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Eric Clapton - Sessions for Robert Johnson
Eric Clapton - Sessions for Robert Johnson
Actors: Steve Gadd, Eric Clapton, Nathan East, Billy Preston, Chris Stainton
Director: Stephen Schible
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
NR     2004     1hr 37min

Live, intimate, and raw, Sessions For Robert J is the essential audio/video companion to Eric Clapton's 2004 gold, Top 10 Me And Mr. Johnson, tribute to blues legend Robert Johnson. Filmed during tour rehearsals in London ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Steve Gadd, Eric Clapton, Nathan East, Billy Preston, Chris Stainton
Director: Stephen Schible
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll, Clapton, Eric, Johnson, Robert, Blues, Classic Rock
Studio: Reprise / Wea
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 12/07/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 37min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

EC Was Here...
political idiot | california | 12/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Clapton finally decided to come to terms with what many of his fans have always wanted, a pure Robert Johnson tribute. Since the beginning we Clapton fans have know of his passion for RJ's 29 songs. Sure he has dabbled over the years even sprinkling many of RJ's songs on various albums. Here it is, finally, the release we have been waiting for. Purists might hate it. Who cares? EC isn't going to try to be someone he's not. He is just playing his art from the heart driven by a passion for RJ's music. Got a problem with that? Then stay away. All others can just sit back, relax, and enjoy a masterful player doing what he does best. Clapton's glowing admiration of RJ's music is endearing. Clapton and the band retrace Robert Johnson's studio recording footsteps from 1936 and 1937 even going back to some of the same places Johnson recorded.

The DVD starts off with a nice low-key electric studio session on March 15, 2004 in Checkendon, England with some top notch musicians including the very talented Doyle Bramhall II (Papa Bramhall was Stevie Ray Vaughan's song writing partner and vocal influence) on supporting rhythm, lead, and slide guitar. Peppered throughout the DVD are interviews with Clapton on the deep influence Robert Johnson's music had on him, his career, and many of his musician friends. Also included are Robert Johnson facts, images of the few documents he left behind, and other tidbits most knowledgeable blues fans already know. Session II was recorded on June 2, 2004 in Irving, TX on a funky sound stage with a cloudy sky backdrop. The visual is juxtaposed by the edgy three song session. The band is loose and Clapton and Bramhall offer up a nice meaty helping of blues. Clapton doesn't have any of his Crash Strats for this session but is using what looks to be a standard Blackie-like strat with noiseless pickups. Session III June 3, 2004 in Dallas, TX at 508 Park Avenue, the very place Johnson recorded his 1937 sessions and now abandon but still in good shape. It is a reverent all acoustic affair with Clapton and Bramhall offering up some delightful Johnson interpretations in "Terraplane Blues," "Hell Hound On My Trail," and "Love In Vain." Session IV takes place in the town of my birth, Santa Monica, CA on August 14, 2004. It is a solo effort with Clapton and a framed picture of Robert Johnson perched close by on a desk top. Clapton pays homage to his mentor with a great combination of style, veneration, and fun that is just wonderful to see and hear.

Some may be bothered by the "rehearsal" look, feel, and cadence of the DVD. But that is essentially what it was. They were not making a music video, they were making a CD and captured the sessions on a digital recorder for all of us to enjoy. Clapton doesn't cover the entire Johnson songbook, but most of are here. There are a couple of bonus tracks that tick the song tally up to 17 mark on the DVD ("Love In Vain," quite possibly Johnson's best song, gets a repeat performance). There is also some behind-the-scenes footage which isn't all that interesting on the DVD. The DVD runs near two hours with the CD at about an hour. Excellent sound quality (is that the same Alan Douglas who ruined most of Hendrix's posthumously released albums? Hmmmmm...)

Bottom line: This is a great package of music for EC & RJ fans. You get a great DVD and a CD all in one for a decent price."
A tribute, from a master to a master.
Mario G. Perez Fonseca | Guitarland | 12/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is common knowledge that rural, original, raw blues, doesn't appeal to many persons, especially in a time of Britneys and Christinas. So, at risk of sounding snob, Robert Johnson was not for everybody.
Now it is.
Eric Clapton virtually makes any song he plays (From Hideaway, to Cocaine, to this cd) his own. And he has done it again with this tribute to his idol, Robert Johnson.

This DVD, presented in stereo or dolby sorround, is a true homage to the spirit of the blues, remade by Clapton and his talented muscicians incluidin Billy Preston, Chris Stainton, Doyle Bramhall, and bassist extraordinaire Nathan East.

Divided into 4 sessions recorded at different studios around the world, the atmosphere of the performance is very intimate. Just the guys standing up or sitting, rocking away. There are no mistakes or interruptions like regular rehearsals, this is more of a final rehearsal, if you will, but they include songs that were not in the cd originally.

First session and second has the full band performing tunes such as If I had Possession and Milkcow Blues. Third Session is just Clapton and Brmahall, and fourth one is just slowhand and some beatufil looking Martin guitars.

Again, video is letterbox format, menus are not animated, but instead have a short video running as background, so you see a close up or EC's guitar, or Clapton opening the hood of a pretty hot rod and then driving away.

Behind the scenes featurette is only 5 minutes long, and show crew and band getting ready for recording.

Plus, you get a Music CD also included in this package. Insert is just a one leaf booklet with credits and a picture, no booklet here. Very nice realese, recommeded indeed for modern blues fans!"
Rick Tharp | Plattsburg, MO United States | 12/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This CD/DVD combo is almost an apology from EC for the slick, over-produced "Me & Mr Johnson", it is exponentially better than that forgettable CD.

What a great concept for a "performance" DVD, no audience, just pure live music. The first half of the DVD is EC in a rehearsal type setting with five stellar musicians. The rhythm section consists of long time Clapton band mates, Nathan East and Steve Gaddy. The legendary Billy Preston plays Hammond organ. Young Doyle Bramhall II is not intimidated by this veteran lineup, he plays an outstanding second lead guitar to EC, I think he pushes Eric to a higher level. "Sweet Home Chicago" and "Hell Hound on my Trail" are two highlights from this half.

The second half of the DVD is acoustic. EC and Doyle travel to the abandoned Dallas hotel where RJ recorded his last session in 1937. Funny how it takes the two of them to get the RJ sound, it's often said that RJ sounded like he was playing two guitars at once.

The last 5 songs are EC solo, and they are my favorites. "Stones in My Passway", "Love in Vain", and "Traveling Riverside Blues" are highlights of the acoustic half.

This material has been covered thousands of times before by many other musicians, but it has never been done better. A close second is Peter Green's "Hot Foot Powder" CD."
Don't wait, get this set...
Albert G. Smith Jr. | Daytona Beach, Fl USA | 12/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I won't replicate the reviews already made before this one. I just wanted to offer that I put off getting this set when it was released based on having just months earlier getting the first Clapton tribute to Johnson on CD alone. Based on the reviews here, I did get this new set. I can say, if you have been on the fence, if you have been thinking that this is simply "milking" more out of the sessions, then put those ideas aside, and just get it.

The DVD is worth the price of the DVD / CD combo in my opinion. Clapton never looked more relaxed and human than on this DVD. It really is about Johnson, and Clapton is just the vehicle to get Johnson out there. No ego, just a tight band or solo playing that is world class. At first, I couldn't understand what 5.1 Dolby digital could do for two guys in a room with acoustic guitars, but WOW! Get this set!