No Reason To Cry

No Reason To Cry

Produced by Rob Fraboni in association with Eric Clapton and Carl Dean Radle


Beautiful Thing 4:23
Carnival 3:40
Sign Language 2:56
County Jail Blues 3:57
All Our Past Times 4:37
Hello Old Friend 3:34
Double Trouble 4:19
Innocent Times 4:10
Hungry 4:37
Black Summer Rain 4:55
Last Night 4:51

Reviews

Clive Bennett

Rating : 6/10

15 September 2005


During his American tour of 1975, Clapton told one reporter that he had no idea of what his next album would sound like. By the time that he entered Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, California, in early 1976, he still didn't seem to have a clue. There appeared to be little evidence that a proposed Clapton - Ron Wood song writing alliance produced anything of substance although one of their songs, "Buried Alive" did surface later on one of Wood's solo albums. With only a small handful of originals and several blues covers, it meant that Clapton would be relying upon others for material. Further complicating matters was the fact that due to contractual red tape involving record companies, Clapton was denied the services of his erstwhile producer Tom Dowd.

The studio, owned by The Band, was a converted bordello where Clapton and his regular touring group (Yvonne Elliman, George Terry, Carl Radle, Jamie Oldaker, Marcy Levy, and Dick Sims) gathered to record among friends. Those friends included various members of The Band, Bob Dylan, Ron Wood, Van Morrison, Billy Preston, Jesse Ed Davis, and Georgia Fame. Rick Danko and Richard Manuel of The Band contributed material as did Bob Dylan and members of Clapton's band (most notably Marcy Levy).

The sessions were loosely produced by Clapton and his bass guitarist Carl Radle with Rob Fraboni (one of The Band's engineers) earning production credit as he ensured that the proceedings were organized and structured enough to produce a viable product.

Musical press comments concerning the sessions were somewhat contradictory and gave the impression of controlled chaos. Supposedly, Clapton laid down some impressive guitar on a track called "The Path" but that song did not appear on the album upon its release. There were also reports of numerous outtakes. One of the unused Clapton compositions, "This Be Called A Song", was given to Ringo Starr for inclusion on his 1976 ROTOGRAUVE album. Allegedly, Bob Dylan offered Clapton a song called "Seven Days" which did not appear on the album but, similarly to "Buried Alive", surfaced on Ron Wood's next album. Indeed it appeared that the biggest beneficiary of the sessions may have been the newest member of the Rolling Stones.

For many years following these sessions, Clapton spoke fondly about this album but it appear as though his fondness may have been more for the sessions than the actual finished product. Once again, Clapton thrived in the communal feeling of camaraderie that typified these sessions and willing let others step into the spotlight. There were vocal duets with Dylan, Rick Danko, and Marcy Levy who also was given lead vocals on a song. Guest guitarists featured on the album included Robbie Robertson of The Band, Ron Wood, and Jesse Ed Davis. There were also rumors circulating after the sessions that Clapton would jointly tour with Dylan.

The album packaging was the best that RSO had ever provided to Clapton from the striking front cover photograph of him seated at a bar to the broken guitar pick to the numerous interior photographs of the session participants. The graphic design and typography were also first rate.

Although NO REASON TO CRY was viewed at the time as a welcome return to commercial form following the poor sales of THERE'S ONE IN EVERY CROWD, the album is probably not essential to the casual fan.

"Beautiful Thing" written by Richard Manuel and Rick Danko is a meandering composition with Clapton and Wood exchanging languid guitar licks. Clapton's voice sounds nasal and thin but the backing vocals by Marcy Levy and Yvonne Elliman are surprisingly strong.

"Carnival (Come With Me)" is a propulsive Clapton composition that is musically strong and lyrically weak. As is the case on the opening track, Clapton's voice sounds nasal and weak. However, this track is worth a listen for Jamie Oldaker's extraordinary drumming if nothing else.

"Sign Language" is a duet between Dylan and Dylan. It is not one of Dylan's major efforts and it is unfortunate that they did not record "Seven Days" instead. Still, this track is worth listening to for Clapton's understated dobro playing and Robbie Robertson's stuttering guitar solo.

"County Jail Blues" written by Alfred Fields is a pounding, throbbing blues track with excellent lower register Clapton vocals and numerous overdubbed guitar parts.

"All Our Past Times" written by Clapton and Rick Danko is a looping country rock track with a catchy chorus and guitar exchanges between Clapton and Wood similar to the opening cut.

"Hello Old Friend" written by Clapton is an infectious track with nice vocals, a strong chorus and very fine guitar work by Jesse Ed Davis.

"Double Trouble" written by Otis Rush finds Clapton in his element with biting guitar phrases and convincing vocals.

"Innocent Times" is a country rock track written by Marcy Levy and Clapton. The best thing about it is nice dobro solo by Clapton. Levy's vocals are an acquired taste. She sounds fine on this song and yet grating on the next one.

"Hungry" written by Marcy Levy and Dick Sims is a rollicking number that strongly recalls "Keep On Growing" by Derek and the Dominos. Clapton and Levy share lead vocals and the band sounds solid. The track is redeemed by Clapton's stinging guitar.

"Black Summer Rain" written by Clapton is a beautiful ballad with exquisite guitar flourishes. One of the underrated gems in the EC songbook.

"Last Night" written by Walter Jacobs sounds like a late night alcohol fuelled session with anguished vocals. Interesting but nothing exceptional.

