Cream

Cream where a band of firsts when they entered the rock scene in London England in 1966. Comprised of three very accomplished musicians in their own right they were one of the first “super” rock groups. Any one of these guys could have easily fronted their own band, and would in the future, but for this brief period of time they decided to join forces. They knew they were something special from the start hence the name Cream, the cream of the crop. In addition to being comprised of rock n roll royalty Cream was also one of the first “experimental” bands. They changed up their style almost from song to song, perhaps not as drastic as some more recent bands but you gotta take things slow when your trailblazing. They also experimented with their format for live performances by favoring songs with a jam factor. This meant that at a given Cream performance they may go off on a twenty minute interlude jamming on a particular tune. To sober people this may sound like a chore but when it was the late sixties and your most enthusiastic audience was comprised of psychedelic transfixed hippies, these extended jam tunes were near nirvana.

Cream’s three man lineup went like this… Eric Clapton of the Yardbirds. Eric was a guitarist and was well connected in the rock community being friends of George Harrison and Steve Winwood to name a couple. Then there was Ginger Baker of the Graham Bond Organization and Jack Bruce from a band called Blues Incorporated. Both Ginger and Jack were gifted jazz musicians playing the drums and bass respectively. It was this three man lineup that made Cream what it was. Each person threw his full weight into the song writing and performances. It’s safe to say that without any one of them Cream wouldn’t have been what it was. It just happened to be the perfect formula of people at the perfect time. In the three years of their existence Cream put out four full length albums, all selling very well and hit albums each in their own right. Unfortunately for us the boys couldn’t keep keep the pace at the speed they were going and decided to call it quits due to artistic differences.

Looking back at the artists from that period it’s hard to find one with as many consistent songs as Cream. Their song writing, musicianship and delivery were all top notch. One of my favorite elements of Cream, besides the obviously rockin guitar licks would be Jack Bruce’s vocals. I can’t think of any other acts from the period that went for the angle he took. With the rockin solo’s and heavy psychedelic elements to their music you’d think the vocals would be heavily slanted towards one extreme or the other, heavy theatrics or melodramatic mumbling but that’s not the case at all. Jack sings in a strong clear voice, every word is easily heard, clear, concise. Often times he sings in a higher pitch then necessary, in almost a mocking manner, adding a slight comic under tone to the tunes. The vocals combined with some seriously rocking instrument work going on behind makes for a top notch listening experience.

1) Fresh Cream [1966]
2) Disraeli Gears [1967]
3) Wheels of Fire [1968]
4) Goodbye [1969]

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