Posts Tagged ‘Eric Clapton’

John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers w Eric Clapton

1966 – an age ago in football terms, but still a ridiculous year for music. The Kinks were blazing on a sunny afternoon while The Rolling Stones were painting it black, Dylan was having Visions Of Johanna, Otis Redding was writing the Dictionary Of Soul… The Beatles were reminding us Tomorrow Never Knows, while The Beach Boys were doing God Only Knows. Somewhere in amongst this tremendous crop of records, a fanatical 21-year-old guitarist who had turned his back on chart success with The Yardbirds a year earlier returned to express his heavily amplified love for the blues – and in the process, make an all-time-classic guitar album.

The band Eric Clapton joined in April of 1965, was led by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist John Mayall, had an ever-revolving cast and eventually, over 100 different line-ups performed under the Bluesbreakers moniker. Eric actually joined twice – he departed the Bluesbreakers in August to tour Greece with a band called The Glands before returning to the fold in November – but by March 1966, the band were ready to record and headed to Decca Studios with producer Mike Vernon.

Having moved on from his Yardbirds’ pairing of Telecaster through a Vox, Clapton instead turned to a 1960 Les Paul Standard through a Marshall Model 1962 2×12 combo, both turned up to full with the mic placed two feet from the amp, a Dallas Rangemaster treble booster and a blanket placed over the whole shebang. Clapton said he’d come across the sound accidentally, when trying to emulate Freddie King: “I would use the bridge pickup with all of the bass turned up, so the sound was very thick and on the edge of distortion. I also always used amps that would overload. Everything was on full and overloading” (though photos from the sessions show the Les Paul in middle position, too, and there are a variety of distinct tones on the record, implying Clapton varied his amp gain and treble to suit).

This pairing shook the studio to its foundations and the guitar world to its core for decades to come, and the ‘Beano’ Les Paul – stolen during rehearsals for Cream in 1966 – has become one of the guitar world’s Holy Grail instruments, with its performance on this record possibly even single-handedly saving the model itself from extinction.

But knowing what tone caps, neck profile, humbucker covers, amp settings, issue of The Beano he was holding on the cover or the length of Eric’s sideburns won’t get you close to the real essential ingredient behind all of the mythology: Clapton’s playing. Blending major and minor, unison bends and double stops, sustaining notes and feedback, the album’s solos were all recorded live (except for Stepping Out) and are packed with endless creativity, delivered with a perfect mix of edgy ferocity and fastidious precision. So if you want to improve your electric-blues phrasing and don’t know them already, it really is time to re-listen and learn the key licks…

Otis Rush’s swung minor blues single “All Your Love (I Miss Loving)” from 1958 featured not one but two timeless guitar figures: the uppercut single-finger slide up the E string to announce its main lick and the heavily vibrato’d three-finger A minor triad arpeggio at the beginning of the solo. Clapton reproduces both faithfully, before breaking into a strident solo that shows off the power and sustain of his newfound sound.

Eric was also in thrall to the fleet-fingered melodic charm of Freddie King and the cover of his “Hide Away” trades some of the bite of King’s staccato licks to instead emphasise the dynamic range of his Les Paul/Marshall combo. It’s a masterclass from start to finish, but if you only steal one thing, make it the looped major-key bends in the break at 1:30.

The John Mayall original “Have You Heard” may be sweetened by its Buddy Guy-influenced vocal falsetto, Hammond and horns, but its guitar solo is pure evil. Studio needles in the red, everything on full, at 3:25 a frantic Clapton rinses every squeal, slide, bend and drop of emotion out of his six strings in what, to this day, remains a career-high solo.

Finally, the Bluesbreakers’ high-octane reworking of Memphis Slim’s 1959 piano-blues instrumental “Steppin’ Out” (featuring a string-scraping solo by Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy) not only has one of the most satisfying silences in the blues (2:04), it also has one of its most exquisite examples of feedback (2:22). But the lick to learn is the trio of expressive, lightning-fast slides descending along the G string at 0:17: a subtle but expressive touch that shows Clapton’s playing was on a different level to everyone else at the time.

