By Damian Fanelli
Eric Clapton has premiered “Can’t Let You Do It,” a JJ Cale-penned track from his new album, I Still Do. The album, which reunites Clapton with producer Glyn Johns, will be released May 20.
The rollicking track, which typifies Cale’s breezy approach to songwriting, features plenty of wah-slathered guitar—and captures the spirit of Clapton’s late-Seventies, Glyn Johns-produced albums.
“It’s an interesting story. When I went to [Cale’s] funeral [in 2013], I met with Christine, his wife, and we talked about what was left, in terms of songs,” Clapton told Guitar World.
“I was very curious to know if there was a legacy. She said, ‘Oh, there’s some stuff. I’ll make you some CDs.’ She gave me two CDs a couple of days later with about 20 songs on each, so I had those locked up in a safe [laughs]. They’re so precious to me. They’re unreleased JJ demos, and some of them are really, really out there; others are the kind of thing you’d expect from JJ.
Among the album’s two new “legacy” Cale tracks are the bluesy “Somebody’s Knocking” and “Can’t Let You Do It.”
“[‘Can’t Let You Do It’] was another one of these unreleased songs from the CDs his wife gave me. His version of that song is undoable. The other one, ‘Somebody’s Knockin’,’ I think we actually improved on it. I hope Christine forgives me, but I think we kind of did it, in a way, better. But as for ‘Can’t Let You Do It,’ his version is undoable. It’s like trying to do ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag’ or any James Brown song—and thinking you can improve it. There are certain people that have it down where it cannot be; you cannot impersonate it, you cannot improve on it.”
I Still Do is available for preorder on iTunes; two songs—”Can’t Let You Do It” and Clapton’s cover of Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway”—are available for purchase right now.
For the rest of my exclusive interview with Clapton, check out the upcoming July 2016 issue of Guitar World.