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Clapton Battling For No. 1 Album In U.K.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Eric Clapton performs on stage during the 2013 Crossroads Guitar Festival at Madison Square Garden on April 13, 2013 in New York City.
Eric Clapton
is reportedly in a dogfight to have the No. 1 album in England next week.

British reports indicate Clapton's new "The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale" is currently trailing singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran's "X," which is bidding for its sixth week at No. 1 on the U.K., but is putting up a strong fight.

The set includes 16 Cale songs -- some of which have never been recorded -- performed by Clapton and all-star guests such as Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler, Willie Nelson and Derek Trucks. Clapton, who's had hits with Cale's "After Midnight" and "Cocaine," tells us he's on a mission to keep Cale's name and music in front of the world after his death in 2013:

"I was aware of the fact, and have been, that he's better known in Europe and in the rest of the world than he is in America, and I thought it's a bad thing but it also means I can, I have a chance to, I have an opportunity here to introduce people to him. It was astonishing to me that he was never inducted in the so-called Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, never even got a consideration...And I have to also accept at the same time he deliberately plotted his course to achieve that. He stayed out of the way. I think it was a wise choice. If he wanted to do what he was doing, he needed to...make a kind of plan that would allow him the time to do that."

Clapton and Cale won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album for their 2006 collaboration "The Road to Escondido," and Clapton has indicated there are more songs from "The Breeze" sessions that he started and plans to release in the future, probably on his own albums.