The Beano union was intense but short lived and when Eric Clapton saw Buddy Guy’s trio play live, he left to form a new ‘supergroup’ with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce, both of whom had previously played with Mayall. In December of the same year, when Cream released Fresh Cream, the world saw the guitarist who had burnished his reputation on the Beano album’s amped-up Chicago blues undergo another metamorphosis, launching his talent for extended improvisation into the realms of psychedelia.

Just as Clapton’s Yardbirds exit had paved the way for Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, his departure for Cream opened the door for John Mayall to showcase the talents of Mick Taylor and Peter Green – clearly, you could look under a rock in the mid 60s and find innovative guitarists teeming and clambering over one another.

But the Beano album is the mother lode of blues-rock guitar, and without its influence, a legion of guitarists – among them Peter Green, Gary Moore, Jeff Beck, Eddie Van Halen, Billy Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa, John Mayer, Stevie Ray Vaughan, even Hendrix – may have sounded quite different.

The band:

  • John Mayall, vocals, piano, organ, harmonica
  • Eric Clapton, guitar, vocals
  • John McVie, bass
  • Hughie Flint, drums
  • John Almond, sax
  • Alan Skidmore, tenor sax
  • Dennis Healey, trumpet
  • Gus Dudgeon, engineering

Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton performs on stage during Music For The Marsden 2020 at The O2 Arena on March 03, 2020 in London, England.

Eric Clapton has released his performance of “Badge” from the release of his “Crossroads Guitar Festival 2019”. (The title is coming in a variety of formats.) Following a six-year hiatus, the event once again summoned a classic rock all-star team for his fifth such festival, which was held at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, over two days on September 20-21. Among the highlights from the package include Jeff Beck’s cover of the Beach Boys’ “Caroline, No,” Clapton and Peter Frampton’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” tribute to George Harrison

The festival was also the launchpad for the global ‘Turn Up For Recovery’ movement, which is helping bring awareness of abstinence-based recovery and raise funds to provide treatment at Crossroads for those in need.

The 2019 concert event raised funds for the Crossroads Centre based in Antigua, the chemical dependency treatment and education facility that Clapton founded in 1998.

The two concerts featured performances by Clapton, Jeff Beck, Doyle Bramhall II, Gary Clark Jr., Robert Cray, Sheryl Crow, Andy Fairweather Low, Peter Frampton, Vince Gill, Buddy Guy, Los Lobos, John Mayer, Keb’ Mo’, Bonnie Raitt, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Jimmie Vaughan and more. Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2019 will be available on November 20th in several configurations: 3-CD, 6-LP, 2-DVD and 2-Blu-rays.

Throughout the show, Clapton shared the stage with others to perform some of his best-known songs, including “Layla” with John Mayer, plus acoustic versions of “Wonderful Tonight” and “Lay Down Sally” with Andy Fairweather Low. Clapton also paid tribute to his late friend George Harrison with a rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with Peter Frampton

Watch Clapton perform “Badge,” The on-stage collaborations provided some of the most compelling moments. Highlights include a cover of The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” by Doyle Bramhall II, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Jim Keltner and actor Bill Murray (the festival’s M.C.); Buddy Guy and Johnny Lang ripping through Guy’s classic “Cognac”; and a version of the Merle Haggard hit “Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down” by Vince Gill, Albert Lee, Bradley Walker, and dobro master Jerry Douglas. For the encore, Clapton returned to the stage to lead ensemble performances of Prince’s “Purple Rain” and Joe Cocker’s “High Time We Went.”

The first Crossroads Benefit Concert took place in 1999 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Crossroads Guitar Festival made its debut in 2004 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. That sold-out show was chronicled in a two-disc DVD that has since gone on to become one of the world’s top-selling music DVDs, achieving the 10x platinum mark in the U.S. The 2007 collection was certified 6x platinum; the 2010 set was certified 3x platinum; and the 2013 set was certified platinum. Since 2004, the Crossroads Guitar Festival has been held every three years except in 2016.

John Mayall’s The First Generation 1965-1974 is an enormous 35CD box set that documents the early career of ‘The Godfather of British Blues’ with remastered studio albums, unreleased BBC recordings, previously unheard live gigs and more.

