By Damian Fanelli
Eric Clapton has announced a new studio album, I Still Do.
The disc, which is slated for a May 20 release via Bushbranch/Surfdog Records, features a cover of Delta blues legend Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway,” one of the few Johnson tunes Clapton has never officially covered in his five-decade-long career.
I Still Do also features Clapton’s take on Leroy Carr’s “Alabama Woman Blues” and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine.” You can see a complete track listing below.
The new album reunites the former Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominos guitarist with veteran producer Glyn Johns, who hasn’t worked on a Clapton album since Slowhand (1977) and Backless (1978).
“This was a long and overdue opportunity to work with Glyn Johns again, and also, incidentally, the 40th anniversary of Slowhand,” Clapton said in a statement released this week (In terms of the Slowhand anniversary, he’s actually off by a year, but we’ll let him slide).
It’s worth noting that the new album has at least two Beatles connections. The cover art is a recent portrait of Clapton by Peter Blake, the artist responsible for the Beatles’ iconic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.
Also, one of the album’s 12 songs, “I Will Be There,” features vocals and acoustic guitar by someone named “Angelo Mysterioso.” As any little schoolboy knows, that’s the pseudonym George Harrison used on Cream’s 1969 album, Goodbye. Harrison, who was still a Beatle at the time, co-wrote and played guitar on “Badge.” Of course, to be more accurate, the spelling Harrison used in 1969 was “L’Angelo Misterioso.”
Because Harrison died in November 2001, this “mysterious” credit has Clapton fans wondering if “I Will Be There” is a leftover recording—featuring Harrison—that was finished up for the new album. The last Clapton studio album to feature Harrison on guitar or vocals is 1989’s Journeyman, although Clapton covered Harrison’s “Love Comes to Everyone” on 2005’s Back Home. Coincidentally, Clapton’s last album of mostly original material, 2013’s Old Sock, features bass and vocals by Harrison’s former bandmate, Paul McCartney.
I Still Do has one more unusual Beatles connection: Henry Spinetti, the drummer on the album, is the younger brother of actor Victor Spinetti, who starred in three Beatles movies—A Hard Day’s Night, Help! and Magical Mystery Tour. Harrison once told Victor Spinetti, “You’ve got to be in all our films … if you’re not in them, my mum won’t come and see them—because she fancies you.” Victor died in 2012.
I Still Do is the followup to 2014’s Eric Clapton & Friends: The Breeze, An Appreciation of J.J. Cale.
You’ll find the track list, credits and complete album art below. Stay tuned for updates about I Still Do (and about Angelo Mysterioso, for that matter) in the weeks ahead.
I Still Do Track List and Credits:
01. “Alabama Woman Blues”
02. “Can’t Let You Do It”
03. “I Will Be There”
05. “Catch the Blues”
06. “Cypress Grove”
07. “Little Man, You’ve Had a Busy Day”
08. “Stones in My Passway”
09. “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine”
10. “I’ll Be Alright”
11. “Somebody’s Knockin'”
12. “I’ll Be Seeing You”
Eric Clapton: Guitars, tambourine and vocals
Henry Spinetti: Drums and percussion
Dave Bronze: Double bass and electric bass
Andy Fairweather Low: Electric and acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Paul Carrack: Hammond organ and backing vocals
Chris Stainton: Keyboards
Simon Climie: Keyboards, electric and acoustic guitar
Dirk Powell: Accordion, mandolin and backing vocals
Walt Richmond: Keyboards
Ethan Johns: Percussion
Michelle John: Background vocals
Sharon White: Background vocals
Angelo Mysterioso: Acoustic guitar and vocals (“I Will Be There”)