Posts Tagged ‘Cream’

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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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Fresh Cream is the debut studio album by the British rock band Cream. The album was released in the UK on 9th December 1966, as the first LP on the Reaction Records label, owned by producer Robert Stigwood. The UK album was released in both mono and stereo versions, at the same time as the release of the single “I Feel Free”

Given the reputations of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, the feverishly anticipated debut album from this power trio was always going to struggle to live up to expectations. And even though it didn’t, it is still one of the most important albums in 60s blues rock, and its influence on what came afterwards is immense. “Fresh Cream” is a melting pot of ideas, many of which would subsequently be developed and combined with flair and vision to some stunning effect in the following decade. There’s the colourful, musically informed psychedelic pop of Dreaming; the stripped-down, energetic Rollin’ And Tumblin’ powered along by Bruce’s bluesy wailing vocal and honking harmonica; a bouncy reworking of Robert Johnson’s Four Until Late; and six and a half minutes of Willie Dixon’s Spoonful on which Cream give a taste of their improvisational skills and Clapton shows flashes of real brilliance.

The real rough diamond, though, is Sweet Wine, in which Clapton gradually builds a dense, swirling psychedelic cloud of feedback and sustain that remains as stunning today as it was original then. Bass player Jack Bruce later said that the opening song “N.S.U.” was written for the band’s first rehearsal. “It was like an early punk song… the title meant “non-specific urethritis. It didn’t mean an NSU Quickly – which was one of those little 1960s mopeds. I used to say it was about a member of the band who had this venereal disease. I can’t tell you which one… except he played guitar.”

Fresh Cream and Cream were the sparks that ignited the blues rock explosion, and without them who knows how many of rock’s family jewels would not exist today.

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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.

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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

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New releases for this week Kamasi Washington 4LP set, we’ve not managed to give it a full listen yet but what we’ve heard so far sounds really good. There is a brand new Nine Inch Nails album is also out tomorrow, we’ve heard just one track but can’t wait to get stuck into it tomorrow. If you missed out on the limited green vinyl for the Sleep album, now’s the chance to get the black vinyl LP version, it’s now in stock.

Also out are new albums from Panic At The Disco, Princess Nokia, Gang Gang Dance, Soulwax, and our favourites The Wave Pictures, an EP from Stella Donnelly . The best of the weeks releases are some really good reissues out tomorrow too from The Cure, Garbage, King Crimson, The Pogues. 

Stellaps

Stella Donnelly –  Thrush Metal EP

The Thrush Metal EP originally came out last year, self-released by the artist on tape and digitally. Stella Donnelly quickly became one of Australia’s buzziest young singer-songwriters and now Secretly Canadian release the EP on Vinyl. Boys Will Be Boys is the standout track. Atop delicate, singsongy acoustic fingerpicking, Donnelly confronts a man who raped her friend and takes to task the accompanying victim-blaming. “Why was she all alone? / Wearing her shirt that low / And they said boys will be boys / Deaf to the word no,” she coos in the chorus, a slight vibrato flaring up at the corners of her lovely voice.

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 Warmduscher. – Whale City

The second album from Warmduscher. South London recidivists Warmduscher include members of Paranoid London, Fat White Family and Childhood. There is power in repetition. Longtime Warmduscher biographer Dr Alan Goldfarb describes Whale City as “a rock opera so vast in magnitude that – were in not for my being strapped naked to a chair in a garage – could send a man hurtling towards the outer perimeters of uncharted space.” It’s difficult to argue with. The characters that inhabit Whale City are, as the title suggests, larger than most aquatic life forms. A cast of millions. Pretty Lilly, Whale Jimmy, Uncle Sleepover, Ice Cream Keith, Disco Minny. The people you walk by late at night with bottles in their hands and money in their pockets. The woman with bright red lipstick and straight razor smiles. Thrill seekers to a person. Powerful. Intoxicated. Intoxicating. In the words of Clams Baker, Whale City is “a playground for the people that have stepped above and beyond their comfort zone.” What are you waiting for? If you love the repetition of the Fall, the chaos of Fat White Family and own a Pebbles or Nuggets compilations – then this a must have.

