Eric Clapton at the Boston Garden (where the wondrous Celts play during the winter) is the big deal on the local music scene this week. Clapton is, or was at one time, as you probably know, God. It's hard to say what he is now--he's just coming off a long bout with heroin and is as a result in a getting-myself-back-together stage. But indications all suggest he's still great; his new single, "I Shot the Sheriff," is teriffic and his history is epic. Clapton is a giant figure in rock. The problem is that the concert will probably sell out fast and be loud and crowded and unmanageable. But bear with it. July 12 at 8 P.m.

Leo Kottke, at the Performance Center, will also be worth seeing. He's allegedly a genius on the guitar--the critics are constantly moaning about how the crass public leaves him relatively unnoticed. With that kind of buildup, he could turn out to be a letdown, but it sounds good anyway. Could be a good change of pace while you're recovering from the Clapton concert. July 14.

The Dells, at Paul's Mall in Boston this weekend, are a super-smooth group from Philadelphia, and they're sure not to make you jump up and down and scream. They're real polished, though, and fine to listen to. It ought to be good for a night of slick 60s R&B.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk, next door at the Jazz Workshop until the end of the weekend, plays zillions of obscure instruments--the strich, for example--and generally puts on a high-energy show. He's a giant anomaly in progressive jazz, with a long track record, but as the novelty wears away he seems less special than he once did. Catch his act some time, but maybe not this week, with so much other good stuff to see.

Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee was the best bet at the beginning of the week, and nothing's changed three days later. The two veteran bluesmen, who have been around forever and influenced practically everybody, are at Passim's in the Square. It might be a good place to sneak off to while everybody else is out seeing the big names, and it's probably the best concert around for learning what music's all about. Until July 14.


Water and David Misch are doing folk tunes and comedy at the First Unitarian Church on Church St. in the Square. It sounds like a journey back to the late 60s, and it could be fun. July 12, with cheap ($1.50) tickets.