Posts Tagged ‘Eric Clapton’

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Blind Faith is the self-titled and only album by the English supergroup Blind Faith, originally released in 1969 on Polydor Records in the United Kingdom and Europe and on Atlantic Records in the United States. The band contained two-thirds of the popular power trio Cream, in Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton, working in collaboration with multi instrumentalist Steve Winwood of the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic, along with Ric Grech of Family. They began to work out songs early in 1969, and in February and March the group was in London at Morgan Studios, preparing for the beginnings of basic tracks for their album, although the first few almost-finished songs didn’t show up until they were at Olympic Studios in April and May under the direction of producer Jimmy Miller.

The recording of their album was interrupted by a tour of Scandinavia, then a US tour from July through August, supported by Free, Taste and Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. Nevertheless the band was able to produce two hits, Winwood’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” and Clapton’s “Presence of the Lord”.

The album cover featured a topless pubescent girl holding what appears to be the hood ornament of a Chevrolet Bel Air, which some perceived as phallic. The American record company issued it with an alternative cover showing a photograph of the band on the front as well as the original cover. The cover art was created by photographer Bob Seidemann, a friend and former flatmate of Clapton’s who is primarily known for his photos of Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead. In the mid-1990s, in an advertising circular intended to help sell lithographic reprints of the famous album cover, he explained his thinking behind the image. I could not get my hands on the image until out of the mist a concept began to emerge. To symbolize the achievement of human creativity and its expression through technology a spaceship was the material object. To carry this new spore into the universe, innocence would be the ideal bearer, a young girl, a girl as young as Shakespeare’s Juliet. The spaceship would be the fruit of the tree of knowledge and the girl, the fruit of the tree of life. The spaceship could be made by Mick Milligan, a jeweller at the Royal College of Art. The girl was another matter. If she were too old it would be cheesecake, too young and it would be nothing. The beginning of the transition from girl to woman, that is what I was after. That temporal point, that singular flare of radiant innocence. Where is that girl? . Seidemann wrote that he approached a girl reported to be 14 years old on the London Underground about modelling for the cover, and eventually met with her parents, but that she proved too old for the effect he wanted. Instead, the model he used was her younger sister Mariora Goschen, who was reported to be 11 years old Mariora initially requested a horse as a fee but was instead paid £40.

The image, titled “Blind Faith” by Seidemann, became the inspiration for the name of the band itself, which had been unnamed when the artwork was commissioned. According to Seidemann: “It was Eric who elected to not print the name of the band on the cover. The name was instead printed on the wrapper, when the wrapper came off, so did the type.” This had been done previously for several other albums.
In America, Atco Records made a cover based on elements from a flyer for the band’s Hyde Park concert of 7th June 1969 in London.

Steve Winwood plays an acoustic version of Blind Faith’s  “Can’t Find My Way Home”

Critically, Blind Faith was met with a mixed response. Reviewing in August 1969 for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau found none of the songs exceptional and said, “I’m almost sure that when I’m through writing this I’ll put the album away and only play it for guests. Unless I want to hear Clapton — he is at his best here because he is kept in check by the excesses of Winwood, who is rapidly turning into the greatest wasted talent in the music. There. I said it and I’m glad.” In Ed Leimbacher said of the quality, “not as much as I’d hoped, yet better than I’d expected.” His colleagues at the magazine — Lester Bangs and John Morthland — were more impressed, especially Bangs in his appraisal of Clapton: “[With] Blind Faith, Clapton appears to have found his groove at last. Every solo is a model of economy, well- thought-out and well-executed with a good deal more subtlety and reeling than we have come to expect from Clapton.

Retrospective appraisals have been positive. According to Stereo Review in 1988, “for 20 years this has been a cornerstone in any basic rock library. AllMusic’s Bruce Eder regarded the album as “one of the jewels of the Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, and Ginger Baker catalogs” In 2016 ,Blind Faith was ranked 14th on Rolling Stone list of “The 40 Greatest One Album Wonders”, which described “Can’t Find My Way Home” and “Presence of the Lord” as “incredible songs”.