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The Wave Pictures  –  Brushes with Happiness

As one of the UK’s most prolific and beloved bands, it has become expected – nay, the fans have demanded – that The Wave Pictures release several albums a year. This year, they are releasing two albums and they’re kindly letting us know well in advance, so that we can set our calendars and save our pennies in anticipation. Starting with the spontaneous, recorded in one-day, minor-key, epic masterpiece that is Brushes with Happiness in June, the trio of Jonny Helm (drums), Dave Tattersall (guitar and vocals) and Franic Rozycki (bass), will be following up with a more up-beat party album, Look Inside Your Heart in October. Brushes With Happiness sees The Wave Pictures in contemplative and expansive mood. Mellower and more reflective than last year’s rock’n’roll surf-garage-rock collaboration with Charles Watson from Slow Club, as new band The Surfing Magazines, or 2016’s blues driven Bamboo Diner in the Rain or 2015’s Billy Childish produced Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon. This album is more akin to 2016’s acoustic release A Season in Hull, which, like Brushes With Happiness, was recorded live in one room in a single January day.

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Nine Inch Nails  – Bad Witch

Nine Inch Nails release Bad Witch, completing the trilogy that began with 2016’s Not The Actual Events and 2017’s Add Violence., Nine Inch Nails will launch COLD AND BLACK AND INFINITE NORTH AMERICA 2018 on September 13 with support The Jesus and Mary Chain. The band will bring their “musical, visual, emotional sensory onslaught,” as hailed by The New York Times, to some of the most iconic venues in the USA.

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Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson  –  Apart

Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson’s 5 Track EP Apart is the follow up to their critically-acclaimed 2009 album Break Up. The EP features four brand new recordings and a new version of Tomorrow, a song that originally appeared on Yorn’s last album, 2016’s ArrangingTime. Scarlett Johansson adds, “Being able to revisit this project with Pete in a totally different context but within the same creative parameters is a unique artistic opportunity for me. It is always a pleasure to sing with Pete because I think our voices and stories complement each other.”

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The Cure  –  Mixed Up

A reissue and remastered version of the Cure’s 1990 remix album Mixed Up. Featuring 11 remixes of their hits including; Lullaby, Close to Me, Pictures of You, Love Song and Why Can’t I be You?

3CD – Expanded Deluxe Edition with a second CD of long deleted remixes from 1982 to 1990 and a third CD containing 16 brand new Remixes done by himself, Torn Down: Mixed Up Extras 2018.

CD – Standard CD Version.

2LP – Double 180 Gram Vinyl housed in Gatefold Sleeve with Download. Half Speed Double Vinyl Mastered by Robert Smith and Tim Young at Metropolis Studios, London.

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Cream –  Live In Detroit ‘67

Cream, live at the Grande Ballroom, Detroit, MA on October 15th 1967. White-hot from two months of touring the US, Cream played this remarkable show shortly before the release of Disraeli Gears. Regarded by some as the finest live document of the trio in existence, it typifies their explosive chemistry, with some outrageous wah-wah from Clapton, thunderous bass from Jack Bruce, and virtuoso drumming from Ginger Baker. This show from Detroit’s Grande Ballroom on October 15th 1967, originally broadcast on WRIF-FM, is presented in full here, together with background notes and images.

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Spacemen 3  – For All The Fucked Up Children of This World We Give You

Space Age Recordings are pleased to announce the first official limited edition vinyl release of the album For All The Fucked Children Of This World We Give You Spacemen 3 (Sonic Boom a.ka. Peter Kember (Spectrum / E.A.R.) and Jason Pierce (Spiritualized). For All the Fucked Up Children from the neo-psychedelic trio Spacemen 3 was first released as a bootleg record in 1995. The record consists of Spacemen 3’s first ever recording session from 1984. The music itself sounds like a primitive version of what the group were to become; the dominating sound of the record is a slow, droning psychedelic blues performed with sparse instrumentation. A drum set is matched with a pair of distorted electric guitars, all of which provide a swirling foundation for Jason Pierce’s vocals. The album’s liner notes replicated here are actually an early review of the band by Gary Boldie, where he contemplates the city of Rugby and finds it an odd source for this new sound, and he declares Spacemen 3 as the “all singing, all dancing answer to the problems of a grey 1985.”

