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Music Review: Eric Clapton – August

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Phil Collins and Eric Clapton joined together for a second collaborative effort with the November 1986 release August. They shared producing chores as Collins pop sensibilities combined with Clapton’s blues/rock foundation to provide a solid and satisfying listening experience.

The drumming and synthesizers may have been very eighties but they allowed room for Clapton’s guitar excursions. It may have been slicker and more polished than many of his past album releases, but it retained his signature sound.

Clapton assembled his usual collection of stellar backing musicians. Greg Phillinganes was back on board as the keyboardist and would become an important part of his touring band for the next several years. Saxophone player Michael Brecker, trumpet player Randy Brecker, and a couple of friends brought their brass sound to five of the tracks and were a welcome addition.

August would only reach number 37 on the American charts, but would continue to sell well for years and ultimately become one of his most commercial successes.

The songs roll smoothly into one another. “It’s The Way That You Use It,” co-written with Robbie Robertson, features a gritty vocal and excellent guitar solo. “Tearing Us Apart” contains a fine vocal by the legendary Tina Turner. “Taking A Chance” finds Clapton’s guitar floating over Phillinganes keyboards. All three tracks were hits on the American Mainstream Rock Charts and received considerable airplay.

“Run” and “Hung Up On Your Love” were both written by Motown soul artist and composer deluxe Lamont Dozier and receive a horn laden treatment in support of his classic guitar playing.

August may be a product of the eighties, but it is good eighties. It remains a good effort by one of rock music’s guitar gods.

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