Posts Tagged ‘Cream’

Cream Goodbye packshot

Cream’s “Live At The Forum”, featuring the band’s performance recorded at the Los Angeles Forum during their Goodbye Tour of 1968, will be released in a limited edition, blue, 2LP version by UMC/Polydor Records on April 23rd.

The 2LP release is taken from the four-CD set that commemorated the tour and was released in 2020. “Live At The Forum” is produced by Bill Levenson and marks the first authorised release of the full concert on vinyl. The recording of the historic show captures the mighty trio of Eric ClaptonJack Bruce, and Ginger Baker at the height of Cream’s powers, but poignantly also nearing the end of their all-too-brief two-year reign.

Cream’s final album Goodbye, which followed their split and was released in February 1969, contained six tracks, three of which were recorded at the Forum. The LP topped the charts in the UK, where it went platinum, and reached No.2 in the US, where it was certified gold.

Cream was a shambling circus of diverse personalities who happened to find that catalyst together,” observed Clapton. “Any one of us could have played unaccompanied for a good length of time. So you put the three of us together in front of an audience willing to dig it limitlessly, we could have gone on forever… And we did….just going for the moon every time we played.”

The Goodbye Tour comprised 22 shows at 19 venues across the US from October 4th to November 4th, 1968. Cream’s famous finale, in two shows at London’s hallowed Royal Albert Hall, followed on November 25th and 26th.

Cream was a shambling circus of diverse personalities who happened to find that catalyst together… any one of us could have played unaccompanied for a good length of time,” Eric Clapton said of the 1968 farewell shows in a statement. “So you put the three of us together in front of an audience willing to dig it limitlessly, we could have gone on forever… And we did… just going for the moon every time we played.” (The announcement of the Live at the Forum vinyl notably comes on the same day, March 30th, as Clapton’s 76th birthday.)

The vinyl release of Live at the Forum is available to preorder now and will arrive as a limited edition double-LP set pressed on blue vinyl. The record was produced by Bill Levenson, while Kevin Reeves mastered the tapes from the original 1968 analogue mix reels. Along with the Forum show, last year’s Goodbye Tour Live 1968 box set featured two other Cream shows in California from October 1968 (San Diego and Oakland), as well as their November 26th, 1968 farewell gig at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Live At The Forum” is released on April 23rd.

Jimi Hendrix’s 'Band of Gypsys' set for 50th anniversary vinyl reissue

It may seem like it would take a lot to be banned from an entire TV channel, but Jimi Hendrix made it happened with one singular performance. In 1969, Jimi Hendrix would find himself, in quick succession, both making a legendary prime time appearance on BBC television and, just a few songs later, banned from the channel indefinitely for an impromptu tribute to Cream.

While London was positively swinging with rock ‘n’ roll creativity in the sixties, the BBC was still a very stuffy, starch-collar-shirted, stiff-upper-lipped, establishment capable of making rash decisions over the smallest indiscretions. They were likely unhappy about even inviting the mercurial counter culture poster boy, Jimi Hendrix on to the prime time TV show hosted by Lulu, in the first place. They were certainly unhappy with his performance.

Although Lulu could have a subversive side, she was still the natural choice for the BBC when they were sketching out their intent to capture the viewership of the growing counterculture movement. Lulu represented a perfect crossover of styles — having been friends with The Beatles she had some reputation but her bubbly, charming, and well-mannered tone and straight-laced image made her the perfect candidate for the BBC’s new primetime show Happening For Lulu.

The show would air just before the 6 o’clock news, a prime time slot, and was the home to some of the country’s brightest and best musicians. Welcoming artists from the pop music bubble wielding their guitars with their long hair and floral clothing — they were an affront to everything the BBC stood for at the time. But the Beeb needed viewers, so they had to invite the scene’s most daring acts. During the late sixties, there was only one man who could truly live up to that hype, the only act which could spark a revolution with one single note, Jimi Hendrix and his band The Experience. They were a phenomenon that was about to sweep the entire world.

The group were invited to the show with the expectation that they would comply, not only with the show’s practices but also with the BBC’s rigorous straight-laced demands. The first of which would see the band perform two hits, their brilliant song ‘Voodoo Child’ and their latest hit ‘Hey Joe’, to an adoring audience. They were also expected to have Lulu join Jimi and the rest of the group on the latter song to perform a cringeworthy duet.

The scene that Mitch Mitchell and the rest of Jimi Hendrix Experience found when they walked into the studio was, as Mitchell describes in his memoir, “so straight it was only natural that we would try to combat that atmosphere by having a smoke in our dressing room.”

As Open Culture reports, he continues: “In our haste, the lump of hash got away and slipped down the sink drainpipe. Panic! We just couldn’t do this show straight — Lulu didn’t approve of smoking! She was then married to Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees, whom I’d visited and shared a smoke with. I could always tell Lulu was due home when Maurice started throwing open all the windows. “Anyway, I found a maintenance man and begged tools from him with the story of a lost ring. He was too helpful, offering to dismantle the drain for us. It took ages to dissuade him, but we succeeded in our task and had a great smoke.”

They walked into the studio and began to tune up their instruments and wow the crowd with a spellbinding rendition of ‘Voodoo Child’, which must’ve truly shaken audiences out of their wingback chairs at home. It really is one of the best Jimi Hendrix performances of the song you are likely to see. As the track played the beginning of Hendrix’s ban would start to present themselves.

“That was really hot,” said Lulu as the notes of ‘Voodoo Child’ subsided and the crowd’s cheering rested, left agog by Hendrix and the rest of the band’s talent. “Yeah. Well, ladies and gentlemen, in case you didn’t know, Jimi and the boys won, in a big American magazine called Billboard, the group of the year.” At this moment a sudden, and apparently accidental, piece of feedback shook Lulu off her notes and left Hendrix smiling.

A showbiz pro, Lulu continued: “And they’re gonna sing for you now the song that absolutely made them in this country, and I’d love to hear them sing it: ‘Hey Joe.’

On that very day, another moment in musical history had already taken place, which would have shaken the British rock elite’s core. The British supergroup Cream had announced their split. Comprised of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, the group represented the higher echelons of rock and roll and especially British music. Hendrix knew this first hand and knew that their demise was a sign of things to come — the sixties couldn’t last forever.

The guitarist had been at a Cream jam-session when he first introduced himself to the music scene here in the UK and ever since they had remained a firm favourite for the mercurial musician.

