Label: Bushbranch Records BUS 51266 / Analogue Recording – Mastered by Bernie Grundman & Bob Ludwig
180 Gram Virgin Vinyl
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“The point here was not to produce anything new orrevolutionary but rather to do what Eric Clapton does best, with concentrated, bracing intensity and vitality. That is what the album does. This is not the sound of a guy ready to hang it up. … Everyone’s on fire and it doesn’t take more than a few bars before you realize you’re hearing a rich, organic, transparent artifact-free sound that’s rarely heard on modern recordings.” – Music = 10/11; Sound = 11/11 – Michael Fremer, AnalogPlanet.com.
Exceptional analog sound! I Still Do, music legend Eric Clapton’s 23rd studio album, was created using processes and care for the best-sounding vinyl that could be made. The album was recorded on a 16-track machine on 2″ tape, then mixed down to 1/4″ tape, with loving care applied at every step. Acclaimed mastering engineer Bob Ludwig assembled and edited the stack of reels of master takes onto a compiled A and a B-side reel with the correct gaps between the songs. From these he made 192kHz digital eq files for digital media.
Ludwig shipped the original analog masters to Bernie, who cut lacquers from scratch.
AnalogPlanet.com’s Michael Fremer delves deeper into the mastering of I Still Do in a separate column, here.
As the vinyl revival has exploded, some artists have demonstrated a commitment to caring about the quality of their records, the sound, and the recording process. Some do, most don’t.
Fortunately, Eric Clapton and Glyn Johns do. They always have. Clapton and Johns – who has also produced albums for The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Who – most famously worked together on Clapton’s iconic Slowhand album, which is RIAA-certified 3x-platinum and topped charts globally. The 12-track record includes some original songs written by Clapton. This album follows his last release, the 2014 chart-topping Eric Clapton & Friends: The Breeze, An Appreciation of JJ Cale.
“This was a long and overdue opportunity to work with Glyn Johns again, and also, incidentally, the 40th anniversary of Slowhand,” Clapton says.
Both Clapton and Johns turned to some of the greatest sound and mastering veterans working today to craft the album. Says mastering engineer Bob Ludwig: “Glyn has never been one to foolishly chase after the ‘loudness wars’ as most engineers and A&R people do. If he mixes a song to tape and it sounds exactly as he wishes, why squash the musical transients with needless level? When I hear that Glyn is booked for a session, I know I’m going to hear an artist doing superb performances and engineering that sounds like real people in real environments. Eric’s record is just stunning.”
Bernie Grundman is just as complimentary: “The mixing that Glyn did was so good that the masters were cut direct from our custom tape electronics to the cutting system with only a few minor adjustments. It doesn’t get any cleaner than that – a really terrific, natural and realistic sound.”
Even the artwork on this release is exceptional. The carefully crafted illustration of Clapton is by Sir Peter Blake, the co-designer of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album jacket.
In the Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek and the Dominos, as well as through his prolific solo work, guitarist Eric Clapton has re-defined his own version of the blues. In October 1963, Keith Relf and Paul Samwell-Smith recruited him to become a member of The Yardbirds because Clapton was the most talked about guitar player on the R&B pub circuit.
When he became a member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in 1965, Clapton established his reputation as a guitarist and earned his second nickname: “God.” After leaving the Bluesbreakers in 1966, Eric teamed up with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker to form the worldwide-acclaimed band Cream. While a member of Cream, he cemented his reputation as rock’s premier guitarist and was elevated to superstar status. In the summer of 1970, Eric formed Derek and the Dominos with Jim Gordon, Carl Radle and Bobby Whitlock from Delaney & Bonnie’s band.
The Dominos would go on to record the seminal rock album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. His career reached new heights in 1992 with the release of Unplugged and the Grammy winning single, “Tears In Heaven.” Clapton is the only triple inductee into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (as a member of both the Yardbirds and Cream and as a solo artist). He has also won or shared in 18 Grammy Awards.