From the Cradle

From the Cradle is the twelfth solo studio album by Eric Clapton released on 13 September 1994 by Warner Bros. Records. A blues cover album and Clapton's follow-up to his successful 1992 live album, Unplugged, it is his only UK number-one album to date.
Although he had long been associated with the blues, From the Cradle was Clapton's first attempt at an all-blues album. He would subsequently record Riding with the King with B.B. King; a tribute to Robert Johnson, Me and Mr. Johnson; and a collaboration with J. J. Cale, The Road to Escondido.

Critical reception

From the Cradle has prompted a wide range of critical response. Many questioned the title itself as Clapton learned the blues formula from records later in life and certainly was not exposed to Black culture "from the cradle"; the title actually comes from the last line of a four-line poem written by Clapton in his own handwriting, printed on the second page of the CD booklet: "All along this path I tread / My heart betrays my weary head / with nothing but my love to save / from the cradle to the grave.". Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic feels that the album is almost perfect and that the only thing bad about the album is Clapton's singing, which merely imitates the original recordings and sometimes can't pull it off. Tom Sinclair of Entertainment Weekly felt that the recordings were "flawless" but were rather boring, especially when compared to the excitement of Cream's live version of "Spoonful". The Music Box's John Metzger felt that Clapton's appearance on Saturday Night Live to promote the album was more powerful than From the Cradle and that the album had nothing that hadn't been done before on it. Robert Christgau compared Eric Clapton's work on the album to Son Seals and Otis Rush, saying that Clapton played better than the former, but sang worse than the latter and felt that "Motherless Child" and "Blues Before Sunrise" were stand-out tracks on the album.
According to the liner notes, the album was recorded live in the studio with no overdubs or edits, the only overdubs being featured on "Hoochie Coochie Man" and "Motherless Child".CD booklet, page 3.
The album won Clapton the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album and he received a further nomination for Album of the Year.
In July 2014, Guitar World placed From the Cradle on their list "Superunknown: 50 Iconic Albums That Defined 1994".

Track listing

  1. "Blues Before Sunrise" – 2:58 ; this version is inspired also by Elmore James's rendition of the song
  2. "Third Degree" – 5:07
  3. "Reconsider Baby" – 3:20
  4. "Hoochie Coochie Man" – 3:16 ; originally performed by Muddy Waters
  5. "Five Long Years" – 4:47
  6. "I'm Tore Down" – 3:02 ; originally performed by Freddie King
  7. "How Long Blues" – 3:09
  8. "Goin' Away Baby" – 4:00
  9. "Blues Leave Me Alone" – 3:36
  10. "Sinner's Prayer" – 3:20
  11. "Motherless Child" – 2:57
  12. "It Hurts Me Too" – 3:17
  13. "Someday After a While" – 4:27
  14. "Standin' Round Crying" – 3:39
  15. "Driftin'" – 3:10
  16. "Groaning the Blues" – 6:05 ; originally performed by Otis Rush


Weekly charts

Year-end charts

Chart Position
US Billboard 20065