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Sorry  –  Showgirl

Sorry are back with a new 7”, following their previous 7” singles, Wished / Lies from last year and2 Down 2 Dance earlier in the year. The ferocious Showgirl is the third and last instalment of the band’s early singles period, produced by Frank Ocean and James Blake collaborator Sean Oakley, who also helmed the band’s 2017 debut single, Lies. Showgirl is a sordid and seedy 90’s sounding nugget with breathy and addictive vocals and spidery guitar work. Sorry just keep getting better and better.

Today also saw the announcement of the new Mogwai album

There’s also new albums coming from Death Grips (with an indie stores only limited clear vinyl LP), The Jayhawks, The Pineapple Thief, The Internet, Menace Beach, Pram,Villagers, Bellini, Rise Against, Helena Hauff, Tirzah, Kate NashThe Amity Affliction, Wild Nothing

There are five Flaming Lips albums coming back out that have not been on vinyl for years. We have the next Tom Waits reissue out on 13th July with ‘Foreign Affairs’ . There’s a set of Moody Blues 180g vinyl reissue coming soon, some of which will feature bonus tracks for the first time. and U2 wade in with three strong albums in ‘Achtung Baby’, ‘Zooropa’ and ‘The Best Of: 1980-1990’.  Also coming soon are reissues from Mick Ronson, REMand a ‘Best Of’ fromThe Libertines.

This Week’s Releases

The Cure – ‘Mixed Up’ black vinyl 2LP reissue
The Cure – ‘Torn Down’ black vinyl 2LP reissue

Stella Donnelly – ‘Thrush Metal’ 12″ EP
Richard Edwards – ‘Verdugo’ limited coloured vinyl LP
Richard Edwards – ‘Verdugo’ LP

Field Division – ‘Dark Matters Dream’ silver vinyl LP
Gang Gang Dance – ‘Kazuashita’ limited red vinyl LP
Garbage – ‘Version 2.0’ limited deluxe 3LP box set
Garbage – ‘Version 2.0’ orange vinyl 2LP reissue

King Crimson – ‘Discipline’ LP reissue
Danni Minogue – ‘Neon Nights’ 2LP reissue
The Nextmen vs Gentlemen’s Dub Club – ‘Pound For Pound’ LP
Nine Inch Nails – ‘Bad Witch’ LP
The Orb – No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds’ 2LP
Panic At The Disco – ‘Pray For The Wicked’ LP

The Pogues – ‘The Best Of’ LP reissue
Princess Nokia – ‘A Girl Cried Red’ limited red vinyl LP
Sleep – ‘The Sciences’ black vinyl LP
Soulwax – ‘Essential’ 2LP
Spacemen 3 – ‘For All The Fucked Up Children Of  This World’ LP reissue
Various Artists – ‘The Songs Of Elton John & Bernie Taupin’ 2LP
Kamasi Washington – ‘Heaven & Earth’ 4LP set
The Wave Pictures – ‘Brushes With Happiness’ limited coloured vinyl LP

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Wooden Shjips  –  V

Wooden Shjips, long-time leaders of the contemporary psychedelic movement, expand their sound with V. On their fifth album the quartet of Ripley Johnson (Moon Duo), Omar Ahsanuddin, Dusty Jermier, and Nash Whalen augment their already rich sound with laid back, classic summer songs. Inspired by the tumult of the modern world, and the desire to offer a contrasting vision of peace, the band has created a record that lters their trademark hypnotic grooves through an optimistic lens, resulting in music that is bright and vital. Each song shimmers with a distinctly Wooden Shjips sound, a relaxed summer vibe. This was a conscious choice, an atmospheric goal that in uenced nearly every detail: the tones, the delay types and reverbs used, as well as the synthesizer elements that color the songs. The band’s members collectively share a love of classic rock from the Velvet Underground to Neil Young, as well as more overt love of the San Francisco scene of the 60’s. This commonality in their formative musical years binds them even as they live in different cities. Wooden Shjips has with V. created the most concise, laid back songs of their career. Their music is a balm of sorts, a respite from the insanity that, through its regenerative abilities, empowers continued, calm resistance. A reminder of the simple power of peace and beauty, V. is brimming with optimism and a peaceful energy, aptly timed for release at the height of spring.

