Dueling Slide Guitars: Watch Eric Clapton and Derek Trucks Play "Motherless Children"

Two slide masters take on a Clapton classic.
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Here, you can see a 2007 live performance of "Motherless Children," the rip-roaring track that kicks off Eric Clapton's 1974 masterpiece, 461 Ocean Boulevard. This live version is available on Clapton's recent album, Live in San Diego.

The album, which was recorded March 15, 2007, at San Diego's iPayOne Center, features several appearances—and compositions—by JJ Cale. At the time, Clapton and Cale—Clapton's buddy and mentor—were casually supporting their recent studio effort, 2006's Road to Escondido.

“This is the realization of what may have been my last ambition: to work with the man whose music has inspired me for as long as I can remember,” Clapton said of Road to Escondido in 2006. Cale died July 26, 2013.

Other featured performers include Derek Trucks—who handles the late Duane Allman's slide parts on the album's Derek and the Dominos tunes—plus Doyle Bramhall II and Robert Cray, who guests on "Crossroads." Trucks also is heavily featured on "Motherless Children," and it's downright fun to watch Clapton and Trucks open up their bottomless bags of tasty slide licks in the clip below.

From a personal standpoint, Clapton's 2007 backing band was his best ever (as a solo artist). As heard on Live in San Diego, their versions of Derek and the Dominos tracks—especially "Tell the Truth"—are unparalleled.

The original version of “Motherless Children,” one of the strongest opening cuts on a Clapton album since Cream’s "Wheels of Fire," features Clapton on slide guitar, and it burns from the get-go. The song, which finds the guitarist delivering a playful variation of the melody during the twin guitar solos, was arranged by Clapton and his Derek and the Dominos band mate bassist Carl Radle. The song also features fine playing by second guitarist George Terry and drummer Jamie Oldaker.