The Band:

  • Steve Winwood – keyboards, vocals, guitars; bass guitar on “Presence of the Lord”, autoharp on “Sea of Joy”,
  • Eric Clapton – guitars; vocals on “Do What You Like”
  • Ric Grech – bass guitar, violin on “Sea of Joy”; vocals on “Do What You Like”
  • Ginger Baker – drums, percussion; vocals on “Do What You Like”

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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.”

For over two decades, “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” was a lost film, unfinished and unseen, more rumor than pop culture memory. In theory, it captured a lot of what anyone might desire in a rock ‘n’ roll movie from London circa 1968: the Stones, the Who, John Lennon, Eric Clapton and more.

On a sound stage designed like the inside of a circus big top, each of the musicians performed at the height of their powers while mingling with trapeze artists, fire-eaters and other semi-dazzling acts from a traveling circus. “The clowns and the Rolling Stones got along very well,” recalls the film’s director, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, 78.

Yet the film’s planned television premiere was delayed indefinitely for one reason: The Stones thought the Who’s performance was better.

It took 28 years, but the Stones came around in time for Lindsay-Hogg to finish the legendary rock film for a 1996 premiere at the New York Film Festival and release on home video. “You had these little explosions of greatness in the room,” says Lindsay-Hogg of the two-day shoot, “and the Rolling Stones recognized that.”

Now, in time for the North American leg of the Stones’ ongoing No Filter Tour, “Circus” has been remastered for a limited U.S. theatrical run during the first week of April. Last week, Lindsay-Hogg, who now lives in Los Angeles, attended a private screening in Hollywood of the film, recast in vivid Dolby Vision color and Dolby Atmos sound.

“I was thrilled by it anew, which I hadn’t been for a long time,” says Lindsay-Hogg, whose career began in England as director on the ’60s music show “Ready Steady Go!,” where the camerawork could be as frenzied as the acts onstage.

He also directed music videos for the Stones, Beatles and the Who, and made the intimate Beatles documentary “Let It Be.” In the pipeline is a long-awaited restoration of the 1970 Beatles film, which will follow an entirely new film being assembled from the same 55 hours of footage by New Zealand director Peter Jackson. Attending the “Circus” screening was Brett Morgen, director of 2015’s acclaimed “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” and his own Stones documentary, 2012’s “Crossfire Hurricane.” In an onstage Q&A with Lindsay-Hogg following the film, Morgen celebrated the filmmaker’s essential work with these epochal musical figures.

“The man defined the image that so many of us have of the Stones and the Beatles,” Morgen said in an interview with The Times. “He created a new language. You look at the ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ video and what he did is as innovative as what Busby Berkeley did to the musical.”

In “Circus,” the Stones performed several songs from the just-completed “Beggar’s Banquet,” the first of four consecutive album milestones that defined the band’s greatest work. There was also Lennon leading a supergroup he called the Dirty Mac, with Eric Clapton on guitar, Keith Richards on bass, and drummer Mitch Mitchell from the Jimi Hendrix Experience performing a new Beatles song, “Yer Blues.” Yoko Ono then joined for an improvisational jam. Other performers included Marianne Faithfull, Taj Mahal and Jethro Tull. The Who’s playful reading of the mini-rock opera “A Quick One While He’s Away” was close to perfect. Jagger had personally invited all of them.

“In those days, rock ‘n’ roll bands would arrive late. You’d schedule something for 1 and they’d arrive at 4,” recalls Lindsay-Hogg. “But on this particular day, because they all respected each other, everybody was on time.”

A London sound stage was rented and Lindsay-Hogg hired the best camera operators from “Ready Steady Go!” The production also used experimental cameras from France, which shot both 16mm film and provided a video feed to the control room. Aside from having to change film canisters every 10 minutes, the new cameras frequently stopped working. “When one of the cameras had broken down for the 11th time that day, we had a little break,” the director recalls. The musicians would then retreat to their dressing rooms. “I went backstage to see how everybody was, and they were all sitting in a room – John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton – playing blues on guitar and harmonica. Keith Moon was playing spoons on a table.”

The Stones didn’t get onstage to perform until 2 a.m. It was the final live appearance of guitarist Brian Jones, dazed and fading from drug abuse, but still able to re-create his heartbreaking slide guitar lines on “No Expectations.”