Featuring Eric ClaptonPeter GreenMick TaylorHarvey Mandel, Blue Mitchell, Jon Mark and many more outstanding musicians, the 35 discs in this mammoth package include three CD singles and eight previously unreleased discs, alongside newly remastered versions of the original Decca & Polydor albums.

Not for nothing did John Mayall earn the moniker ‘The Godfather of British Blues’. For a short but compelling time in the ‘60s and ‘70s he recognised raw talent when he saw it, he took it in, he nurtured it, and everyone thrived and benefitted as the result. Many of the best musicians of the period passed through the hallowed ranks of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and all are on show here in a stunning set crammed with musical highlights.

For a short but compelling time in the ’60s and ’70s John Mayall recognised raw talent, took it in, nurtured it, and everyone thrived and benefitted as a result. Many of the best musicians of the period passed through the hallowed ranks of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. All are on show here in a stunning set crammed with musical highlights.

The unreleased concerts include Windsor 1967, Gothenburg 1968, Berlin 1969 and San Francisco 1970 and the 28 unreleased BBC tracks feature none other than Eric ClaptonPeter Green and Mick Taylor!

Strictly limited to 5,000 copies worldwide this set comes with a 168-page hardcover book with many rare photos and images of memorabilia and a full gig listing for the era, a fan club book of letters and correspondence, two replica posters (Ten Years Are Gone and 1968 tour poster), a replica press pack for John Mayall Plays John Mayall and a photograph  individually signed by John Mayall himself (who is thankfully still with us at the ripe old age of 86). The First Generation 1965-1974 is available to pre-order only via two retailers in the UK and the SDE shop is one of them.

There are box sets and then there are BOX SETS. John Mayall’s ‘The First Generation 1965-1974 set sits firmly in the latter category, being substantial both in the artefacts contained within and the superb music it encompasses.

It will be released on 29 January 2021 on the Madfish

Buy Online John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers - European Union (Live In The UK & Germany) Blue

The legendary John Mayall’s various bands were a revolving door of musical greats.
This superb new collection gathers performances by three separate outfits, featuring outstanding performances by Eric Clapton, John McVie, Mick Taylor and others. Originally performed live for radio and TV broadcast, they’re presented in superb fidelity here, together with background notes and images.

Incredible collection of performances, live in session from the UK and Germany, Includes BBC radio, Radio Bremen and WDR-TV broadcasts, Digitally remastered for greatly enhanced sound quality
Background liners and rare images First time on vinyl with Hand numbered editions.

Track Listing:
Side One
SATURDAY CLUB
March 19th 1966 | BBC Radio
1. On Top Of The World (John Mayall) 2.31
2. Key To Love (John Mayall) 2.00
3. Hideaway (Sonny Thompson / Freddie King) 3.20
4. Little Girl (John Mayall) 2.45
5. Tears In My Eyes (John Mayall) 4.28
6. Parchman Farm (Mose Allison / Bukka White) 2.21

John Mayall – vocals, keyboards, harmonica, guitar
Eric Clapton – guitar John McVie bass Hughie Flint – drums

DIE GLOCKE KONZERTHAUS
Bremen, Germany May 22nd 1969 | Radio Bremen
7. Love Me Baby If You Can (John Mayall) 5.53
8. Checkin’ Up On My Baby (Sonny Boy Williamson) 5.09

Side Two
1. Parchman Farm (Mose Allison / Bukka White) 13.50
2. Time Has Come (John Mayall) 6.12
3. 2401 (John Mayall) 5.32

John Mayall – keyboards, harp Mick Taylor – guitar
Steve Thompson – bass Collin Allen – drums

BEAT CLUB
January 31st 1970 | WDR-TV
4. I’m Gonna Fight For You J.B. 4.08

A previously unreleased performance by Eric Clapton and B.B. King was announced for the 20th-anniversary reissue of their “Riding With the King” album.

The duo’s version of the blues standard “Rollin’ and Tumblin” is one of two tracks added to the original LP for its re-release on June 26th.