So only a few bars into their latest single, on a nationally televised live performance, Hendrix stops the music and says “We’d like to stop playing this rubbish and dedicate a song to the Cream, regardless of what kind of group they may be in. We dedicate this to Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce.” The band then give a truly magnificent performance of Cream’s song ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ and brought the house down.

Noel Redding said of the story: “This was fun for us, but producer Stanley Dorfman didn’t take it at all well as the minutes ticked by on his live show. Short of running onto the set to stop us or pulling the plug, there was nothing he could do. We played past the point where Lulu might have joined us, played through the time for talking at the end, played through Stanley tearing his hair, pointing to his watch and silently screaming at us. We played out the show.

“Afterwards, Dorfman refused to speak to us, but the result is one of the most widely used bits of film we ever did. Certainly, it’s the most relaxed.” It would see The Jimi Hendrix Experience banned from the BBC for life but would live on as a moment of rock and roll history unlike any other.

No photo description available.

Rolling Stone issue #10, dated May 11, 1968 featured a picture of Eric Clapton on the cover.  The heavily processed image (taken by Linda Eastman) shows Clapton in close-up, his 1967 Hendrix-inspired perm grown out and his hair longer than it would ever be again.  Around his neck, nestling incongruously (or perhaps ironically) alongside some hippie beads, is a football scarf. His sideburns are fashionably bushy and he is also sporting what can only be described as an impressive Tom Selleck style moustache.  No doubt about it – Eric looked great in ‘68. Every inch the guitar hero, in fact. But inside issue #10 of Rolling Stone things were about to turn very ugly.

Five weeks earlier Cream had played a concert at Brandeis University in Boston and Rolling Stone writer Jon Landau (the man who in 1975 would become Bruce Springsteen’s producer/manager) was there to review it.  What he wrote would not only spell the end of Cream it would also send Eric into a tailspin of self-doubt which would last for years to come.  Among other things Landau’s review read: “Eric Clapton is a master of the blues clichés of all of the post-World War II blues guitarists…”. There was plenty more in the same vein but that line alone was enough to make Clapton resolve to quit what was probably the biggest touring rock group in the world at that point.  It’s been said that Eric had already heard The Band’s debut album Music From Big Pink and wanted to do something similar following the Landau mauling.  But Big Pink wasn’t released until July, two months after the Rolling Stone piece, so the chain of events seemingly developed over time.  Just to complicate matters, although the seeds of Cream’s demise were irrevocably sown in May of 1968, it was later revealed that the band had secretly agreed to call it a day before Landau’s review went to press, mainly due to the ongoing tension between Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.

Whatever the truth behind the break-up Cream still had one more lucrative tour to complete.  This was their so-called “Goodbye Tour” consisting of 22 shows at 19 US venues from 4th October to 4th November 1968, followed by two concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 25th and 26th November.

Cream’s final album (excluding posthumous live releases) “Goodbye” appeared in February 1969, three months after the Albert Hall shows.  I have reason to remember it possibly more than any other Cream record from their short, 30 month career.  A close friend and talented fine artist from Sheffield, Paul Winter, had recently moved to London to work for the Alan Aldridge Ink Studios, so when Goodbye appeared with that distinctive Aldridge airbrush lettering on the front cover it was a source of great local pride.  I never did find out if Paul had very much (if anything) to do with the Cream sleeve, but I like to tell myself he did.  Pleasingly, this Goodbye Tour Live 1968 box set retains a variation of the original Alan Aldridge design as well as that delightful showbiz send-up photo by Roger Philips showing the band decked out in silver suits, with top hats and canes.  True to form, Ginger seemingly didn’t like the idea of dressing up and threatened the photographer during the shoot. No change there, then.

This lavishly presented box contains four complete shows from the last eight weeks of that final tour: Oakland, California (October 4), the Los Angeles Forum (October 19), San Diego Sports Arena (October 20) and the Royal Albert Hall, London (November 26).  Of the 36 tracks, 29 have never been released on CD before (19 are previously unreleased, plus the Royal Albert Hall show which was only available on VHS and later, DVD).

 

This lavishly presented box contains four complete shows from the last eight weeks of that final tour: Oakland, California (October 4), the Los Angeles Forum (October 19), San Diego Sports Arena (October 20) and the Royal Albert Hall, London (November 26).  Of the 36 tracks, 29 have never been released on CD before (19 are previously unreleased, plus the Royal Albert Hall show which was only available on VHS and later, DVD).

The packaging is excellent.  It comes housed in a 10-inch hard cover box with 70 page book incorporating a wealth of colour and black and white photos showing onstage action, concert tickets, posters, music magazine cuttings and record sleeves from around the world. The book also features some entertaining liner notes by Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke.  On the downside Fricke confuses Lincolnshire with Lancashire when referencing a May 1967 UK gig in Spalding and the picture on page 17 of the book has been flipped, turning Eric into a left-handed guitarist. Not the end of the world, admittedly, but with such an expensive item, someone should have taken a second look.

Considering the band was apparently falling apart and the members eager to go their separate ways, you’d never know it from these performances.  Cream are on fire throughout with their playing as powerful and accomplished as ever. The three California shows are top-quality soundboard recordings which have been circulating as bootlegs for years so it’s good to see them finally get an official release.  The London show is presumably taken from the soundtrack of Tony Palmer’s film Cream: Farewell Concert and the sound has not improved in the transfer.  While still quite listenable (especially without the dizzying camera zooms, close-ups and annoyingly fast edits of Palmer’s film), the fourth disc is of somewhat lower fidelity.

“White Room” was the opening song almost every night and there are four versions here.  The first thing you notice is what a great singer Jack was. The finest bass player of his generation was also blessed with a tremendous voice, the equal of anyone in rock at that time.  And, save a few fluffed lyrics and wayward harmonies here and there, the quality and power of his vocals never waivers throughout. The set list hardly varies across all four shows with the lion’s share of songs coming from the recent Wheels of Fire double album (released in August 1968) plus a couple from Fresh Cream and just “Sunshine of Your Love” from Disraeli Gears.  But Cream rarely played a song the same way twice, anyway, instead using the basic structure as a launch pad for their extended improvisations.  This is especially true of the longer pieces such as “I’m So Glad” and “Spoonful”. The four versions of “Spoonful” total over an hour in length yet all are wildly different, with only the vocal section sticking to any kind of plan.  Two tracks pre-date the formation of the band. Although “Traintime” later appeared on a couple of Cream albums Jack’s harmonica solo spot originated during his time with the Graham Bond Organisation. Likewise “Steppin’ Out” started life as Eric’s instrumental party piece with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.

Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience are often compared and although Eric and Jimi were friends, contemporaries and first among equals it’s impossible to imagine Hendrix tackling a number like “Politician”.  This lumbering monster of a song contains not a skerrick of swing or soul, but it swaggers along with feel to spare, laying waste to all before it. One of four songs on Wheels of Fire co-written by Jack Bruce and Pete Brown, “Politician” took on new momentum when played live and seemed to grow in stature as the tour progressed.

In the late 60s and early 70s drum solos were de rigueur for any rock band with virtuosic tendencies.  They were not everyone’s cup of tea, however, and even the most hardened rock concert-goer will likely blanche at the thought of a 20-minute solo.  I’m with those people much of the time but always made an exception in Ginger’s case. He was a drummer of unique power and invention and I could quite happily sit though virtually anything he cared to serve up.

Ginger’s solo spot was typically the thunderous “Toad” and it appears on three of the four shows (35 minutes of it, in total).  The Oakland concert on disc one is different, however. Here the drum solo happens during “Passing The Time”. Ginger co-wrote this song (along with two other tracks on Wheels of Fire) with jazz pianist Mike Taylor who sadly died only a year later in 1969 aged 30.  Oakland was the first date of the tour and at the end of “Passing The Time” Ginger announces “We have to apologise for being a little rusty. We’ve been on holiday”.
Like most people of a certain age I first heard Cream’s “Crossroads” in 1968 on Wheels of Fire.  52 years later I’m still of the opinion it could be the greatest live rock ensemble recording ever committed to vinyl.  This powerhouse 12 bar blues thunders along at a fair old lick with not one but two life-affirming guitar solos. It’s moderately fast without being frantic.  It’s punishingly loud but still swings like crazy with every instrument cutting through the mix equally. It may be a showcase for Clapton’s guitar but it’s very much a team effort with the bass and drums doing just as much of the heavy lifting.  With almost telepathic understanding Eric, Jack and Ginger lock onto the beat, mindful of every micro-shift in tempo. At one point the song seems in danger of tripping over itself as it rushes headlong into the last verse a little too fast. But just in time they pull it back and then, a little over 4 minutes after it began, the “Crossroads” juggernaut shudders to a halt, rivets straining on the boiler and steam coming off the brakes.  “No one will ever beat it” opined Springsteen guitarist Steven Van Zandt, speaking about “Crossroads” to Rolling Stone in 2005. “They literally solo for four verses in a row… The fact that they all come back together at the end, at once, is one of the most remarkable moments on record”.

Such was the impact of this track it went on to have a life of its own.  In 1988 Eric released Crossroads, an early multi-CD compilation and one of the biggest selling box sets of the digital era.  A decade later he launched the Crossroads Guitar Festival, a series of all-star benefit concerts which is still running today.  In 2005 Gibson guitars issued a limited edition replica of the Gibson ES335 Eric used on the 1968 recording. The original guitar was sold at auction for just under one million dollars, but you can buy one of 250 exact Crossroads replicas for a bargain US$10,000. So, while Clapton has sometimes coyly attempted to play down the importance of the original Wheels of Fire recording there’s no denying “Crossroads” holds great significance for him.

First the good news: Goodbye Live Tour 1968 features four unreleased live versions of “Crossroads”.  Now the (slightly) bad news: not one of them is quite as good as the Wheels Of Fire version recorded seven months earlier at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco.  The Oakland recording has a slightly hesitant feel with the famous riff changed to something resembling the opening of the Monkees’ “I’m A Believer”, albeit on steroids.  Two weeks later and the Los Angeles version is more like it. The riff is now in place but it’s played a little too fast, as is the London recording. Only in San Diego did they come close to matching the Winterland original but even here the two guitar solos don’t have quite the same impact.

Cream may have invented heavy rock and a lot more besides but they were a blues band at heart and the three versions of “Sitting On Top Of The World” drive this point home comprehensively.  The LA recording on disc two previously appeared on the 1969 album Goodbye and is perhaps the pick of the bunch (although San Diego runs it a close second).  Never was the term “power trio” more appropriate as the band bulldozes its way through this slow blues.  Ginger nails it all down at the back, rock solid and immovable. Jack is all over the fretboard like a lead player, his rasping bass bubbling through the mix, louder than any recording engineer would dare risk today.  His vocals are astounding especially considering he’s singing while playing some extremely complex bass lines. Meanwhile Eric fires off a series of exhilarating fills topped off with a solo of murderous intensity.  It’s a masterclass in muscular electric blues. Subtle it ain’t, but my goodness it sounds great.

“Sunshine of Your Love” appears on all four discs, the extended solos taking it far beyond the rigid confines of Cream’s biggest hit single.  Much looser than the studio version, the most famous riff in all of rock takes on new life when played live. There’s a strange moment during the LA show when the bass drops out for several seconds but we assume this was nothing more than a technical glitch.  The strongest performance of “Sunshine…” by far appears on the San Diego concert. It’s also the best recorded version with all three instruments way up in the mix and Jack and Eric’s vocals strong and clear.

“Steppin’ Out” is the final number of the final show and, as the Albert Hall crowd yells for more, MC John Peel, always a master of studied indifference, signs off with the characteristically deadpan line “That really has to be it, but I’m really glad you’re here tonight.  Goodnight”. And with that, Cream leaves the stage forever (or until their 2005 reunion, 37 years later).

Cream existed simultaneously as two very different groups.  There was the studio incarnation which recorded beautifully crafted pop rock gems such as “I Feel Free”, “Strange Brew” and “Badge”, but the live band was another matter entirely.  Onstage they were a high-volume stadium monster who could justifiably claim to have drawn up the blueprint for heavy rock, jam band rock and much else besides. Part jazz, part blues and several parts rock, Cream’s improvised flights of fancy elevated music to places it had never been before.

Jack Bruce passed away in 2014 and with the recent death of Ginger Baker it’s sad to reflect that now only Eric remains, adding even more poignancy to this release, at least from the listener’s perspective.  Following Cream’s demise the baton would be picked up by Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and others who took the same basic format and turned it into 70s commercial gold. For all their success, though, none of the pretenders would achieve the same legendary status or, dare I say it, quite the same level of musical excellence.