Within months of filming, Jones left the band and drowned soon after. Jagger went to Australia to star in “Ned Kelly.” Lindsay-Hogg traveled to California to work on a film. The momentum of the era pushed its participants forward, but somehow left “Circus” behind until the footage was rediscovered in the ’90s.

Lindsay-Hogg continued working with the Stones through the early 1980s, directing several music videos, from “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)” to “Waiting on a Friend.” He turned his attention to feature films, TV specials and directing theater, though he remains friendly with the Stones. “We knew each other when we were kids,” he says now. “It wasn’t my nature to hang ’round if I didn’t have to. In a funny way, I think they respected that. I was happy to just be working with them.”

Image result for CREAM - Live At Oakland Coliseum Ca. October 4th, 1968 poster

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. In October 1968 Cream were pretty much coming to an end, apart from the remaining tour dates which would end with two final shows at the Royal Albert Hall in London on the 26th November. Mentally they all knew the musical journey they had embarked on in 1966 was coming to an end. Including this show, they would have 20 dates left until the end of Cream as a band.

The band is widely regarded as the world’s first successful super-group. 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”. The band’s biggest hits were “I Feel Free” (UK number 11), “Sunshine of Your Love” (US number 5), “White Room” (US number 6), “Crossroads” (US number 28), and “Badge” (UK number 18).

The band made a significant impact on the popular music of the time, and, along with Jimi Hendrix and other notable guitarists and bands, popularised the use of the wah-wah pedal. They provided a heavy yet technically proficient musical theme that foreshadowed and influenced the emergence of British bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. They also had an impact on American southern rock groups the Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Recorded barely a month before the band’s much ballyhooed “Farewell Performance” at the Royal Albert Hall in November 1968, this October 4th show provides sound documentation of the monumental impact Cream had on the world of rock ‘n’ roll in the late 1960s and early ’70s.

The band opened the set with “White Room” which at this point in time was the standard setlist opener. Before the band launch into the song you can hear the excitement and anticipation in the crowd right up until that opening G minor chord rings out through the coliseum. It’s a good version but you can tell the band are still warming up to begin with, at least until Eric’s roaring solo three quarters of the way through this performance. That wah-wah tone is fantastic, and everything you associate with Cream during 1968. White Room is followed by Politician and Jack is the runaway star here, he really sings like a man possessed.

Crossroads is the third song and this is probably the biggest difference when compared to the famous version recorded at Winterland on the 10th March 1968. What you hear here is a slower version and as a result it lacks any of the fire the Winterland version contains. The song plods along more than it flows, however it does picks up when Clapton takes up his first solo. It doesn’t help that the song started slower than it was meant to and when you jump to the end you can instantly hear that the tempo has increased as the song has gone on, and as a result the song ends better than it started.

When you think of Sunshine Of Your Love as a live song, you think of the length of the song and what the band did in that space of time. It was common for the band to jam on Sunshine for over 10 minutes but during the US Farewell tour of 1968 the song was considerably shorter. This version clocks in at just over 5 minutes but thankfully it contains just as much fire as a 10 or 15 minute version. Eric’s playing on this song was always fantastic during his time in Cream and here is no different, with his unique tone hitting those familiar breathtaking heights. You do feel like the song could have gone on for longer. Spoonful follows and there’s no worrying about this being shorter. Standing at 17 minutes in length, it doesn’t get any better than this. Spoonful is a song that probably best showcases Cream as a band and as a live unit. That riff is infectious and you’re just waiting until the band switch into improvise mode . This was Cream at the top of their game, no-one could do jamming and improvising as well.

Deserted Cities Of The Heart comes next, from the then recently released Wheels Of Fire album. This particular version featured on the Live Cream Vol. 2 album released in 1972 (as does White Room and Politician) and contains an explosive solo from Eric. It’s followed by Passing The Time/Toad but only the music from the former features, not including the basic backing vocals which Jack and Eric sing together. But before Passing The Time gets going the guitar and bass cut out and you’re left with eight and a half minutes of Toad. It is sometimes tough to listen to long versions of Toad drummer Ginger Baker was and will always be and why he deserves to be named up there alongside the best drummers of all time. The audience erupts out of satisfaction when Toad comes to an end. The last song, I’m So Glad, begins after a short comment from Ginger in which he says the following:  We must apologise for being a little rusty. We’ve all been on holiday. Thank you very much. We’re now going to do I’m So Glad, thank you.

