Tuesday, March 26, 2013

112 Disraeli Gears. Creamy Clapton

Album: Disraeli Gears
Artist: Cream
Genre: Rock
Year: 1967


1. Strange Brew
2. Sunshine of Your Love
3. World of Pain
4. Dance the Night Away
5. Blue Condition
6. Tales of Brave Ulysses
8. We're Going Wrong
9. Outside Woman Blues
10. Take It Back
11. Mother's Lament

Cream albums are strange entities. They never sound like albums as much as they sound like channel surfing or a compilation entitled "Bands with guitarists who sound a lot like Eric Clapton". There's no unified vision or sense of purpose. Cream were notorious for not getting on. They didn't get on when they travelled, they didn't get on when they socialised, they didn't even get on when they were playing concerts and frequently ignored each onstage and just played three solos at the same time. The other place they didn't really see eye-to-eye was in the studio where they struggled to agree on a definite style.

The three members of Cream (Eric Clapton on guitar, Ginger Baker on Drums and Jack Bruce on Bass) were brilliant on their own instruments but not really great songwriters. Consequently they relied on other people to support their composing efforts and on blues covers to fill the gaps in their albums. Disraeli Gears features 8 different songwriters on its eleven tracks. The three members all contribute along with Marty Feldman's cousin, an Australian cartoonist, the producer, and the producer's wife (who later shot her husband in the neck). This eclectic mix of songwriting talents produced an eclectic mix of odd music ranging from the fantastic through to the forgettable.

The highlight is definitely Sunshine of Your Love which is some brilliant rock and roll written mainly by Jack Bruce with a bit from Eric Clapton thrown in. It's one of the great rock songs of the late sixties and has the kind of riff that Jimmy Page would kill for (and knowing Page quite possibly has, I'm sure some goats were sacrificed for Zeppelin hits). It manages to showcase the three members talents while still sounding like they were in the same room at the time and actually paying attention to what they were doing.

Other highlights include Strange Brew (a bit of a blues rip off), Outside Woman Blues (a blues cover) and SWLABR (which stands for She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow because... because drugs. That's why, because drugs). Sadly among the great moments are lowlights like Dance the Night Away (tedium written by Jack Bruce), Blue Condition (drummers should never write songs) and Mother's Lament which is an acapella rendition of that weird old song about a mother who lets her baby wash down the plug hole after a bath, seriously. I have no idea why anyone would want to hear this done by great singers but its presence is even more baffling when you consider the fact that Cream are not great singers.

Sometimes compilation albums sound like a bit of a disjointed mess but Cream is one of the few bands who could enter a studio and come up with a disjointed mess as an actual album. They were a great band but they work best in the modern age of playlists and self-made compilations when their discography can be cherry picked to suit the listener's personal taste.

Highlight: Sunshine of your love
Lowlight: Blue Condition

Influenced by: Blues and drugs
Influenced: Power trios

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "I'm a musician myself, I play guitar, and tutoring yound bands."

-does anyone else stop reading a review if it starts with an attempt to assert the reviewers credentials?

So is this your favourite album named after a former English Prime Minister or not? Let me know below.

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