Let’s leave the last word to Buddy Miles who, coincidentally, was about to exit his own group Electric Flag in late 1968. He comes onstage at the Los Angeles Forum to introduce who he calls, in the hip speak of the time, “Three really outasite groovy cats”. Buddy continues (presumably referencing the impending split), “What can you say? It’s happened, and we can’t do anything about it, but just remember they’ll still be there, and they’ll always be there.  That’s Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton. Ladies and gentlemen, the Cream”.

DISC ONE – OCTOBER 4, 1968 – Oakland Coliseum, Oakland (all tracks previously unreleased, except *)
1. White Room (6.19)* (previously released on Live Cream Volume II and Those Were The Days)
2. Politician (5.22)* (previously released on Live Cream Volume II and Those Were The Days)
3. Crossroads (3.57)
4. Sunshine Of Your Love (5.35)
5. Spoonful (16.47)
6. Deserted Cities Of The Heart (5.26)* (previously released on Live Cream Volume II)
7. Passing The Time (10.40)

8. I’m So Glad (7.07)

DISC TWO – OCTOBER 19, 1968 – Los Angeles Forum, Los Angeles (all tracks previously unreleased except *)
1. Introduction by Buddy Miles (1:39)
2. White Room (6.53)
3. Politician (6.41)* (previously released on Goodbye)
4. I’m So Glad (9.37)* (previously released on Goodbye and Those Were The Days)
5. Sitting On Top Of The World 4.53* (previously released on Goodbye and Those Were The Days)
6. Crossroads (4.25)
7. Sunshine Of Your Love (6.27)
8. Traintime (8.11)
9. Toad (12.55)

10. Spoonful (17.27)* (previously released on Eric Clapton’s Life In 12 Bars)

DISC THREE – OCTOBER 20, 1968 – San Diego Sports Arena, San Diego (all tracks previously unreleased)
1. White Room (6.42)
2. Politician (6.26)
3. I’m So Glad (7.53)
4. Sitting On Top Of The World (5.45)
5. Sunshine Of Your Love (5.13)
6. Crossroads (4.13)
7. Traintime (9.39)
8. Toad (14.03)
9. Spoonful (9.12)

The Oakland Coliseum, Los Angeles Forum and San Diego Sports Arena concerts were mastered from the original 1968 analogue mix reels by Kevin Reeves at Universal Mastering, Nashville, TN.

DISC FOUR – CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT NOVEMBER 26, 1968 – Royal Albert Hall, London (all tracks released on CD for the first-time)
1. White Room (8.02)
2. Politician (6.37)
3. I’m So Glad (6.53)
4. Sitting On Top Of The World (5.06)
5. Crossroads (5.03)
6. Toad (11.22)
7. Spoonful (15.47)
8. Sunshine Of Your Love (8.37)
9. Steppin’Out (5.02)

The Royal Albert Hall concert was mastered from the original 1968 analogue transfer reels by Jason NeSmith at Chase Park Transduction, Athens, GA.

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According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the most common definition of the word supergroup is “a rock group made up of prominent former members of other rock groups.” The word came into use either in 1968 or 1969, reportedly coined by Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner—music historians seem to disagree exactly when the word first popped up, but they all agree that the supergroup Wenner was describing was Cream. From the first chord of the first song, the debut album by Cream was something new. Eric Clapton’s power chord gave way to handclaps and Jack Bruce’s humming, then Clapton returned in tandem with Bruce’s heady vocals and Ginger Baker’s mighty percussion. “I Feel Free” was up and running, and so was one of the most exciting debut records of the 1960s. “Fresh Cream” was released on December 9th, 1966.

Cream had already come and gone by the end of 1968 but in their brief run, just over two years, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker undeniably changed the face of rock music.

In the spring of 1965, guitarist Clapton, having grown dissatisfied with what he perceived to be a move into a more pop-oriented direction for the Yardbirds, the group with which he’d made his name, left for John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. As its name implied, the Mayall outfit was dedicated to the blues, Clapton’s favoured genre at the time. Clapton soon grew restless there too, and by the summer of 1966 he was looking for something new.

Cream were by no means a singles band, but “I Feel Free” was a definitive 45 of the era, on an album that oozed authentic, robust blues but was also full of light and shade. This was a trio of all talents, Bruce, Clapton and Baker all contributing to the song writing (as did Bruce’s first wife Janet Godfrey and his frequent collaborator Pete Brown), in addition to which they had a collectively trained ear for adapting the music of their heritage for the modern-day rock audience.

Hence new songs such as Bruce’s “N.S.U.” and “Dreaming,” and Baker and Godfrey’s “Sweet Wine” But here also were Clapton’s modernisations of “Four Until Late” and “Rollin’ and Tumblin,’” from the repertoires of two of his heroes (Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters respectively) and expert readings of Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” and Skip James’ “I’m So Glad.” They were comfortable with instrumental formats too, as with the traditional “Cat’s Squirrel” and Baker’s theme piece “Toad.”

At the same time, drummer Ginger Baker, a member of the popular British blues band the Graham Bond Organisation, was also in the market for change. When he met Clapton, the two discussed starting a new band and Clapton mentioned bringing in Jack Bruce on bass. Baker was already quite familiar with Bruce—the latter had also worked in Bond’s group as well as with John Mayall.

Just in time for them to break up. Despite the success of Disraeli Gears and its follow up, the double LP Wheels of Fire (released in August 1968), Cream was already old news for its three members. Clapton had had enough and was looking for a new direction. Baker agreed, and on July 10th they announced they would be breaking up. They cut one last album, appropriately titled Goodbye, then played their final shows in October and November of ’68.

Baker was less than pleased with the suggestion though—the two had not gotten along well when they were in the Bond band and, at its worst, their spats had turned physical. Bruce interviewed in 2012, two years before his death, asked if his clash with Baker was overblown. “To a certain extent,” he said. “It did exist but I think those things are in every band, from that time, especially. People now are probably more tolerant of each other. We just didn’t give a shit and we were making it up as we went along.”

The album was a brilliant combination of the blues, jazz and rock resumés of all three members, in a line-up that introduced and defined the concept of the power trio. Except that the word “power” always threatens to overshadow the great subtleties, deftness of touch and sense of humour in Cream’s music.

