One More Car, One More Rider

The inconsistent double live album One More Car, One More Rider strives to represent the harder and softer sides of Eric Clapton. Sometimes, on warhorses such as "Hootchie Coochie Man" and "Have You Ever Loved a Woman," he transports listeners to the Delta or Chicago's South Side, where a titan of the blues is throwing down bitter wisdom. But then there are those times when old Slowhand goes to his mushy place, singing nondescript odes such as "My Father's Eyes" as though he's chasing Sting for some sensitive-man prize. Clapton still possesses one of the most arresting guitar sounds on the planet, a laserlike beam of pure tone. But he rarely uses it to roar, and when he does — on a rearranged "Badge," complete with dramatic pauses, or on the coda of the rocking "Layla" that contains some of the most adventuresome improvisation he's recorded in years — it only becomes painfully clear just how often this car is riding on cruise control.

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