Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Clapton's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out"

Before Eric Clapton took the stage for one of MTV’s most legendary Unplugged performances, he and his band tried to work the kinks out of his cover of Jimmy Cox’s 1923 composition “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.” This unpolished rehearsal didn’t make the final cut of Clapton’s Grammy Award winning 1992 Unplugged album, which features a cover of “Before You Accuse Me” among others, but the cameras were still rolling during his warmup.

"Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" is a blues standard written by Jimmy Cox in 1923. Its lyric, told from the point of view of a one-time millionaire during the Prohibition era, reflects on the fleeting nature of material wealth and the friendships that come and go with it. As a vaudeville-style blues, it was popularized by Bessie Smith, the preeminent female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. Since her 1929 recording, it has been interpreted by numerous musicians in a variety of styles.

During his art student days in the early 1960s, Eric Clapton was attracted to London's folk-music scene and the fingerpicking acoustic guitar-style of Big Bill Broonzy. Along with "Key to the Highway", "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" was one of the first songs that Clapton learned to play in this style.

This clip, along with remastered songs, two DVDs and bonus rehearsal footage will all be released in Clapton’s new Unplugged: Expanded and Remastered reissue, which is set to hit stores on Oct. 15 via Rhino.

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