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Jack Bruce  was asked “What do you think these days, about the Cream songs you wrote?” the reply: I don’t call them Cream songs. I call them songs that I wrote at that time. OK, tell me about “White Room,” for example. I’m really happy with that song, because it’s paid the rent for a while. It’s quite a daring song in that it starts in 5/4 and was a huge hit. There aren’t many of those—Blondie’s “Heart Of Glass” has bars of 7/8 in it, that was a good song.

I think it’s important that writers take chances and risks. Record companies and a lot of people underestimate the public tremendously, so you end up with a public that doesn’t know. But if you reckon that the people you’re playing for are fairly hip, then they’ll really get into it. “White Room” has some of Ginger’s best drumming—when he brings in that extra bass drum at the end, it’s a whole new dimension.

How about some of the Cream gigs? Or should I say the gigs you played at that time. I think your debut was at the Twisted Wheel in Manchester in 1966. You were still playing your Fender VI, before you got the Gibson EB-3. I don’t know who suggested the Twisted Wheel. It might well have been Ginger. But why not? One of the better clubs in Britain, without any doubt. I think it was a pretty good gig. We had a big American estate car, which blew up on the way to the Twisted Wheel. I don’t remember how we got there in the end.

So then we got our Austin Westminster band car. There’d be the driver and roadie, Ben Palmer, and three in the band, two Marshall stacks, and the drums. That’s what we’d get in with any relative comfort and spliff-rolling capabilities. We’d drive there and come back the same day.

What do you recall about playing the Flamingo in London?:

I did the all-nighters there a lot, that was one of my very early gigs. I played the Flamingo with Alexis, too, a bit, but mainly the all-nighters with pickup bands, usually Ginger on drums, Dick Heckstall-Smith on tenor sax, and Johnny Burch on piano. The band room of the Flamingo in the early ’60s was the centre of the universe, really. It had a pet rat that used to run in the rafters above. Just a fabulous place to hang out. The Marquee was good, the 100 Club was good, but the Flamingo was the hip place. A guy called Ronnie Chambers used to look after the Flamingo. He’d get excited sometimes and rush on stage waving his gun about if the music was particularly good. His line was, “Hey, you want a watch?” And he’d pull up the sleeve of his suit and he’d have all these watches up his arm. Those were really great days, quite innocent really.

I’ve got a copy of a contract here for a 1966 Cream gig in Stockton [northern England] for £75.

Seventy-five quid? Well, that’s pretty good bread for then. I remember the first big-money gig we got with the Graham Bond Organisation, a bit earlier, I think Newcastle or Durham University or something, we got £40. We thought, Wow! We’ve hit the big time! A few of those and we can retire. Bearing in mind that people were probably earning a quarter of that as a decent weekly wage. So I don’t think Cream was making very good money at first from gigs—I think that came much later. I’m afraid I’m very vague about anything financial.

How about the early American gigs, maybe the Fillmore? . The Fillmore was great in San Francisco, and obviously 1967 was the year to be there, really. It would take off some nights, and this was when we first started doing the extended improvisations in Cream. It was new to the band. Up to this series of gigs, we just played little songs live, very short: three, four, five minute versions of the songs. And since there were only three of us, it wasn’t like: “You do a solo, then I’ll do a solo, then you.” It was: “Eric, do a solo.”

“Our albatross was having to do very long solos when you maybe didn’t feel like it. Mixed blessings, really.” We would sometimes strip it down to where Eric would play completely unaccompanied, for quite a long time [laughs]. And I remember him doing some quite incredible stuff, quite amazing. But they weren’t recorded.

The change was, quite simply, that we were fed up with doing that, and the audience was so great at the Fillmore, they were all so out of it, all sort of laidback, and would say, “Just play!” They wouldn’t let us go. So we just started playing, jamming as it were, and that turned into what we became known for. We didn’t sit down and have a big discussion: “Oh, let’s do this.” I think it was the same way that The Who became known for smashing up their equipment and all of that, and that became their albatross.

Is your academic musical background of use to you?

Yes, because if I’m sitting on a plane, say, and I have an idea, I can always write it down. I can write all my own horn parts, as on my new album, I can write my own arrangements. In fact, thinking back to “I Feel Free” and “White Room,” I was much closer to the academic days—which in fact were very shortlived. I did A-level music and then I went to The Royal Scottish Academy of Music, studying composition and cello, part-time and then full-time. And then we sort of threw each other out. They didn’t like me because I was improvising.

When I left the Academy, I was playing acoustic stand-up bass, and I heard about this band in Coventry, guy called Murray Campbell, it was a Mecca dance band. I was playing bass with Andy Park and some local people in Glasgow—he turned me on to Thelonious Monk. I just wanted to go out there, I wanted to be the next Scott LaFaro. Not much hope of that, but when you’re young you’re very ambitious. Ambitious, certainly, and also with some strong jazz roots, it seems.

The roots thing is very important to me. I think the difference between my roots and someone else’s is that I didn’t come from rock ‘n’ roll, I came from jazz, basically. I was playing with Ginger and Graham Bond, we were an alto–acoustic bass–drums trio, very much in the style of what Ornette Coleman was doing in the late ’50s, Charlie Haden and so on. That was my roots.

Anyway, I left home at 17 and went down to audition for this band I’d heard about, because they were playing Maynard Ferguson, Dizzy Gillespie big-band arrangements. The audition piece was Dizzy’s “One Bass Hit.” It’s a very difficult piece, so it was sorting out the men from the boys. And even though I was 17, I got the gig. A very good band.

I travelled around the country playing with jazz bands—I played with Chet Baker, and then with a fairly good cocktail-jazz band on the American Air Force bases, which was great because it introduced me to Mingus. They had these great record collections, and I steeped myself in Mingus records. It completely changed my life, because that introduced me, though I didn’t know it at the time, to the blues. Because really, what Mingus did was to bring country blues to jazz. Then I came to London and joined Alexis Korner.

Well, there was a place in London called “the street,” Archer Street, round the back of Piccadilly Circus. One day a week at lunchtime, all the musicians would go down there and you’d get work. Hundreds of musicians hanging out with their little books, getting their weddings and bar mitzvahs, this whole street would be thronged of musicians. That’s how I got the cocktail-jazz job, and Chet Baker. Then I tried to make it as a jazz bass player in London and had some tough times. I was playing with this band called Jim McHargs & His Scotsville Jazz Band. And Jimmy McHargs was the bass player, so how I got that job I still haven’t worked out.