“Eric Clapton and B.B. King first performed together in NYC in 1967,” a statement said. “Over 30 years later, in 1999, the two long time friends joined forces to create a collection of all-new studio recordings of blues classics and contemporary songs. The resulting album, Riding With the King, would be released in June 2000 and go onto sell over 2 million copies in the U.S. and win the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album.” “Of rock ‘n’ roll guitarists, nobody plays better than he does, and he plays blues better than a lot of us,” the late King said of Clapton in a 2000 interview with Rolling Stone.

“It’s been said many times, ‘Why don’t you and Eric do something together?’ Finally, he found the time, and here we are. … I told him to pick all of the tunes and if I disagreed we’d talk about it — and we didn’t. He had such a memory for bringing up old tunes and such a great idea for getting new ones together. So I trust him completely.”

Along with “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” the album also features the unreleased track “Let Me Love You.” Official Audio for “Rollin and Tumblin” previously unreleased, from Eric Clapton and B.B. King’s ‘Riding With The King’ 20th anniversary edition available on June 26th,

See the source image

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.”

 

 

       

Hindsight may be less than favorable concerning the super-group phenomenon, but Delaney and Bonnie’s efforts represent the most complementary and productive examples of the communal creativity at the heart of this approach, one which crystallized in the brief roadwork captured. On Tour with Eric Clapton recently released in an expanded edition; it’s little wonder this group, headed primarily by Delaney, went on to supervisor EC’s eponymous solo debut (see Bracelet’s mix, markedly different and arguably superior to, than official producer Tom Dowd’s, included in the Deluxe Edition CD set of that album).

   

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On Tour with Eric Clapton-Expanded Edition The four CDs in this set originally comprised a Very high-priced, limited edition package, the design of which replicated an equipment road-case. The cover artwork here mirrors that and, presumably, a pristine sound mix courtesy Bill Inglot and Dan Hersch that pulses with no small measure of the excitement in those moments.Including extensive historical notes by Bud Scoppa taken from perspectives as varied as Bonnie Bramlett herself and engineer Glyn Johns, as well as technical notes, the newly-issued set turns into a true labor of love that’s worth the dramatically reduced price. The complete concert from the Royal Albert Hall in London accompanies composites and further complete later shows on the seven-day tour; and while not surprisingly, there’s more than a little overlap, the ostensible redundancy really serves to further illustrate how infectious are these performances. And while Eric Clapton’s participation is limited to the sideman role he preferred at that time, he does take a lead vocal on “I Don’t Know Why” and there’s no mistaking what his guitar work adds to this roiling eclectic mix of vocals, keyboards, horns (trumpeter Jim Price and saxophonist Bobby Keys who went on to play with the Rolling Stones) and a redoubtable rhythm section.Given the durability and spirit of the setlist, including The Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin’,” “Only You Know and I Know,” (composed by ex-Traffic member Dave Mason, whose presence in the band is given short shrift) and most conspicuously “Coming Home” with its clarion call guitar figure, it really no surprise it didn’t change much night tonight.

As no pictures of Delaney and Bonnie were deemed good enough for the album cover, a photo was used instead of a Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn in a desert, reportedly taken by manager Barry Feinstein while working as a photographer covering a Bob Dylan tour in 1966. Dylan’s feet are those hanging from the car window.

On Tour was re-issued in 2010 as four-disc box set, packaged in a mock road case containing the complete performance from the Royal Albert Hall, plus a composite of the next night’s performances at Colston Hall in Bristol, and both the early and late shows from the tour’s final stop at Fairfield Halls in Croydon. George Harrison played slide guitar on the English leg of the tour that followed the Albert Hall performance, as well as in Scandinavia, therefore he doesn’t appear on the first disc but does on the other three.

On Tour with Eric Clapton is a 1970 album by Delaney & Bonnie with Eric Clapton, recorded live at the Fairfield Halls, England. Released on Atco Records, The album features Delaney and Bonnie’s best-known touring band, including Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, and Dave Mason. Many of the players on this album would later go on to work with George Harrison on his post-Beatles debut album All Things Must Pass and with Clapton on his solo debut. The horn players Bobby Keys and Jim Price would play on the albums Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St by the Rolling Stones, and join them for their 1972 STP Tour. Whitlock, Radle, and Gordon would form with Clapton his band Derek and the Dominos for Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

The album has received highly positive reviews, with many critics suggesting the album is superior to Clapton’s prior project (Blind Faith) . In the Rolling Stone Album Guide, the album is described as “a triumph”, which is attributed to the fact the band was “one of the best” in “rock and roll”. Writing for Rolling Stone, Mark Kemp said the album contained “wicked performances of the kind of country and boogie that would define Southern rock”.Mojo described the album as “one of the two Rosetta Stones of roots rock’n’roll”.

