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HIDEAWAY (1966) by John Mayall's Bluesbreakers- featuring Eric Clapton

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Published on Nov 4, 2009

One of the first great rock guitar tones was the Blues Breakers 'Beano' album featuring a young Eric Clapton playing a Les Paul Standard through a Marshall amp. Even now, many believe this is Eric's greatest guitar work. At the time, 1966, no one could quite believe the fluid guitar licks and the biting tone. This album was the basis for the slogans around London saying 'Clapton is God'.

Eric Clapton told Guitar Player magazine that the 1960 Les Paul Standard he played on Blues Breakers was "the best Les Paul I ever had... just a regular sunburst Les Paul that I bought in one of the shops in London right after I'd seen Freddie King's album cover of Let's Hide Away And Dance Away, where he's playing a gold-top. It had humbuckers and was almost brand new -- original case with that lovely purple velvet lining. Just magnificent. I never really found one as good as that. I do miss that one." According to Clapton lore, his sacred 1960 was purchased in Lew Davis' guitar shop on Charing Cross Road in London in 1965.

According to the most widely accepted story, Eric Clapton wanted an amp that would fit in the boot of his car, so he asked Jim Marshall (whose store in London he frequented) to make him a combo amp powerful enough to use on stage. According to Robb Lawrence's The Early Years of the Les Paul Legacy, Jim Marshall initially gave Clapton a Model 1961 with 4x10" speakers, which was soon replaced with a 2x12" Model 1962. Clapton used the combo amplifier with his 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard, allegedly in combination with a Dallas Rangemaster Treble Booster, which resulted in the creation of a texture of sound that would become regarded as iconic in the realm of blues oriented rock. (Update: I was reading an interview with Joe Bonamassa who said he doubted the Rangemaster was used as he was able to recreate the Beano sound using a '59 Les Paul plugged into the treble jack of a real '66 Marshall Bluesbreaker type combo without one. He tried a couple of Rangemasters but didn't think they were part of the sound, although he acknowledged he could be wrong. Unless Clapton says something, we will probably never know with certainty).

Hideaway is a Freddy King instrumental that while sticking to the basic structure, has Clapton's own stamp. It was a huge inspiration for guitarists at the time and since, and many learned guitar copying licks off this album. (Just look at the many guitarists who have put their own versions on You Tube!).

Sadly there is no film footage of this vintage Clapton, so I have put together a 'Ken Burns' type slide video using every Blues Breaker era image I could find.

Comments are invited but please no 'my guitarist is better than your guitarist'!

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