This was 1961, ’62, and we got a gig at a Cambridge May Ball. And then I hear this amazing sound emanating from a cellar they had there. I went down, and it was Dick Heckstall-Smith on sax, Kathy Stobart singing, forget who was on piano, a guy called Morris on bass, and the guy on drums was called Ginger Baker. I went and asked to sit in, and they said they didn’t encourage that. I think they may have thought I was a student, though how they could have thought I was a student at Cambridge I don’t know. But anyway, I persuaded them, and they did the old trick of what jazzers do when someone sits in, which is to make them look stupid. So first they played something with very difficult changes at an incredible tempo.

So then they played a ballad and said: “You play the tune.” So OK, did that. And then I put the bass down and left. And Dick Heckstall-Smith spent two or three weeks trying to find me, and somehow he managed, and he asked me to join Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. It was a good job he managed to find you.

Yeah. I might still be living in that terrible room in Willesden [north-west London]. You never know. So I joined, and Charlie Watts was on drums. I became good mates with him, often slept on his couch. And Dick Heckstall-Smith I regard as a musical father in many ways. He turned me on to a lot of things. The legendary Cyril Davies was on harmonica. It was very much a rhythm and blues band.

Cyril was a panel beater by trade. He and Alexis used to play interval spots with Chris Barber, playing Lead Belly things. I haven’t heard a harp player like Cyril. OK, Little Walter is obviously the man of all time, James Cotton is good, but Cyril had something. He was so good that when Muddy Waters heard him over here, he asked him to join his band and go back and live in Chicago. Unfortunately, poor old Cyril had leukemia and didn’t have very long to live. But I don’t think he would have given up his panel-beating business anyway. Muddy doesn’t, er, pay well.

I was a terrible musical snob. I thought progressive jazz was all there was—Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, post-bebop but still with the roots. Very much what you would call modern jazz. Talking ’62, so a lot of interesting stuff was about, Blue Note was happening, Riverside was happening. I remember hearing Tony Williams for the first time around then, he made a record with Eric Dolphy called Out To Lunch which is still something I play once a week. It was Dick that explained to me that it was possible to keep your musical ideals, but apply other things to it. Fusion, in other words. You could have a great country-blues harmonica player playing with a modern jazz tenor sax player, and that it didn’t demean anything, and in fact that it was much more modern than playing an imitation Ornette Coleman. At this time there were some great fusion bands, specially the Miles Davis band, the original Return To Forever, Weather Report in its heyday. Lifetime was the fusion band. Lifetime I consider to be definitely the best musical experience of my life. [Jack played on the 1970 Tony Williams Lifetime album Turn It Over.] Anyone who was lucky enough to hear that band would tend to agree with me. Played some great gigs over here, played the Speakeasy which people still go “wow!” about. That was a great band. We all knew it was very, very special. For me, it was great playing with people up to my standard—and that’s going to sound terribly big-headed.

Lifetime was a three-piece band at that time, Tony Williams [drums], Larry Young [organ], and John McLaughlin [guitar]. John brought Tony along to this gig—Jimi Hendrix was there, we had a great time—and Tony said, “Hey, I’m recording tomorrow, would you like to come down and play on a track or two?” So I went down, and he presented me with this very complicated written part, thinking probably this guy is a rocker. So I sight-read it, because I’m trained in that way. But the thing was, we clicked rhythmically.

Oh, Miles! Miles likes Cyndi Lauper. Miles is a completely open individual, as every musician should be. There’s a lot of people in rock music that I know—I won’t mention their names—who are snobs as well. They think that if it’s not two guitars, bass, and drums, and maybe a keyboard, well, forget it. There’s a sort of inverted snobbery there that I find and that I have suffered from. And there’s a problem with guitar players in the States who all want to play like Yngwie Malmsteen. They all want to play scales very fast up and down the neck of the guitar, and they aren’t interested in finding the roots of the music. They probably go as far back as Van Halen, and think that’s the beginning, instead of where Eric went back to: Robert Johnson, Albert King, and so on.

I’m roughly the same age as Mick Jagger, John Lennon—we were all little boys who were really influenced by the very beginnings of the commercial success of early rock ‘n’ roll music. It was there in our consciousness. So we can now look back as an overview, a lot of people of our generation, and a lot of younger people, too. It’s there. You can get the entire output of Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry, or somebody. In the ’60s when Cream was happening—let’s say in 1967, when we had our first real success in America—we played the Fillmore in the hippie summer and it felt like the whole world was being reborn, and musically I was so excited.

Ginger Baker and myself were really a hot jazz rhythm section, and even when Eric was playing, Cream was basically a jazz band. We never told Eric that, but that’s another story. Well, I don’t mean we were playing jazz. We certainly weren’t. We were playing improvised music, and some of the improvisations were damn good, even the recordings that were released. Which were not the best. You never get the best live stuff recorded, I’m glad to say.

Because it’s almost a pity when it’s recorded. Because live music should be something that happens and disappears, and you go home from the concert going, “Wow, that was great!” And you know you’ll never hear it again. The musicians love that magic that happens every so often. Also, I think if you stick up a microphone and you know it’s being recorded, it’s going to stop the real magic happening anyway. And I think there’s got to be something wrong with the people who go to the trouble of recording every gig.  When I listen to live Cream records now, I’m struck by the sound you got. I think if we were to play now, it would be a lot better. That side of it would be a lot better. Two of the bands that I’ve played with, at least, the great pity was that we were ahead of the technology—they were Cream and Lifetime. They hadn’t invented the real PA system yet. We used to play baseball stadiums with little 200-watt PAs. The problem that Cream had was that none of us were technically minded, in the sense that we knew what to do about it..”

You only have to look at old films of Ginger playing. I saw something recently of him playing with Blind Faith, and he was using two mics for the drums. In Hyde Park! Jimi suffered very badly from equipment, too. In Lifetime, we were playing light-years-ahead music—very fast, very loud—and that was the loudest band I’ve ever played in. Cream wasn’t that loud. Volume is a very relative thing. I think even symphony orchestras are playing louder now. People are going deaf! In those days, if you had 100 watts for the guitar and 100 watts for the bass and 200 watts for the vocals, that was damned loud. In Alexis Korner’s band, we all went through one little amplifier and two speakers either side of the stage—and people thought that was loud! People have got used to louder things. And, of course, we now have more sophisticated sound equipment, which in those days just did not exist. The first time I played electric bass was for Island Records with a guy called Ernest Ranglin, a Jamaican jazz guitar player. We recorded an EP called Ernest Ranglin And The ‘G.Bs’. It was Ernest, Graham Bond on Hammond, Ginger on drums, and me on a bass guitar that I borrowed from some music shop.