The Band:
Bonnie Bramlett — vocals
Delaney Bramlett — guitars, vocals
Eric Clapton — lead guitars, vocals
Rita Coolidge — backing vocals
Jim Gordon — drums, percussion
George Harrison (under the pseudonym L’Angelo Misterioso) – guitars (discs two — four of box set only)
Tex Johnson – percussion
Bobby Keys — saxophone
Dave Mason — guitars
Carl Radle — bass guitar
Jim Price — trombone, trumpet
Bobby Whitlock — organ, keyboards, vocals

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Buy Online Blind Faith - Hyde Park '69 Red

Blind Faith, live set from Hyde Park, London 1969 was THE year of the festival – a stellar year by which all others have been judged. Across North America and the UK there seemed to be a festival happening somewhere, almost every weekend of the summer. The Blind Faith concert was the first of four concerts scheduled for 1969. Opening the show was the Third Ear Band along with Richie Havens, Donovan and the Edgar Broughton Band (no UK festival seemed to be complete without them). The stage they all played on was somewhat makeshift in appearance and was only about a meter or so high.

Blind Faith’s debut was the most hotly anticipated gig of its time, and took place in front of 100,000 people on a sweltering Saturday afternoon. Although they were nervous and under-prepared, they turned in a frequently superb set spanning originals and covers. London Calling presents the incredible performance at Hyde Park, London on June 7th 1969, broadcast by BBC2. It is presented in its entirety here, together with background notes and rare images.

It was on Saturday 7th June that Blind Faith headlined the free concert that was organized by Blackhill Enterprises. Peter Jenner and Andrew King who were stalwarts of the London underground scene, having helped start the UFO club in Tottenham Court Road, ran Blackhill. Jenner had been a lecturer at the London school of Economics, and Blackhill ran their five-person business out of a converted shop just off Ladbroke Grove. Blackhill were principally agents, and it was their acts that gained most from the Hyde Park concerts, which gave them a higher profile than they would have expected from gigging around Britain laying low-key gigs. During 1968, when Blackhill first approached the UK’s Ministry of Public Building and Works about the possibility of staging concerts in Hyde Park they were met with a resounding ‘no’. However, their persistence paid off, and on 29th June 1968 Pink Floyd headlined, supported by Tyrannosaurus Rex, Jethro Tull and Roy Harper. Among the crowd were Mick Jagger and his girlfriend Marianne Faithfull. Having watched Blind Faith perform, soaked in the vibe and seen how many people there were watching, Mick decided that a free concert in Hyde Park to promote The Rolling Stones’ new single and get them back in the public eye would be just the thing for the band that had been through something of a low period. As a nod to Mick, who stood watching from the side stage, Blind Faith played ‘Under My Thumb’.

Blind Faith took to the stage about 5pm and began their set with ‘Well All Right’ before going on to perform most of their debut album. It was a more bluesy set, closer to the kind of thingsTraffic had been playing than toCream. According to Ginger Baker, “Eric had been doing amazing stuff, but at Hyde Park I kept on wondering when he was going to start playing. ” According to Clapton, “I came off stage shaking like a leaf because I felt that, once again, I’d let people down.”

Blind Faith’s first show, a free one in Hyde Park! , Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech.

Tracklisting:
SIDE ONE:
1. Intro 1:25,2. Well Alright 6:27, 3. Sea Of Joy 6:13, 4. Under My Thumb 6:06, 5. Can’t Find My Way Home 6:13
SIDE TWO:
1. I’d Rather See You Sleeping In The Ground 4:41, 2. Do What You Like 5:30, 3. Presence Of The Lord 6:28, 4. Means To An End 4:21, 5. Had To Cry Today 6:56, 6. Outro 0:43

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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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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.