires.
Eric Clapton, The Autobiography, 2007

Indeed, this was a sequel / answer disc to I Shot The Sheriff with the same reggae rhythm. Eric Clapton starts out imitating Bob Marley’s vocal styling uncannily closely. Yvonne Elliman and Marcy Levy sound like the I Threes. The stabbing organ and bass sound like The Wailers.

George Terry has said he introduced Clapton to I Shot The Sheriff in the first place:

George Terry: I gave Eric the record ‘Burnin’ that had ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ on it and did my best ‘hype’ on Reggae music telling him to play along and have fun… During our jam sessions at Criteria Studios in Miami, I would kick off the Reggae groove. To this day he doesn’t think we did justice to the song, but I say… our version made Bob Marley a legend… and Mr. Davis shot the Deputy (ed: he refers to the song’s lyrics).
Hit Channel interview, 2012

Yvonne Elliman: Being in Jamaica you get that reggae feeling in your bones just being there. And the minute you step into the studio, it’s just da-da-da. We recorded about five raggae tunes, The Wailers came down and some steel drum players. And Geirge Terry and Eric wrote the answer to I Shot The Sheriff – who shot the deputy, right? The song is called ‘Don’t Blame me” about the poor guy stuck in jail saying, ‘Don’t blame me. I did not shoot the deputy.”
Quoted in Marc Roberty: Eric Clapton: The Complete Recording Sessions 1963-1992, 1993

The Sky Is Crying

This 1959 song was originally credited to just Elmore James. Bobby Robinson was the producer and leapt onto the credits on the 1965 LP of the same title. People kept getting added to the credits, as this album adds a “Lewis.”. It was released in 1959 by Elmo James and The Broomdusters (Dust My Broom …) It was a #15 R&B chart hit in 1960 in the USA. He recorded a new version in April 1960 as The Sun Is Shining … Clapton combines the lyrics on the live version. Albert King had covered it in 1969.

Clapton’s voice is switched from Bob Marley to ancient bluesman. Looking online at opinions of the album, the diehard Clapton fans are really the blues people. They invariably choose this song and Better Make It Through The Day as highlights of the album. They’re not for me.

The same band performed this as part of a medley at Hammersmith Odeon , maybe on 4th December 1974, then maybe on 5th September 1974. This medley is on the 1996 Crossroads 2 box set, dated 5th December 1974. The full recording of the 4th December live show was then added as a bonus disc on the Polydor DeLuxe edition of 461 Ocean Boulevard in 2004. It contains the medley: The Sky Is Cryoing / Have You Ever Loved A Woman / Rambling On My Mind. According to the Crossroads 2 notes, it was only played on the 5th, NOT on the 4th.

Clapton raised the stakes the following evening (5th December) enlarging the merger to premiere his spirited remake of Elmore James’s The Sky Is Crying, one of the highlights of the forthcoming There’s One In Every Crowd. With his band locked firmly in the groove, Clapton fired biting blasts from his Stratocaster as he called out key changes, guiding the group through this remarkable expanded medley.
John McDermott, Crossroads 2 sleeve notes. 1996

The set included Singing The Blues. Both played live three months ahead of the album release.

The studio cut is on the 4CD Crossroads compilation

side two

Singin’ The Blues

By Mary McCreary, who was married to Leon Russell. Still with the Tulsa / Shelter record label scene as an inspiration. The title confused purchasers, who instantly thought of Guy Mitchell’s 1956 hit (US #1 and UK #1), as covered by Tommy Steele in the UK (also UK #1). Different song. Mary McCreary’s version was a single in May 1974. The French version came out after Clapton’s album and is described on the sleeve as “reggae-pop.” It’s not.

Yvonne Elliman: We were doing this one song, Singing The Blues, and it just needed a bit more punch. So at six o’clock one morning, Eric asked Marcy (Levy) to try it and she did it like that in one take.
Quoted in Marc Roberty: Eric Clapton: The Complete Recording Sessions 1963-1992, 1993

This is the other song previewed in that 4 December live show, though at 7 minutes 47 second instead of the album’s more concise 3 minutes 27 seconds. It’s exactly the same band. It’s way less laid back, faster and considerably more urgent on guitar and all three vocalists. The length is mainly a very long guitar solo section. I think it loses that cool Tulsa groove in the live show … not as good as the studio version. Though just as well-played and more “exciting.”

Better Make It Through Today

The other one beloved of long-term Clapton fans. The start is so familiar I sense someone lifted it and had a hit, but it escapes me. I can see why the blues fans love it … the organ part by Dick Sims is particularly good throughout, with choppy guitar and drums.

