Having reconnected with the most fundamental and organic form of musicmaking during sessions for his MTV Unplugged album, Eric Clapton subsequently decided to record his first all-blues album since leaving John Mayall’s band in 1966. “I went into the studio with the approach that everything would be recorded live,” Clapton later wrote, ”and having chosen the songs, we would play them as much like the original versions as possible, even down to the key they were played in. It was what I had always wanted to do.” A complete 180 from his production-heavy '80s work, From the Cradle adopts a wonderfully unadorned methodology. Among the standouts are “Goin’ Away Baby,” “Third Degree," and the solo performance of Charles Brown’s “Driftin’.” While it’s remarkable to hear Clapton try to commune with the ferocious ghost of Elmore James on “Third Degree” and “It Hurts Me Too,” the most powerful moments are delivered with a soft touch: none more so than “Motherless Child,” a sweet and layered acoustic rendition of Barbecue Bob’s 1927 song. Against all expectations, Clapton’s version became a big hit, proving again that the culture always reserves a place for old-fashioned country cooking.