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Halo Maud  –  ” Je Suis Une Île “

Halo Maud’s first release on Heavenly is a recap of the story so far ahead of an album release later this year – three tracks of this EP originally came out on a Canadian label last year, with the difference that Du Pouvoir now features some English lyrics, and À La Fin andDans La Nuit cropped up on a La Souterraine compilations in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Maud Nadal has been a member of both Moodoïd and Melody’s Echo Chamber’s live bands, and of course at times there are comparisons to be drawn with Melody’s Echo Chamber, with both teetering on a crystalline peak where extreme joy and despair meet. But if anything Nadal’s own melodies are even more indelible, and her voice turns them into vapour trails.

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Gretchen Peters – Dancing With The Beast

Dancing with the Beast, the new album from Gretchen Peters, puts female characters at the fore, from teenage girls to old women. And intentionally so. With the 2017 Women’s March and the #MeToo Movement as bookends to her writing time, Peters knew that a feminist perspective would be the critical core of the record. She admits, “You can trace the feminist DNA in my songwriting back to ‘Independence Day’ and probably before. The thing that 2017 did is just put it front and center.” Though Peters doesn’t consider herself a political writer, she is politically minded and, therefore, knew she had to address the 2016 election and all that has happened since… but in her own way. There’s a bittersweet beauty to the passing of time – the changes it brings are just as often heartbreaking as they are heartwarming. The inevitable tension that arises from that sway is Gretchen Peters‘ most trusted muse. With melody supporting that melancholy, the songs on the new album combine to lift the effort over the high artistic bar set by her last outing, 2015’s award-winning Blackbirds.

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Wand  –  Perfume

If the emblem of Wand’s Plum was the stark blue cloud a condensation, a linking between longing molecules, data hungering for more data, a flotilla of vapor between eye and sky – then Wand’s new EP reeks of something more forceful, more seductive, more intoxicating, more insidious: this is Perfume. Here are six electric hues, shocks of light that flagrantly provoke the dark, a posy’s clutch of purple, fuchsia, green and snowy white that curl against a stench of plague. Recorded between tours and fire seasons in Grass Valley, CA by Tim Green, Perfume’s potent, expansive tunes were mixed in Woodstock, NY by Daniel James Goodwin. The band features Sofia Arreguin, Evan Burrows, Robbie Cody, Cory Hanson and Lee Landey. There’s a kind of return here, a haunting, the deja vu you only take in through a curious nose. Your nose invites the world inside your skull. A familiar fragrance finds you when you thought you’d let a lover go, but it won’t linger like a lover, flickering away with the breeze toward a yawning future.

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Judee Sill  –  Songs of Rapture and Redemption: Rarities and Live

Judee Sill may not have been commercially successful in her short recording stint, but her influence looms large with recording artists such as Warren Zevon, Andy Partridge, Liz Phair, Beth Orton, Bill Callahan, Bonnie Prince Billy and more having covered her songs. The Turtles recorded Lady-O in 1969, two years before Sill’s 1971 debut album on Asylum Records contained that song. This brand new collection includes demos and live recordings that are making their debut on the vinyl format and have never sounded better. With new artwork, liner notes and deluxe packaging, this limited ROG release should not be missed.

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Cream –  BBC 1966 – 1967

Clapton, Bruce, and Baker are responsible for some of the most classic BBC live recordings of the 60s. Recorded for several different programs between November ’66 and October ’67 there are raw versions of classics likeStrange Brew, andTales Of Brave Ulysses, as well as great blues covers and a fascinating series of interviews with Clapton, these are essential live sets for any serious Cream collector. Limited edition splatter vinyl LP.