The studio cut is also on the 4CD Crossroads compilation.

Pretty Blue Eyes

Pretty Blue Eyes: Eric Clapton UK 45, B-side RSO 1975

B-side of Swing Low Sweet Chariot 45

Left alone to cry
While he goes out singing
And she don’t see why
A wedding bell ain’t ringing

It sounds autobiographical (The George Harrison – Pattie Boyd – Eric Clapton love triangle produces yet more interesting music). Eric says they saw the recording session as a kind of honeymoon, though not that happy as one as he broke his toe kicking a door, and his half-brother died in Canada.

The song follows a bright skipping riff, then suddenly launches into that glorious and impressive Beatlesque (or rather ELO-esque) dramatic central piece:

Goodbye, pretty blue eyes
Goodbye, pretty blue eyes

It hits it again at the end. It’s like two different pieces of music stitched together. The blues influence on Clapton’s solo writing means economy of lyrics. Three verses is enough to make his point. He’s a good popular songwriter and rarely seems to realize how good he is.

I’d have made this the A-side – probably of a further single.

High

The fact that this track follows Pretty Blue Eyes will be deliberate. I assume the basic story is the same.

He was once a friend of mine
But I did not know or care
Until she said goodbye
I cried till I could hardly see
The meaning of my life
What do I do now?

High” is a lesser-known track off of one of Clapton’s lesser-known albums. – The album mixed reggae, blues, and rock, but was generally underwhelming and seemed like a pale imitation of its predecessor. Critical disappointment notwithstanding, there are some good performances on this album. From a bass player’s perspective, “High” is the most interesting. Radle keeps the song moving by playing a descending syncopated line, matching the rhythm of the guitar. 
Carl Radle bass lines, online

It is the commercial area of Clapton songs, and all the better for it as it zips along cheerfully.

Opposites

The only track recorded elsewhere, Miami, in November 1974, but with the same band. It has just the one verse, repeated three times:

Night after day, day after night
White after black, black after white
Fight after peace, peace after fight
Life after death, death after life

The guitar intro has a classic Clapton sound, reminding me of Abbey Road . Beautiful playing throughout.

Remastered CD

The remastered CD

5.1 DTS Surround sound

I haven’t heard it, but it exists, though only secondhand. DTS music discs played as DVD Audio.

OVERALL

I looked in Galactic Ramble which has notes and quotes from contemporary reviews on the British albums of the 60s and 70s. It’s not there. The only Clapton one listed is Eric Clapton from 1970. I was puzzled for a moment, then I realized why. They don’t count his solo albums because the band is 100% American, and they were not recorded in the UK. Eric is the only English person.

I like it much more after doing the article than I did before. It had rarely come off the shelf in this century, but after a week with many plays, I agree with Eric Clapton’s comment on what is revealed in repeated listening. The songs never featured much after the album, oddly. It sent me back to 461 Ocean Boulevard and forward to EC Was Here. It’s the most laid back of the three, the backing vocals are greatly enhanced by adding Marcy Levy as well as Yvonne Elliman. The band’s tight. I like Eric in subtle mode. It won’t be going back on the shelf for long this time.

THE REVILED ALBUMS ARE (so far) …

Beatles For Sale – The Beatles
Their Satanic Majesties Request … The Rolling Stones
Speedway (and Elvis film music) – Elvis Presley
Electric Mud– Muddy Waters
3614 Jackson Highway – Cher (plus the bonus tracks)
Self Portrait – Bob Dylan
Byrdmaniax – The Byrds
Cahoots – The Band
Carl and The Passions- So Tough! – The Beach Boys
The London Chuck Berry Sessions – Chuck Berry
Wild Life – Wings
Sometime in New York City – John and Yoko / Elephant’s Memory
Recall The Beginning: A Journey From Eden … The Steve Miller Band
Hard Nose The Highway … Van Morrison
Chicago III … Chicago
Berlin– Lou Reed
Pinups – David Bowie
There’s One In Every Crowd – Eric Clapton
I Want You – Marvin Gaye
Love At The Greek – Neil Diamond
Death of A Ladies’ Man – Leonard Cohen
Born Again – Randy Newman
Mingus – Joni Mitchell
One Trick Pony – Paul Simon
Everybody’s Rockin’ – Neil Young
American Dream – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Jefferson Airplane – Jefferson Airplane (1989)
Human Touch – Bruce Springsteen

And here’s a rule-breaker. I’d decided one album each, but Van Morrison got so much vituperation from critics (unjustly) in 2021, that I had to add it:

Latest Record Project Volume1… Van Morrison

This list will grow steadily

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