Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Eric Clapton: Unplugged [Reprise, 1992]
Laid-back doesn't equal dead--461 Ocean Boulevard is laid-back. What's wrong with this stopgap is it means to be inoffensive. Relegating Clapton-the-electric-guitarist to the mists of memory and capturing Clapton-the-pop-vocalist in a staid mood only an adrenaline junkie could confuse with the sly somnolence of "I Shot the Sherriff" and "Willie and the Hand Jive," it turns "Layla" into a whispery greeting card. No wonder the pop star he most closely resembles on television is James Galway. B-