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The Smithereens  –  Covers

The Smithereens – Pat DiNizio, Jim Babjak, Mike Mesaros and Dennis Diken dip deep into their archives to present Covers, a tribute to the songs and the artists that shaped their career. The album presents a heavy dose of British Invasion paying homage to the Kinks, the Beatles, the Who and T. Rex. The Smithereens were also influenced by a fair number of homegrown heroes too including Springsteen, Sinatra, Iggy Pop, The Beach Boys and more. The Smithereens are known for writing and playing catchy 1960s-influenced power pop. The group gained publicity when the single Blood and Roses from its first album was included on the soundtrack for Dangerously Close, and the music video got heavy rotation on MTV. During the course of their career the Smithereens racked up 2 platinum albums and 1 gold record.

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Jenny Hval  – The Long Sleep

The follow-up to Jenny Hval’s acclaimed 2016 album Blood Bitch is The Long Sleep, an adventurous new EP that sees the Norwegian multidisciplinary artist embracing an instinctive, even subconscious, approach to creating meaning. In contrast to Hval’s more explicitly conceptual work, The Long Sleep foregrounds the act of composition itself, letting the melodies and structures reveal the other elements of the songs. All of the songs on the EP recycle the same compositional motives, but manipulate them into very different shapes that take them further and further out of their original, “life-like” context. Hval recorded The Long Sleep with longtime collaborator Havard Volden and producer Lasse Marhaug, along with an ace new supporting cast of talented players from the jazz world — Kyrre Laastad on percussion, Anja Lauvdal on piano, Espen Reinertsen on saxophone, and Eivind Lønning on trumpet. Hval calls them some of her favorite contemporary musicians, and their musical background helps to give the songs on The Long Sleep their intuitive, improvised feel.

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The Heads  –  RKT

Timely reissue of the first 3 releases The Heads put out on the Rocket label, from their first split 7” release (with Lilydamwhite) in 1998 to their much lauded Sessions 2 freakout 12” from 2002… compiled here in their remastered glory, the Heads were quite prolific back in the late 90s / early 00’s, and in between the Everybody Knows We Got Nowherealbum andUndersided album they released their jams and raw rehearsals via the burgeoning Rocket Label. Compiled here with extensive sleeve notes from Rocket founder Simon Healey, this limited 3LP (1000 copies) and 2CD (1000 copies) set captures the band at their most laconic and free… psychedelic sprawling morass or sound and aural distortion grooves akin drawing from their wide influences…also from simply plugging in and letting go. LP and CD both come with booklet

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Pink Floyd  –  BBC 1967 

Performing on 4 different dates in 1967, the year they released their first album, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, this is Pink Floyd at their early, psychedelic, and raw best. Their showing in May of that year, for the program The Look Of The Week, was probably the earliest live video recording of the group and includes amazing versions of Pow R. Toc H. and Astronomy Domine. Two more recordings for the program Top Gear, which showcased the underground hipster scene of London, and one for Tomorrow’s World round out this amazing collection of early Floyd, including great versions of Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Flaming and Vegetable Man. Essential live recordings of Pink Floyd during their greatest era! Limited edition splatter vinyl LP.

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Cream ‘Nineteen Sixty-Seven’ features a fantastic live recording made for Swedish radio in March 1967 and previously un-released BBC radio sessions. It provides a unique picture of Cream in-concert and live in the studio in the period leading up to their classic 1967 album Disraeli Gears.

TRACK LISTING:

01: N.S.U. / 02: Stepping Out / 03: Traintime / 04: Toad / 05: I’m So Glad / 06: Sleepy Time Time (“Saturday Club”, Recorded 8 November 1966 – Broadcasted 11 November 1966) / 07: I’m So Glad (“Saturday Club”, Recorded 8 November 1966 – Broadcasted 11 November 1966) / 08: Traintime (“Saturday Club”, Recorded 10 January 1967 – Broadcasted 14 January 1967) 09: Toad (“Saturday Club”, Recorded 10 January 1967 – Broadcasted 14 January 1967) / 10: Tales of Brave Ulysses (“Joe Loss Show”, 14 July 1967) / 11: Take it Back (“Joe Loss Show”, 14 July 1967)

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