Crossroads Guitar Festival (Rhino)
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Dec. 13, 2013
Eric ClaptonCrossroads Guitar Festival (Rhino)
Almost five hours from Madison Square Garden in April erases any need to have been there. The first disc begins as leisurely as "Lay Down Sally" by the host, but the murderers' row of Clapton, Austin's Jimmie Vaughan, Robert Cray, and B.B. King on "Everyday I Have the Blues" flips the switch. Doyle Bramhall II's "Cry" burns soul with Alice Smith before Gary Clark Jr. bellies up for Muddy Waters' "She's Alright" and then nearly steals the whole enchilada on the second DVD with a purple haze ("When My Train Pulls In") and searing falsetto ("Please Come Home"). That neither the latter nor "Cry" made the companion CDs is criminal. The Allmans strip down for Neil Young's "The Needle and the Damage Done," Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo' duel with National Steel guitars, Keith Richards' gives Clapton "the clap," and Slowhand's "Layla" doff "Got to Get Better in a Little While" mark Crossroads No. 4 as devilishly compelling.