While it is an entertaining album and an improvement over THERE'S ONE IN EVERY CROWD, NO REASON TO CRY is not an essential Clapton album.

 

Carlos Benedict

Rating : 6/10

18 November 2003


While NO REASON TO CRY may be one of the best packaged Clapton albums, the music with a few exceptions) is less than memorable.  Clapton and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood were supposedly working together to come up with material for this album but they ended up with very little of substance apart from one composition titled "You're Too Good To Die, You Should Be Buried Alive" which Wood ended up including on his next album albeit in the abbreviated title of "Buried Alive."  Clapton, by his own admission, had very little by way of new material when the time came to record his latest album and even worse he was denied the services of producer Tom Dowd due to record label politics.  Booking time at the Band's Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, Clapton hoped that Robbie Robertson would step in and produce the album but such was not the case and the studio atmosphere was unconstrained to say the least.  Thankfully Rob Fraboni stepped in and ended up being credited as the album producer "in association with Eric Clapton and Carl Dean Radle".  This project featured more musical guests that any Clapton release since his debut solo album in 1970.  Among the guests at Shangri-La were Bob Dylan, various members of the Band, Ronnie Wood, Jesse Ed Davis, Van Morrison, Billy Preston, Georgie Fame and Chris Jagger.  Such an array of musical talents coupled with the amount of material supplied by Dylan and members of the Band ensures that this ranks as one of Clapton's most distinctive yet anonymous albums.  Obvious musical peaks included Otis Rush's "Double Trouble" and Clapton's stately ballad "Black Summer Rain".  Other highlights included the charmingly informal duet with Dylan on "Sign Language" which featured an excellent stuttering guitar solo by Robbie Robertson, Clapton's pop hit "Hello Old Friend" featuring memorable slide guitar by Jesse Ed Davis, Clapton's unusually low register vocals on "County Jail Blues", the loping country rock of the duet with Rick Danko on "All Our Past Times" and EC's soloing at the end of the Derek and the Dominos influenced "Hungry".  It would have been interesting to hear EC's version of Dylan's "Seven Days" since it was originally offered to the guitarist at these sessions before being covered by such artists as Joe Cocker and Ronnie Wood.  Clapton's willingness to venture into country-rock territory and Marcy Levy's growing influence would be more evident in subsequent releases.

This album would turn out to be his last recorded in an American studio for nearly a decade.

 

Nick

Rating : 6/10

13 August 2003


Usually I give all my EC CD's a true 10. However this album just about deserves a 6. I partly agree with the critics on this "no reason to buy" as this album has only 5 good songs. The rest are either Marcy Leves or sang by some other person. When I first listened to "Last Night" I originally thought this was Ozzy Osbourne singing this, why not EC? he has a great voice. Two very good songs are "Black Summer Rain" and "Hello Old Friend" if you buy this album, just buy it for those two songs as I must say it is worth it despite my earlier criticism. There are other good songs on here. A rather good album, but definitely brings out the poor efforts from EC. Buy this album only if you are a TOTAL faithful fan of EC and you like to know how he played in 1976.

 

Michael Wheeler

Rating : 7/10

16 June 2003


This Album depicts EC at a time in his career where he was moving in a country western direction.
There are four songs on this CD that interest me.
The first is "Sign Language" which he sings with Bob Dylan. Dylan in fact wrote the tune. It remains an interesting duet. County Jail Blues is of interest because of the slide that he plays on his dobro. It has a Mississippi delta blues style that goes right back to Robert Johnson. If you like slide guitar this song is worth checking out. The next " All our past times is a song which he does with members of the band. It is definitely a country-western song. Last but certainly not least is " Double Trouble"
Double Trouble even to this day is one of the classic blues songs of his career.
When you see the broken pick on the cover it's a clue. This CD other than " Double Trouble" lacks the patented Eric Clapton guitar solos.

This is a good album but certainly not a career album.

 

Martin Andersen

Rating : 10/10

25 June 2002


This 1976 latin-influenced album, is Eric's best album of the seventies, I think. All musicians are at their absolute best, playing with "guts n´ balls" - Oldaker´s solid, massive peak performance and Simms´ gut-ripping keyboards on "Carnival" - Eric's slide, the choir vocals and general atmosphere on the latin-influenced "Hello Old Friend" brings tears to an old rocker's eyes, and "Hungry"...a solid, heavily played blues-rocker, with a chorus made for goose-bumps. A real beauty. Eric's vocals on this album is his absolute best - torn, broken, longing, boozed up sandpaper vocals garnished with heart and honesty. All in all, "No Reason To Cry" is a star-studded, beautifully solid performed latin-blues-rockin' work of art, with an absolutely magical atmosphere. You can almost taste the bourbon on this one...

 

Andrei

Rating : 10/10

11 April 2002


Innocent times is a beautiful song. Marcy Levy has a unique voice. Cannot imagine some Clapton's songs without her vocals. This album is one of the bests of Clapton. Mainly because of Marcy. The critics hated this one? They are all losers.

 

Richard Collins

Rating : 8/10

2 February 2002


The critics hated this one. But apart from a few "throw aways" - Beautiful Thing, Carnival and Innocent Times a great album. The band are a great tribute to the album with Rick Dankos vocals on All Our Pastimes, and Robbies solo on Clapton's duet with Dylan are absolute gems. The blues formats especially Double Trouble are typical Clapton (I love the version on Just One Night). So why the critics hated this I don't know (even calling it No Reason To Buy) and I personally don't care.


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