BCB 130 - Cream

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Matt Wilson
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BCB 130 - Cream

Postby Matt Wilson » 15 Aug 2014, 17:24


How did we forget these guys?

Okay, I'm doing this at the request of another stalwart BCBer so bear with me.

Cream. Perhaps the first of the "heavy" UK groups. A precursor to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Jeff Beck Group, Zeppelin, and all the rest. The idea of taking blues songs and stretching them out in a jazzy manner, mixing a Les Paul with a wah wah and Marshal Stacks, crafting pop songs out of heavy riffs. Psychedelia and afro perms, day-glow glitz and expert musicianship. Folks, it all started here.

Clapton, Baker and Bruce were supposed to be the "cream" of British rock musicians at the time of the band's inception (1966) and whether or not that's true they certainly could play. They were the first to bring the idea of jamming (like a jazz musician) into live and studio performances, no small thing. We can blame them for all the endless drum solos and guitar wankery which came after but I believe it's important to acknowledge the...shall I say it? genius which was Cream from '66 - '68. Two years, four albums (one a double). The live material remains iffy. Some quality cuts (certainly "Crossroads") but it's the studio tracks which hold their charm.

Ever ponder just why Eric Clapton was so highly regarded for so long? Cream is Clapton 101. He could handle it all: Inventive riffs, nice fat tone, seamless solos which he ripped off effortlessly. Sure, we can sully the soup by stating the obvious - Hendrix was better. But then, Jimi was better than everybody. Beck was more inventive but Eric had the common touch. Cream records simply sold more than Yardbirds platters and it took Monterey and great word-of-mouth to make Are You Experienced a smash in the states. Plus, you've not gonna tell me that the Experience didn't take a cue or two from Cream. Heavy, blues-based music with psychedelic finery. Strong LPs mixed with pop singles (remember, Jimi's singles were big hits in England). I'm not going to get into which band was better, I'm only saying Cream did it first, releasing an entire LP before Hendrix even recorded his first single.

And make no mistake - Fresh Cream, Disraeli Gears, Wheels of Fire and Goodbye are filled with hard rockin' gems. "White Room," "Sunshine of Your Love," "I Feel Free," "Tales of Brave Ulysses," "N.S.U.," "Strange Brew," "Swlabr," "Crossroads," "Anyone For Tennis," I'm So Glad," "Politician," "Those Were the Days," "Badge," "Dance the Night Away," etc. Almost as strong a two-year resume as any other band from that time.

Anyway, Blind Faith released a fine album too after Cream (two thirds of Cream were in that group) and the Derek and the Dominos LP is probably the best album Clapton ever made, but it's really Cream which endures as his biggest legacy, isn't it? Bruce and Baker did interesting work in the seventies as well but none of the three ever did anything which really sounded like Cream did again. It was almost as if they knew it couldn't be duplicated even if during that time (the '70s) everyone was trying to imitate what Cream did in the '60s.



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der nister
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Re: BCB 130 - Cream

Postby der nister » 15 Aug 2014, 17:30

damn, that's fast
Matt you may want to work through the remaining 130
say, one every eight hours?

here, they are underrated
the albums distract from the simply great tight songwriting
the 20 trk Very Best of released in '95
is probably all one needs
and also makes a great case for their songwriting prowess
It's kinda depressing for a music forum to be proud of not knowing musicians.

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Re: BCB 130 - Cream

Postby GoogaMooga » 15 Aug 2014, 17:31

i agree, it's clapton's peak period. i rate yardbirds higher, but that's mainly for jeff beck's work. with clapton, they were stuck in blues rave-up land.
1966 and all that

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Charlie O.
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Re: BCB 130 - Cream

Postby Charlie O. » 15 Aug 2014, 17:46

I love 'em to pieces - even most (though by no means all) of the live stuff. (A Ginger Baker drum solo is a thing to be avoided regardless of the context.)

And I love that they got out pretty much as soon as things started to sour. The pressure on them to keep milking it until it stopped selling had to have been gigantic. I wish more bands had that kind of integrity.

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Re: BCB 130 - Cream

Postby kath » 15 Aug 2014, 18:16

great writeup. i agree completely on clapton and what you say about cream, blind faith, derek & the dominoes. just incredible albums there, really.

disraeli gears is a core happy place for me. it was that way long before i ever ingested enough hallucinogens to live inside the cover for extended periods of time.

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Re: BCB 130 - Cream

Postby ORORORO » 12 Aug 2017, 20:30

Matt Wilson wrote:"White Room," "Sunshine of Your Love," "I Feel Free," "Tales of Brave Ulysses," "N.S.U.," "Strange Brew," "Swlabr," "Crossroads," "Anyone For Tennis," I'm So Glad," "Politician," "Those Were the Days," "Badge," "Dance the Night Away," etc. Almost as strong a two-year resume as any other band from that time.

the Fred Dinenage of bees! wrote:BCB is boring bald men stroking each other's cocks while recommending Alan Parsons Project bootlegs