Category: Cream

Cream – Disraeli Gears

ARTIST: Cream         220px-DisraeliGears

TITLE:  Disraeli Gears

YEAR RELEASED: 1967

CHART ACTION: #4 US, #5 UK

SINGLES: Strange Brew (#17 UK), Sunshine of Your Love (#6 US, #25 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Tales of Brave Ulysees

LINEUP: Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The powerful blues-rock trio moves a foot into the psychedelic world, and creates a song that’s an absolute monster to this day.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Jack Bruce bass riff, coupled and carried forward by Eric Clapton, propelled “Sunshine of Your Love” and to this day, that simple riff is universally known and loved.

That track anchored this second album from the combustible power trio, which definitely varied their sonic attack and added tinges of psychedelia (“Tales of Brave Ulysses”) into their blues, and allowed for experimental arrangements like “Dance the Night Away”, “Blue Condition”, and “We’re Going Wrong”, and flat out rockers like “SWABLR”. Clapton’s wah-wah guitar is the sound of the record, though Bruce and Baker contribute their prowess as well.

The experimental pieces are hit-and-miss (Ginger Baker’s vocals are, well, an acquired taste), yet this is Cream’s best and most consistent album, and probably Clapton’s best and most consistent aside from Derek and the Dominos.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The titles was a malapropism when a roadie tried to say ‘derailleur gears’.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Outtakes and BBC sessions. 

GRADE: A: It’s one of the best examples of blues melding with psychedelics.

Cream – Fresh Cream

ARTIST: Cream        Fresh_cream

TITLE:  Fresh Cream

YEAR RELEASED: 1966

CHART ACTION: #39 US, #6 UK

SINGLES: I Feel Free (#116 US, #11 UK) (US Version), Spoonful

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW:  Sweet Wine, I’m So Glad, Toad, probably others

LINEUP: Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Blues band hot shots form a power trio and focused on electrifying the blues on this first release..

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Except for “I Feel Free” (which was not on the original UK release, because you know, singles never being on albums there), not many stations play anything off of this album unless they’re into deep cuts. The reason is that it’s more of a blues exploration than any blues / rock / psychedelic combo that they’d turn to on future albums.

Half of the album are blues covers, and “Sleepy Time Time” is an original that’s definitely rooted in the blues – and “Sweet Wine” could be somewhat a blues tune (it’s got blues and pop elements).

It’s a great album to listen to how the three players play with each other in traditional song settings (whether more rock and pop oriented like “I Feel Free”) or in the blues (“I’m So Glad”, etc.). It’s not commercial for the most part, but that’s also part of its charm – you’re not sick of these songs.

But…there’s a drum solo in “Toad”. Not as long as he’d whip out in concert, but still…

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The original US pressing omitted “Spoonful”, which is odd because that’s one of the songs most identified with Cream (from this era, at least).

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: The Swedish vinyl pressing had their first single “Wrapping Paper” AND a rare track (“The Coffee Song”) appended to the album.

GRADE: B+. The drum solo tips it into the B+ range.