Ginger’s comments definitely make sense after a fairly scratchy Crossroads and a shorter than usual Sunshine Of Your LoveYou get the feeling Eric and Jack take notice though because I’m So Glad is a step up in playing compared to the rest of the show.Overall it’s a great bootleg album, Saying that though this certainly isn’t the best show that Cream played, especially when you compare it to other shows like Winterland from the 10th March 1968 or the unbeatable Grande Ballroom shows the band played in October 1967.

For energy, virtuosity and expressive cohesion, few bands could top Cream in their heyday; and perhaps fewer can today. The group, for all their professional and personal conflicts, were still able to fill any performance space with a richness and a soulfulness that was distinctively their own.

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

Setlist: 1. White Room 2. Politician 3. Crossroads 4. Sunshine of Your Love 5. Spoonful 6. Deserted Cities of the Heart 7. Passing the Time 8. I’m So Glad 9. Crossroads (*) 10. Sunshine of Your Love (*) (*) Recorded at the Forum, Los Angeles, on November 18, 1968

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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Jim Gordon has played drums on hundreds of hit records, with artists ranging from the Beach Boys to Tom Petty, George Harrison to Hall & Oates to Linda Ronstadt. But you won’t find any gold records hanging in his place of residence: For more than three decades now, Jim Gordon has been locked up, for the crime of fatally stabbing his own mother. His story is one of the great tragedies of the rock world.

It happened on June 3rd, 1983. Gordon attacked his mother, Osa Marie Gordon, first with a hammer before grabbing the butcher knife. He later claimed that voices in his head told him to kill her. Sentenced to 16 years to life in prison, he has repeatedly been denied parole; at one hearing he reportedly refused to admit that his mother was even dead. Diagnosed with schizophrenia after his conviction, he remains, according to prison authorities, a threat. He currently spends his days and nights in the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, California.

It didn’t start out that way for Jim Gordon, of course. Born in July 1945, and raised in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, Gordon was awarded a music scholarship at age 17 and began his professional drumming career backing the Everly Brothers. His credits quickly mounted: the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, Glen Campbell’s Wichita Lineman, Van Dyke Parks’ Song Cycle, John Lennon’s Imagine, CSN’s debut and recordings by Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, B.B. King, Carly Simon, Alice Cooper, Traffic, the Monkees, Barbra Streisand, Jackson Browne, Merle Haggard, on and on and on.  At the height of his career Gordon was reportedly so busy as a studio musician that he flew back to Los Angeles from Las Vegas every day to do two or three recording sessions and then returned in time to play the evening show at Caesars Palace.

You can hear him on Ike and Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High,” Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,” Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire” (that drum solo!), Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown” and Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas.” He was, by any measure, a first-call drummer. it’s fairly amazing list of tracks.

Listen to George Harrison’s “What Is Life,” with Jim Gordon on drums. His greatest fame came via his involvement with Eric Clapton, who hired Gordon as a member of Derek and the Dominos, the supergroup put together by the guitar great in 1970, basically purloining the musicians who’d been working with soul-rockers Delaney and Bonnie. Gordon can be heard on the Dominos’ mega-popular album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs and performed with the band in concert during its brief time together. He is credited as the co-author (with Clapton) of the classic title track “Layla” and created the song’s familiar piano coda.  In later years, Bobby Whitlock claimed that the coda was not written by Gordon: “Jim took that piano melody from his ex-girlfriend Rita Coolidge. I know because in the D&B days I lived in John Garfield’s old house in the Hollywood Hills and there was a guest house with an upright piano in it. Rita and Jim were up there in the guest house and invited me to join in on writing this song with them called ‘Time.’... Her sister Priscilla wound up recording it with Booker T. Jones.Jim took the melody from Rita’s song and didn’t give her credit for writing it.

(The group’s members also appear on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, also from 1970.)

