Column: You may LOL but OAP EC’s Xmas LP is ‘A’ OK for JT

James Trimble.
James Trimble.

I know I’m getting old.

I just have to look at my frazzled fizzog in any mirror or try to bend over to tie my shoelace to know that.

One of the other signs of my advancing years is my ultimate guitar hero Eric Clapton has just released a Christmas album ... and I actually like it.

You could have knocked me over with Eric’s Ernie Ball light gauge strings when I discovered his new album Happy Xmas – which came out last week with little fanfare or pre-publicity – would be a collection of festive tunes.

Is this the same man who walked out of 1960s band The Yardbirds because he felt their new single – the fantastic For Your Love – was too poppy?

What would angry young blues rock shredder Eric Clapton – who recorded those five incendiary improvised solos in the 1968 live recording of Crossroads – think of the 73-year-old elder blues statesman singing and playing White Christmas, Away in a Manger, Silent Night and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas?

Unless Slowhand actually reads this and gets in touch with The Falkirk Herald to tell us, we’ll never know the answer.

But I like it.

As weird as it may seem, Clapton’s guitar playing has never sounded as bluesy as it does on these Christmas crackers and peaks when he fires into Chuck Berry’s Yuletide classic Merry Christmas Baby.

While most folk seem to like the John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers Clapton or the Cream Clapton – I always dug the 1980s Clapton who could turn mundane synthesiser songs into high art just by playing a 20 second guitar solo.

He does it by being himself no matter what he plays – a lesson everyone, not just guitarists, can learn from.