Chris Johnson August 09, 2012
Richard Clapton "Harlequin Nights"
Harlequin Nights (Independent/MGM)
Richard Clapton is a survivor.
An elder statesman of the Australian rock music industry, Clapton's influence on home-grown songwriters has been a force for some four decades.
To usher in his fifth decade in the business, Clapton has released his first album in eight years, Harlequin Nights.
This offering is classic Clapton.
The distinctive voice that Australia has loved for many years, combined with classy songwriting upon which Clapton has built a reputation, make this album both nostalgic and refreshing.
Clapton himself refers to this CD as a bookend to his seminal 1977 album Goodbye Tiger, because they were both written about the times in which we live.
''There is a noticeable seismic shift between the two albums, but this simply documents how much our lives have changed in all this time,'' he says.
Take Clapton's nod to fellow party boy Charlie Sheen on track five, Dancing with the Vampires. The song is clever and quite deep, and in no way could have been written in the mid-seventies.
Track two, Vapour Trails is a 6½-minute epic and is outstanding.
Run Like a River is a beautiful folk song.
This album is musically flawless - thanks largely to Danny Spencer, who also co-wrote a number of the songs with Clapton.
From the man who brought us the classic Girls on the Avenue way back when, this CD is an excellent, if not long-overdue, reminder of Clapton's talent.