Facts and Fun – Thoughts, Facts, Nonsense, Quotes, Short Stories, things that doesn’t fit elsewhere…
When and how did Eric Clapton earn his nickname “Slowhand”?
Answer to this often asked question:
According to Yardbirds rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja, whenever Clapton broke a guitar string during a concert, Clapton would stay on stage and replace it. The English audiences would wait out the delay by doing what is called a “slow handclap”. The Yardbirds’ manager, Giorgio Gomelsky, turned the phrase “slow handclap” into a nickname for the album notes of Five Live Yardbirds. The record was released in December 1964. Clapton recalled, “He (Gomelsky) coined it as a good pun – he kept saying I was a fast player, so he put together the slow handclap phrase into ‘Slowhand’ as a play on words.” In a June 1999 on-line chat, Clapton gave a slightly different version of how his nickname came about: “I think it might have been a play on words from the “Clap” part of my name. In England, in sport, if the crowd is getting anxious, we have a slow handclap, which indicates boredom or frustration. But it wasn’t my idea, it was someone else’s comment.”
During the pause while I was changing my [broken] string the frenzied audience would often break into a slow handclap, inspiring Giorgio [Gomelsky] to dream up the nickname of “Slowhand” Clapton.
– Eric Clapton, in Clapton: The Autobiography
Eric Patrick Clapp?
Sometimes this name shows up and claims to be the real name. But it’s wrong: Although he grew up with his grandparents, Rose and Jack Clapp, he was never adopted by them. His mother was Patricia Molly Clapton, Rose’s daughter with her first husband, Reginald Cecil Clapton.
The truth I eventually discovered was that Mum and Dad, Rose and Jack Clapp, were in fact my grandparents, Adrian was my uncle, and Rose’s daughter, Patricia, from an earlier marriage, was my real mother and had given me the name Clapton. In the mid–1920s, Rose Mitchell, as she was then, had met and fallen in love with Reginald Cecil Clapton, known as Rex, the dashing and handsome, Oxford–educated son of an Indian army officer. They had married in February 1927, much against the wishes of his parents, who considered that Rex was marrying beneath him. The wedding took place a few weeks after Rose had given birth to their first child, my uncle Adrian. They set up home in Woking, but sadly, it was a short–lived marriage, as Rex died of consumption in 1932, three years after the birth of their second child, Patricia.
– Eric Clapton, in Clapton: The Autobiography
The “Woman Tone”
That’s the tone EC developed during Cream on his Gibson (humbucker) guitars (Les Paul, SG, ES-335). Example: the solo on I Feel Free or Sunshine Of your Love. To get it use only the neck pickup and turn the tone control to zero while turning the volume and the (tube) amp fully open.
“When we were recording the Blues Breakers’ album, this (all your love) was one Eric wanted to play, seeing as it was a guitar-dominated song by Otis rush. Just to play with Eric and the fact that we were allowed in the studio, finally, to make an album was tremendously exciting. Eric happened to pick “The Beano” (comic) up off a news-stand that morning. Nobody was into messing about on location, posing for photographs. We were a bit rebellious so he kept reading it, showing great disinterest in the whole proceeding! There was that snobbery about pop – with the exception of the Beatles, who opened the door for us, really.”
– John Mayall talking to John Reed, August 1997
EC and Freddie King – Poker
“Duchess Henderson still has her poker hand from one of Freddie’s poker games with me, Bugs Henderson, Eric Clapton, Freddie and a couple of other guys. I think Freddie won a couple of thousand dollars off Eric that night. Clapton didn’t even know to play poker. He was just having a good time playing with Freddie. He’d stay in on any hand. Freddie kind of cleaned him out. Freddie came up to me afterwards and said, “Those tea bags can’t play cards worth a damn!” Eric didn’t mind, he had a good time anyway.”
– Jack Calmes, Freddie King’s manager, on the CD cover of FK’s “live at the electric ballroom, 1974”
I received an Email form Bugs about this:
“Just saw that story, absolutely true. Duchess won the hand from Eric and had it framed. He signed the back of it E.C. and “next time I’ll have five aces”. She never showed anyone the hand and had it framed with some cards down so no one would ever know (including me) what hand she ran him out with. It’s still hanging on my wall at home, she passed several years ago but was awfully proud of that game. The game was a favorite of Freddies, “Duecey Lucy”. Seven card stud-dueces, jokers, threes, and lowhole wild!! No limit on the bet but you buy a down card for a quarter! Bugs
– Bugs Henderson, email to 12bar.de
Not my personal opinion, but a good joke anyway:
What do a cup of coffee and Eric Clapton have in common?
They both suck without Cream…
For German’s only
From the automated German translation (around 2001) of the AMG Music Guide (NO joke!):
From the Cradle review.
