From page 82 of Classic Rock Magazine Christmas 2004
‘461 Ocean Boulevard: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition’
(Universal) Given that May 1974’s ‘461 Ocean Boulevard’ was Clapton’s first studio record after treatment for his heroin addiction, you’d have thought he might have questioned making it in Miami, a fix-friendly city if ever there was one. But when the guitarist emerged with a blues-, country- and reggae-infused album that reached No.1 in the US, both his karma and bank balance benefited immensely.
Produced by the late Tom Dowd (Lynyrd Skynyrd, The James Gang), ‘461...’ was one for fans of Clapton the songwriter and song interpreter, rather the Clapton the guitar hero. The Dobro-resonant country ballads ‘Please Be With Me’ and ‘Let It Grow’ are special indeed, while his take on Bob Marley’s ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ (he tries hard to sound like Marley in the song’s verse) is often credited with introducing reggae to your average American Joe.
This much-expanded edition includes out-takes from the original sessions, but its chief selling point is Disc 2’s wealth of louder, previously unreleased live tracks.
Taken from shows at Hammersmith Odeon that December, they include Derek & The Dominoes’ ‘Layla’ and the old Cream anthem ‘Badge.’ ★★★ ★★