After mid­night, it’s gonna be peach­es and cream… mm­m­m­m. This, orig­i­nal­ly by J.J. Cale, is one of the Twen­ti­eth Century’s sweet­est lit­tle electric-music out­ings, gen­tle, sexy, and fast. Now, J.J. made a whole lot of mon­ey on this song when Eric Clap­ton de­cid­ed to put it on a cou­ple of al­bums and play it at a whole lot of con­cert­s, and both ver­sions are worth hear­ing.

I saw J.J. play once  —   stage-managed the show, in fact had to con­vince him to play an en­core. I’ve seen Clap­ton sev­er­al times and while he might not the great­est gui­tarist to have ev­er lived, he nev­er plays a song the same way twice. So if you go to see him, you’ll hear mu­sic that didn’t ex­ist be­fore that night and will nev­er ex­ist again. Pret­ty good bar­gain, I’d say.

There was a thing he did in his early-Nineties shows that I haven’t no­ticed re­cent­ly when he’s on TV, which is on a slow blues, he’d go way up the neck and play these slow more or less com­plete­ly aton­al se­quences that you kept notic­ing were some­how per­fect­ly pitched against the un­der­ly­ing blues chord changes. I’ll nev­er for­get it and I don’t know if any­one ev­er record­ed it.

Just One Night

My fa­vorite ver­sion of this song is on Clapton’s Just One Night record­ed live in Ja­pan in late 1979. It’s a great al­bum end to end, with mas­ter­ful ver­sions of Dylan’s If I Don’t Be There By Morn­ing, the Clap­ton/Danko All Our Past Times, and of course J.J.’s own Co­caine. But After Mid­night, wow, they take it dou­ble ex­tra fast, and the big clos­ing so­lo is a pedal-to-the-medal rhythm work­out, the on­ly time I’ve ev­er heard Clap­ton just bear down and play a half-dozen cho­rus­es as fast as he can, and he was re­al­ly on that night. Won­der­ful work.

While I’m rec­om­mend­ing Clap­ton prod­uct­s, he’s had a se­ries of “Crossroad Guitar Festival” fundrais­er­s, which have pro­duced some re­al­ly great Rock-&-Roll TV and DVDs. Al­so, his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, while lack­ing the hi­lar­i­ous deca­dence of Keef’s and the mu­si­cal depth of Miles’s, cuts across a super-interesting slice of twentieth-century mu­sic his­to­ry.

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. Clap­ton live in Ja­pan on Spo­ti­fy, Ama­zon, iTunes. J.J. Cale on Spo­ti­fy, Ama­zon, iTunes. Now, as for live video, you can sure en­joy blow­ing an hour watch­ing per­for­mances of this song. First of al­l, here’s a gen­tle, lilt­ing take by Eric and J.J. to­geth­er, with Derek Trucks  —  the singing in close har­mo­ny is sweet, and the gui­tar breaks so pret­ty, es­pe­cial­ly J.J.’s. Then there’s Clap­ton with Steve Win­wood at Madi­son Square Gar­den. The gim­mick on that tour was that Eric picked the Win­wood songs and Steve picked the Clap­ton songs. Any­how, it’s fast and loud and mus­cu­lar, Eric bangs it out and Steve’s sup­port­ing Hammond-organ thun­der is way cool too.

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March 11, 2018
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