Für Jahre craved Ventilatoren AllBLAU, das Album von Clapton; ihm bis 1994 wartete, um zu liefern From the Cradle . Das Album handhat, das ambience des elektrischen Nachkriegsblaus, Recht unten neu zu erstellen zum bodenlosen Thump des Rhythmusabschnitts. Wenn es nicht für bearbeitete Clapton’s vocals war, würde alles vollkommen sein. So lang, wie er seine Guitarre spielt, kann er nicht ausfallen — seine Soli sind weiß-heiß und evocative captivating, ursprünglich und. Wenn er singt, Clapton verliert diese Richtung von Originalität und beschließt, die vocals der ursprünglichen Aufnahmen nachzuahmen. Manchmal ist sein overemotive Singen schmerzlich; er hat nicht die Stärke zum Hinabziehen Howlin’ Wolf’s knurrt oder das Vertrauen, um das sichere Muddy Waters’ Ausdrücken zu wiederholen. Jedoch wann immer er spielt, ist es einfacher, seine vocal Fehler zu vergessen. Sogar mit seinen Störungen, From the Cradle ist einer von Clapton’s feinsten Momenten. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine.
(4305) Clapton = 1976 EC
Discovered 1976 Mar. 7 at the Harvard College Observatory’s Agassiz Station.
Named in honor of Eric Clapton (1945- ), singer, composer and guitarist extraordinaire. He is the most remarkable Bluesman ever to come out of England and his rock career has spanned more than 25 years. In the mid-60s, graffito on a brick wall in London proclaimed: ‘Eric is God’. He remains a musical megastar today, and is probably best known for the rock classic ‘Layla’ and the ballad ‘Wonderful Tonight’.
About (4305) Clapton
(4305) Clapton is in a 4.97-year elliptical orbit around the sun ranging in distance from 407.2 million km (at perihelion, closest point to the sun) to 464.6 million km (at aphelion, furthest point from the sun). The previous perihelion passage occurred on 2001 Jan. 19.8 UT. The orbit is inclined by 1.8 degrees to the ecliptic plane (the plane of the earth’s orbit about the sun). There is little information on the physical properties of (4305) Clapton. Even its diameter is uncertain–a range of 8 to 18 km is probable. You will need a telescope to see this minor planet as its maximum brightness is some 1/9592 of the brightness of the faintest objects that can be seen with the unaided eye. The diagram below show the orbit of (4305) Clapton in relation to the major planets in the inner solar system.
Maybe you’ve heard of a song called “Classical Gas by Eric Clapton”. You’ll find it at YouTube or in tab archives, forums and elsewhere on the net. However, this song is not played by Clapton (although I think he could play it having played several classic style songs):
Did Eric Clapton Ever record Classical Gas?
There is a common misconception that Eric Clapton arranged and performed this song, but Clapton has actually never recorded Classical Gas. The misconception may come from the fact that Eric Clapton was the musical director and played much of the guitar music in the movie “The Story of Us,” however, the version of Classical Gas on the soundtrack is from Mason Williams’ 1971 album “Handmade.” Visit the Recordings & Covers page for a complete list of artists who have covered Classical Gas.
– from the Classical Gas website [Mason]
However, it would be interesting to hear EC playing this song!
John Lee Hooker
When god said “let there be Blues” Hooker was born
Eddie Van Halen (R.I.P)
“I think Clapton is brilliant. He’s the only one who moved me. The only one who made me want to play the guitar.”
“The only guitar player that could give me lessons is Clapton.”
“And then came Eric Clapton, who is at the top of my list. What attracted me to his playing and style and vibe was the basic simplicity in his approach and his tone, his sound.”
“But the main guitarist I’d say that influenced me to play the most was Clapton.”
“The center of Eric Clapton’s music, to me, is obviously the blues. But he has another plus-he’s very lyrical. All of a sudden, his guitar is a voice in itself-or a trumpet or an orchestra. He revolutionized a lot of things; from what I understand, even Jimi wanted to meet Eric when he first went to England. He’d crank it up, but he made it sound like music; a lot of other guys cranked it up and it sounded like noise. He sounded celestial. I believe Cream opened the doors for a lot of bands, like Tony Williams Lifetime, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and a lot of other people.”
Can a white man sing the Blues?
Short answer: yes, sure.
The question itself is stupid. You could also ask “Can a brown eyed woman play the Blues?”. Human skin color is simply determined by the amount and type of melanin in the skin. This is coded by four to six genes, like the color of your eyes, and is simply a product of the evolution. This has absolutely nothing to do with other qualities, neither intelligence nor strength nor – musicality. You may ask “can a rich man sing the Blues?” if you think you need bad experiences or treatment in order to feel “blue”. But then again, even rich people may have the Blues if they’ve lost someone or get a bad disease.
So if you really want to find an answer to the question “can […] sing the Blues?” you should make a test. Back in 1950, stone age of computer science, Alan Turing developed a test for artificial intelligence, the question was: can a computer show intelligence? The test was quite simple: a human judge holds a conversation in natural language with one human and one computer, both try to appear human; if the judge cannot reliably tell which is which, then the computer is said to pass the test.
Now apply this to a Blues player: Listen to several Blues artists, Black and White, but unknown to you (someone else must assist). You’ll not be able to to distinguish between both.