I’m a very stolid person. It takes me a long time to change, so I was against bass guitars. But that session was all it took. God, I thought, it’s loud, and I can play so easily. I can play louder than Ginger! He didn’t like it. I was totally convinced, so I went out and bought my first electric bass, which was a Top Ten [he means the Teisco-made Top Twenty brand], a Japanese bass—and “Japanese” didn’t mean very much in those days. It was all I could afford. Sounded pretty good to me. Kept giving me terrible electric shocks, though.

Marvin Gaye came over here. He’d just had his first few hits, must have been ’65. Graham Bond got the job of putting the band together to do a TV show with Marvin, we were playing things like “How Sweet It Is,” and I was going so he asked me to join, but unfortunately—unfortunately? Fortunately, I was getting married and I couldn’t go.

But that did encourage me that I was on the right track, because I was having a lot of problems, specially from Ginger who thought my bass playing was becoming too busy. It was just that he could hear me now. Suddenly there was a bass, and I was playing melody.

I’ve always thought that good music is not a melody and a block and boom-boom. To me good music is all melody—the drums should be playing tunes, the bass should be playing tunes, it should be counterpoint. I like to be able to listen to a lot of things going on, as opposed to one block—unless that’s what you want. I like moving parts, and that’s what a lot of the great Stax and Tamla things are. A lot of great soul music is very contrapuntal. So James Jamerson to me was Tamla Motown, as much as any of the great singers. He’s what made it great, this bass player.

What’s your feeling these days on the way Cream ended? I mean, why did the band break up? The kind of theoretical reason given is that we all wanted to go our separate ways and do different things. The real reason was the greed of the management. They never gave us a minute’s rest, because they drove us into the ground. We were all exhausted, and we hated each other. We were selling more records than The Beatles; the first platinum album; all that stuff. So they thought, let’s get these guys happening, you know?

And so we used to make records, we’d do the recording but wouldn’t be at the mixes. We wouldn’t know what was going to be on the records sometimes. We’d drive past some record shop, go in and buy our record to see what was on it. That’s the way it was in those days. I think most of the Cream songs are alright, there’s just not enough of them, for those reasons.

That final Cream tour in 1968 must have been a weird one. I suppose vaguely I thought it wasn’t our final tour. Mixed feelings. The height of success that we’d had, and we were splitting. Very strange feeling. Some of it was fun, because a lot of the pressure had gone. The Madison Square Garden gig was done in a very joke way, using the house PA, the same one that comes down from the ceiling where they say, “And in the blue corner—” And on a revolving stage. People who saw that gig couldn’t believe it. You’d get a big loud bit of Eric, then a big loud bit of Ginger, then Eric would disappear and I’d arrive, you know.

I remember getting the platinum discs at Madison Square Garden. Robert Stigwood and Ahmet Ertegun got on stage to present us with these in the middle of the set, and the audience just went “Booooo!” Very embarrassing. Very nice to get those, though. I wonder where mine is? I remember bringing it back to England, proudly, and they wanted me to pay duty on it.

The success is nice. But then the feeling is that it’s going to end. I had other things going on in my life. I wanted to have a kid, I wanted to have a house, the different things that people do, as opposed to living out of a suitcase. So there was that to look forward to. It was a good time, really, and I think some of the gigs on that last tour were really, really good, considering. I think we had something slightly better organized sound-wise. I remember one of the first big gigs on that tour, maybe it was Oakland, I remember going with Eric right up to the very furthest-away seats you could go to, and these tiny little dots where we would be, and going, “Fucking hell! We’ve come a long way from the Twisted Wheel.”

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This special edition of Cream’s album “Goodbye, Goodbye Tour – Live 1968”. This is the first authorised release of these four historic complete 1968 concerts. Each concert features previously unreleased tracks and the Royal Albert Hall show hasn’t featured on CD until now. Having decided to call it quits whilst on tour in the US during May 1968 by way of a farewell Cream agreed to undertake more live shows, predominantly in the US later that same year plus 2 final UK dates at the Royal Albert Hall that November.

Originally released in February 1969,“Goodbye” originally mixed live performances from those last tour dates with a handful of studio recordings and rose to the UK no.1 slot and no.2 on the US Billboard. Goodbye Tour – Live 1968, as the name suggests expands the recordings from the 3-piece powerhouse’s last tour.

This historic collection was produced by Bill Levenson. The Oakland Coliseum, Los Angeles Forum and San Diego Sports Arena concerts were mastered from the original 1968 analog mix reels by Kevin Reeves at Universal Mastering, Nashville, TN. The Royal Albert Hall concert was mastered from the original 1968 analog transfer reels by Jason NeSmith at Chase Park Transduction, Athens, GA.

The set features 36 tracks of which 29 are issued for the first time.

Ginger Baker 1939-2019

Ginger Baker, drummer and co-founder of 1960s blues-rock supergroup Cream, died on Sunday (October. 6th), his family confirms. He was 80 years of age.

He’d been struggling with failing health for some time and had been hospitalized after falling “critically ill” last month.

“We are very sad to say that Ginger has passed away peacefully this morning,” a brief statement on his Facebook page announced. “Thank you to everyone for your kind words to us all over the past weeks. Baker’s death follows a 2016 fall in his home and subsequent open heart surgery after being diagnosed with a heart condition, and the news follows recent posts on his social media channels that he was hospitalized in “critically ill” condition.

Baker leaves behind a legacy as the drummer for Cream, his 1960s power trio with guitarist Eric Clapton and bassist Jack Bruce that tossed up the blues with sunshine-pop, with “Sunshine of Your Love” and “White Room” in 1968. The band split in 1968 and reunited in 2005 for a residency at the Royal Albert Hall, captured that year on the live album Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005.

His first professional band, Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, where he replaced Charlie Watts (who left to join the Rolling Stones) and met bassist Jack Bruce, with whom he’d play in the Graham Bond Organisation and then form Cream in 1966. From almost the start, their relationship was a tumultuous one, with the mercurial Baker often lashing out at his bass-playing bandmate.