That same busy year of 1970, Gordon toured with Joe Cocker’s heralded Mad Dogs & Englishmen troupe and played on Dave Mason’s Alone Together album and much more. But it didn’t take long for things to unravel for him once that decade kicked in; when he wasn’t in the studio or onstage, Gordon’s demons got the better of him. While on tour with Cocker, Gordon allegedly beat his then-girlfriend, singer Rita Coolidge, in a hotel.

Gordon was also part of Frank Zappa’s 20-piece ‘Grand Wazoo’ big band and the subsequent 10-piece ‘Petit Wazoo’ band. Perhaps his best-known recording with Zappa is the title track of the 1974 album Apostrophe (‘), a jam with Zappa and Tony Duran on guitar and Jack Bruce on bass guitar, for which both Bruce and Gordon received a writing credit (Zappa, when introducing Gordon onstage, frequently referred to him as “Skippy”, because of his youthful appearance).

Although Gordon continued to find work as the ’70s rolled on, with Johnny Rivers, Frank Zappa, Chris Hillman (Gordon was a charter member of the Souther-Hillman-Furay supergroup) and others, his erratic behavior was becoming well known among music business regulars. Misdiagnosed by his doctors, who treated him for alcoholism and missed the schizophrenia altogether, Gordon became increasingly violent as his mental illness took hold of him. By the middle of the decade, it had begun to affect his playing and he lost work.

Prior to his murder of his mother, Gordon reportedly heard her voice in his head, and on that horrible 1983 day he finally let the voices take him to that very dark place. His lawyers tried an insanity defense but the court wouldn’t allow it. He was convicted of murder and sentenced in July 1984. As of this writing he is 73, his future prospects looking dim. As recently as 2018, still diagnosed with schizophrenia, Gordon was denied parole again. He will have another chance in 2021.

Whatever might happen to the man, though, his contribution to rock music should be forever cherished. With but a dim possibility for parole, Jim Gordon is the man rock- and-roll forgot. Except, perhaps, for one brief moment on February. 24th, 1993, when, along with Eric Clapton, he was awarded the rock songwriting Grammy for ”Layla”.

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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.”

Eric Clapton / Give Me Strength The '74/'75 Recordings Box Set

Give Me Strength: The ’74/’75 Recordings is a 5CD+ Blu-ray Audio box set that celebrates the period between April 1974 and June 1975 when Eric Clapton produced the studio albums 461 Ocean Boulevard and There’s One In Every Crowd, as well as the live double set E.C. Was Here.

All three of those albums are included in this box set are remastered, expanded form, and all include previously unreleased session outtakes or unheard live performances.

461 Ocean Boulevard includes four previously released outtakes (including a couple of versions of Getting Acquainted), whilst amongst the bonus offerings on There’s One In Every Crowd are two unreleased session tracks Burial and Fools Like Me, and both sides of the Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door single.

E.C. Was Here is not only remastered, but REMIXED, and expanded across two CDs, with numerous unissued extras such as versions of Layla, Crossroads and Little Wing.

The fifth CD is taken up with Clapton’s sessions with blues guitarist and singer Freddie King. Originally recorded for King’s Burglar album, four tracks are featured here, including a previously unreleased 22-minute version of Gambling Woman Blues

Rare and out-of-print 5-CD/1 blu-ray audio disc box set featuring:

  • A 60-page hardbound book with extensive liner notes and packed with rare photos and behind-the-scene images.
  • Rare, unreleased outtakes from 461 Ocean Boulevard and There’s One In Every Crowd.
  • E.C. Was Here remixed and expanded features live tracks from Long Beach Arena (including unreleased versions of CrossroadsI Shot The SheriffLayla and Little Wing), the Hammersmith Odeon, Nassau Coliseum and Providence Civic Center.
  • The Freddie King Criteria Studio Sessions featuring the previously unreleased versions of ‘Boogie Funk‘ and the full unreleased 22 minute version of ‘Gambling Woman Blues.’
  • A blu-ray disc featuring a new 5.1 Surround Sound mix of 461 Ocean Boulevard and original quadrophonic mixes of 461 Ocean Boulevard and There’s One In Every Crowd.