Quotes from my favorite movie…
Elwood: It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it the new Blues mobile or what?
– A brief thinking pause while Jake Blues lights a cigarette –
Jake: Fix the cigarette lighter.
Mrs. Tarantino: Are you the police?
Elwood: No, ma’am. We’re musicians.
Murph: Tell me a little about this electric piano, Ray.
Ray: Ah, you have a good eye, my man. That’s the best in the city Chicago.
Jake: How much?
Ray: 2000 bucks and it’s yours. You can take it home with you. As a matter of fact, I’ll throw in the black keys for free.
Elwood: What kind of music do you usually have here?
Claire: Oh, we got both kinds. We got country *and* western.
Elwood: It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.
Jake: Hit it.
I love this movie so much that I visited Chicago in 2018 and made a video about:
How To Sing The Blues
This was posted to several mailing lists and appears on several web sites:
by Lame Mango Washington
(attributed to Memphis Earlene Gray with help from Uncle Plunky)
- Most Blues begin, “Woke up this morning.”
- “I got a good woman,” is a bad way to begin the Blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line:
“I got a good woman with the meanest dog in town.”
- The Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes … sort of:
“Got a good woman with the meanest dog in town.
He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and he weigh 500 pounds.”
- The Blues are not about limitless choice.
- Blues cars are Chevys and Cadillacs. Other acceptable Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Walkin’ plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does fixin’ to die.
- Teenagers can’t sing the Blues. Adults sing the Blues. Blues adulthood means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.
- You can have the Blues in New York City, but not in Hamilton Ont. or Vancouver B.C. Hard times in Saskatchewan or Nova Scotia is just depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues.
- The following colors do not belong in the Blues:
- You can’t have the Blues in an office or a shopping mall; the lighting is wrong.
- Good places for the Blues:
a. the highway
b. the jailhouse
c. an empty bed
b. gallery openings
c. weekend in Muskoka
- No one will believe it’s the Blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man.
- Do you have the right to sing the Blues?
a. your first name is a southern state — like Georgia
b. you’re blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis
d. you can’t be satisfied
a. you were once blind but now can see
b. you’re deaf
c. you have a trust fund
- Neither Celine Dion nor Anne Murray can sing the Blues.
- If you ask for water and Baby gives you gasoline, it’s the Blues.
Other Blues beverages are:
b. Irish whiskey
c. muddy water
The following are NOT Blues beverages:
a. any mixed drink
b. any wine kosher for Passover
c. Snapple (all flavors)
- If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it’s a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, or being denied treatment in an emergency room. It is not a Blues death if you die during a liposuction treatment.
- Some Blues names for women:
b. Big Mama
- Some Blues names for men:
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie
- Persons with names like Sierra, Sequoia, and Rainbow will not be permitted to sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
- Other Blues names (starter kit):
a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Asthmatic)
b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi, etc.)
c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
- Text on a Blues artist gravestone: didn’t woke up this mornin’
Short dictionary of Blues (not too serious – corrections welcome)
|Barrelhouse||Pub/saloon mostly with live (barrelhouse) music. Originated around 1900, a bar that served (often illegal) liquor straight from the barrel. Also the name for the music style.|
|Barn door guitar||Primitive kind of a guitar. Some nails hammered into a wooden wall, connected with wire. No frets. No tuning pegs. Albert King learned playing this way. He played left-handed upside down, on his first guitar he removed the frets.|
|Black Cat Bone||Voodoo amulet for good luck (opposite of a black cat crossing your way)|
|Burnett, Chester||Same as Howlin’ Wolf|
|Cat house||See sporting house|
|Chicken shack||Pub/saloon mostly visited by Afro-Americans. Often live music, (illegal) alcoholic beverages. Other words are juke joint, juke or jook.|
|Crescent City||Same as New Orleans|
|Crossroads||Not only two streets crossing, but also a point where you have to decide something important which might affect your destiny.|
|Dust My Broom||Move on, get away quick, change the address|
|Four day creep, or fore (from: before) day creep||To betray one’s wife or lover with another lover|
|Gris-Gris||African amulet. You can’t live without, says the hoodoo man.|
|Hoochy Coochy Man||Voodoo preacher|
|John-The-Conqueror-Root||Voodoo amulet to keep your partner faithful|
|Juke joint||See chicken shack|
|King, Albert||a) Albert Nelson|
b) the father of B.B. King
|King, Riley B.||Same as B.B. (Blues Boy) King|
|Mojo||Staple amulet of African-American hoodoo practice, a bag containing magical items like the paw of a rabbit or a Voodoo amulet for good luck. Doesn’t work always (Keep My Mojo Working…)|
|Nelson, Albert||Same as Albert King|
|Sporting house||House for very special sporting (brothel)|
|Voodoo||(Hoodoo, afr.: Wodun, Voudon,Vodan, Vodu). Very old west african religion. Imported with the first slaves from Africa to Haiti around 1500, later New Orleans. Religion of the slaves in the U.S. southern states. Appears in many Blues lyrics.|