Later in life, Baker often appeared in the press as a lovable, irascible grouch, living in South Africa with his Zimbabwean wife, Kudzai, while treating his emphysema and degenerative spine condition. During Cream’s brief reunion, he sang his oddball interlude “Pressed Rat and Warthog”.

“It’s a knife-edge thing for me and Ginger,” Bruce was once quoted ,“Nowadays, we’re happily co-existing in different continents, although I was thinking of asking him to move. He’s still a bit too close.”

The son of a tobacco shop employee and a bricklayer who was killed in WWII, Baker was enamored early on with jazz legends like Art Blakey, Max Roach and Philly Joe Jones. He made the rounds in traditional jazz combos in the mid-1960s before coming into orbit of British blues nuts Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce. The former was fresh from the Yardbirds and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers; the latter would jam with Baker in the blues-jazz band the Graham Bond Organization. Considering themselves the “cream of the crop” of British bluesmen, they called themselves Cream and released their debut Fresh Cream in 1966.

Apart, the members of Cream were good-to-great blues sidemen. When they got together, they were dynamite. Their riff-heavy originals like “Sunshine of Your Love” inspired riff-mongers from The Allman Brothers Band to Lynyrd Skynyrd. When they tackled the blues, they were reverent, staying true to the melodic backbones of Skip James’ “I’m So Glad” and Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” while giving them a fresh, modern feel.

Cream released two more albums during their run, 1967’s Disraeli Gears and 1968’s double-disc Wheels of Fire, and 1969’s Goodbye, a mix of live and studio recordings, followed after their split. Despite existing for only two years, Cream sold over 35 million records over their lifespan. Cream one of the period’s biggest bands. His self-penned instrumental “Toad,” which was on the group’s debut album and credited as one of the first rock drum solos on record, became a concert centerpiece, often stretching to 20 minutes.

With Cream in the rearview mirror, Baker and Clapton started another blues-rock supergroup, Blind Faith – featuring bassist Ric Grech and Traffic keguitarist Steve Winwood — in 1968. The band burned out even quicker than Cream, releasing a 1969 self-titled album and undergoing one tour before going their separate ways. In 1972, Baker released two solo albums, Ginger Baker at His Best and Stratavarious, in which he dabbled in jazz fusion and Afrobeat.

From 1980 onward, Baker briefly joined space-rock agitators Hawkwind, one of over a dozen drummers in the band’s history. “Ginger fitted the band like a glove,” their guitarist Huw Lloyd-Langton said in the 2004 biography The Sage of Hawkwind. “His style was just right for it.” During the dawn of metal, Cream’s heavy blues was sometimes cited as an influence, which made Baker irate.

Baker went on to stretch beyond blues-rock, playing on Public Image Ltd.’s 1986 album Album and in a jazz trio with Bill Frisell and Charlie Haden. In 2009, he published an autobiography, Hellraiser: The Autobiography of the World’s Greatest Drummer. He stayed behind the kit until heart issues laid him low in 2016. “Just seen doctor… big shock,” he wrote on his official blog. “No more gigs for this old drummer. Everything is off. Of all things, I never thought it would be my heart.”

Cream

Cream, live at the Sports Arena, San Diego on 20th October 1968 Worn out by touring and personal disagreements, Cream agreed to disband after a farewell tour in October 1968. Recorded in outstanding fidelity for broadcast on KPRO-FM, this outstanding gig features a cross-section of their best-loved material, and clearly indicates why they were regarded as the pre-eminent rock band of their day. It’s presented here together with background notes and images.

Cream were a 1960s British rock power trio consisting of drummer Ginger Baker, guitarist/singer Eric Clapton and bassist/singer Jack Bruce. The group’s third album, “Wheels of Fire” (1968), was the world’s first platinum-selling double album. The band is widely regarded as the world’s first successful supergroup. In their career, they sold more than 15 million copies of their albums worldwide. Their music included songs based on traditional blues such as “Crossroads” and “Spoonful”, and modern blues such as “Born Under a Bad Sign”, as well as more current material such as “Strange Brew”, “Tales of Brave Ulysses” and “Toad”.

Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals Jack Bruce – bass, vocals Ginger Baker – drums, percussion

2LP – Double 180 Gram Red and Purple Marbled Vinyl in Hand Numbered Gatefold Sleeve. Limited to 1000 Copies.

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting

Bomp, bomp, bomp, bomp, bomp I feel free…Jack Bruce’s voice in this is great and sets the tone of the song. The song charted in the UK at #11 in 1967.

British poet Pete Brown had helped the band write the lyrics. Brown, who was a beat poet, had worked with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce before. He also wrote lyrics to “Sunshine Of Your Love” and “White Room.” Eric Clapton played a borrowed Les Paul guitar on this track, as his Beano one had been stolen during album rehearsals. It was plugged into a new, 100-watt Marshall amp.

This was the second single from Cream, who despite the rather modest reception to their first single, “Wrapping Paper,” were almost guaranteed success in England based on what their members had done with other groups. Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce had been in The Graham Bond Organization, and Eric Clapton was in The Yardbirds. and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.

This was one of the first times Eric Clapton used what he called the “Woman Tone.” He turned the amp all the way up, boosted the treble, cut the bass, and played a sustained guitar note.

Al Kooper’s Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards says right there on page 82 that Cream’s American debut was a ten-day stage show starting March 25th, 1967, called “Murray the K’s Easter Rock Extravaganza.” He recounts an exchange between himself and Cream member Ginger Baker, asking “What do you think of America so far?” Baker replied, “How the f–k should I know? I’ve only been ‘ere thirty-five f–king minutes, ‘aven’t I?” Kooper reports that their relationship went uphill from there: “By the last night of the show, we were throwing eggs and whipped cream at each other, that old American rock ‘n’ roll ritual that denotes mutual respect.”

Live… Stockholm 1967

Cream, live at the Konserhuset, Stockholm, Sweden November 14th 1967. Just after the release of Disraeli Gears, Cream embarked on a Scandinavian tour on November 11th 1967, following dates in Denmark and Finland, they reached Sweden on the 14th. This explosive set, broadcast on Sveriges radio, was performed at Stockholm s Konserthuset that night, and captures them at their peak, stretching out on a selection of classics old and new. It s presented in full here, together with background notes and images.

Setlist:

1. Tales Of Brave Ulysses 2. Sunshine Of Your Love 3. Sleepy Time Time 4. Steppin Out 5. Traintime 6. Toad 7. I m So Glad