Eric Clapton – Behind The Sun

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  • Clapton’s 1985 release returns to the site with Nearly Triple Plus (A+++) sound – exceptionally quiet vinyl too 
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more richness, fullness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you’ve heard, and that’s especially true if you made the mistake of buying whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market
  • “The level of musicianship is impressive. Additional percussion by Phil Collins and Ray Cooper help to make this one of Clapton’s most rhythmically adventurous projects to date… I recommend it to both casual and serious fans. You cannot go wrong with an album featuring such strong tracks as “She’s Waiting, “See What Love Can Do”, “Same Old Blues”, “Forever Man”, and “Just Like A Prisoner”.”

These Nearly White Hot Stamper pressings have top quality sound that’s often surprisingly close to our White Hots, but they sell at substantial discounts to our Shootout Winners, making them a relative bargain in the world of Hot Stampers (“relative” being relative considering the prices we charge). We feel you get what you pay for here at Better Records, and if ever you don’t agree, please feel free to return the record for a full refund, no questions asked.

This vintage Duck Records pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the best sides of Behind The Sun have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes even as late as 1985
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We’re Listening For on Behind The Sun

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks for the guitars and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
  • Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt –– Lee Herschberg in this case — would have put them.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Engineer Extraordinaire

One of the top guys at Warners, Lee engineered Behind the Sun. You’ll also find his name in the credits for many of the best releases by Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, The Doobie Brothers, Gordon Lightfoot and Frank Sinatra, albums we know to have outstanding sound (potentially anyway; you have to have an outstanding pressing to hear outstanding sound).

And of course we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the album most audiophiles know especially well, Rickie Lee Jones’ debut. Herschberg’s pop and rock engineering credits run for pages. Won the Grammy for Strangers in the Night even.

The most amazing jazz piano trio recording we know of is Herschberg’s as well: The Three (with Shelly Manne, Ray Brown and Joe Sample).

TRACK LISTING

Side One

She’s Waiting
See What Love Can Do
Same Old Blues
Knock On Wood
Something’s Happening

Side Two

Forever Man
It All Depends
Tangled IN Love
Never Make You Cry
Just Like A Prisoner
Behind The Sun

Rave Review

For the third time in a row Eric Clapton experienced issues with the recording of a new album. In 1980 RSO rejected the Glyn Johns produced “Turn Up Down” prompting Clapton to enlist the assistance of Tom Dowd in recording a new album in Nassau, in 1982 Clapton terminated his association with his regular touring band when work progressed in an unsatisfactory manner during the recording of MONEY AND CIGARETTES and in 1984 Warner Brothers rejected the original version of BEHIND THE SUN which resulted in a compromise solution involving Clapton journeying to Los Angeles to record material submitted by Texas songwriter Jerry Williams.

Expectations for the new album had been fairly high. There was evidence that Clapton’s playing had regained an edge as initially demonstrated during his 1983 tour in support of MONEY AND CIGARETTES and then further evidenced during the 1983-1984 A.R.M.S. concerts and his session work on Roger Water’s album THE PROS AND CONS OF HITCHHIKING”. Clapton was not abusing alcohol at the time and had written excellent material based upon his troubled relationship with Pattie. He was also experimenting with a Roland guitar synthesizer which was indicative, along with his choice of Phil Collins as producer, of his intention for a contemporaneous recorded sound.

Collaborators selected for the album were impressive. From time to time, Clapton would look to shake up musical stagnation by collaborating with different musicians or producers. Despite the absence of second guitarist/keyboardist Albert Lee, the collective musicians for BEHIND THE SUN had impeccable credentials. Bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn was truly an R & B legend and Clapton alumni such as Jamie Oldaker (rated as one of Clapton’s best drummers) Marcy Levy were welcomed back into the fold. Keyboardists Chris Stainton and J. Peter Robinson along with percussionist Ray Cooper (of A.R.M.S. concert fame) rounded out the group.

Sessions at Montserrat apparently progressed quite well and the completed album was pleasing to Clapton, Collins, and Clapton’s manager Roger Forrester. However, Warner Brothers was concerned about lack of commercially viable material which could be promoted as singles. Clapton demonstrated a high degree of maturity and objectivity when he subsequently challenged Warners Brothers to come up with what they deemed to be suitable material and then convinced them to produce the new sessions.

Those L.A. sessions featured “A” list players such as guitarists Lindsay Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac) and Steve Lukather (Toto) drummer Jeff Porcaro (Toto) keyboardist Greg Phillinganes (currently a member of Toto) and bassist Nathan East. Clapton liked the material offered by Jerry Lynn Williams and established a strong rapport with the Texas songwriter who would contribute songs to future Clapton projects…

The level of musicianship is impressive. Synthesizers & keyboards by Chris Stainton and J. Peter Robinson are prominent yet tasteful and the rhythm section of bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn and drummer Jamie Oldaker is first-rate. Additional percussion by Collins and Ray Cooper help to make this one of Clapton’s most rhythmically adventurous projects to date. Prominent backing vocals by Marcy Levy and Shaun Murphy complete the ensemble.

This album is notable for reasons other than fine music. It marked Clapton’s introduction to material by Jerry Lynn Williams who would go on to contribute songs to the 1986 AUGUST and 1989 JOURNEYMAN sessions, it marked Clapton’s introduction to keyboardist Greg Phillinganes and bassist Nathan East who would appear with him both on record and stage for many years, it marked Clapton’s introduction to and subsequent affair with Yvonne Kelly which would result in the birth of a daughter named Ruth, and finally it marked Clapton’s relapse into alcohol abuse which would continue until he finally sought further treatment in 1988.

BEHIND THE SUN is a much-maligned album which is deserving of a wider audience and further acclaim. I recommend it to both casual and serious fans. You cannot go wrong with an album featuring such strong tracks as “She’s Waiting, “See What Love Can Do”, “Same Old Blues”, “Forever Man”, and “Just Like A Prisoner”.

–Clive Barrett

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