2020 Album Draft- Round 7 Pick 5- MSJADELI selects- Cream: BBC Sessions.
I first heard the album, “Cream: BBC Sessions” last fall and became and instant fan. I’ve heard so many of these songs over the years and had acquired an 8-track tape with a bunch of them back around age 16. I listened to it many times (until 8-tracks bit the dust) and to this album since last fall.
What can you say but par excellence for the Supergroup of Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, and Eric Clapton? Baker had been in Blues Incorporated and Graham Bond Organization before; Jack had been in Graham Bond Organization and John Mayall Bluesbreakers; Eric had been in The Yardbirds and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, so all were seasoned musicians from blues outfits before forming Cream. Add these three magical musical ingredients together you have one of the best bands, creating some of the best music ever created. I told Hans that I wouldn’t have felt right without including at least one of Cream’s albums, and this one has more oomph in one place than other albums.
From wikipedia : BBC Sessions is a live album by the British rock band Cream, released on 25 May 2003 on Polydor Records. It contains 22 tracks and 4 interviews recorded live at the BBC studios in London. Between 21 October 1966 and 9 January 1968, Cream recorded eight sessions for the BBC radio network, selected highlights from seven of which are featured in chronological order on this collection. BBC Sessions was later included as the third disc in the “limited edition box set” release of Cream’s 2005 compilation album I Feel Free – Ultimate Cream (also known as Gold.)
All three have written at least one song on the album. Many are old blues tunes, refashioned into what I consider blues-rock, a new genre. A few are traditionals that have been rejuvenated.
Playlist (minus interview segments, which will be covered after the songs):
Sweet Wine – co-written by Ginger Baker/Janet Godfrey; harmonies, Jack’s voice shines, psychedelic, more distortion on Eric’s guitar, Gingers pounding drums * * *
Wrapping Paper – vaudeville style, overdubbed piano and harmonica by Bruce, mellow * * *
Rollin’ and Tumblin’ – old blues with harp * * *
Steppin’ – 2-minute Clapton jam * * *
Crossroads – one of their signature songs; Eric sings on this one * * *
Cat’s Squirrel – a rearrangement of a traditional song; sounds just like the opening riff of CSNY’s, “Carry On” * * *
Traintime – Jack makes the harp sound like a train and sings this old school blues jam * * *
I’m So Glad – Jack/Eric harmonies; simple lyrics; serious jam * * *
Lawdy Mama – 2-minute Eric jam where he sings also * * * I Feel Free – excellent singing and guitar NSU – different time signature and harmonies
according to songfacts.com “Written by Cream’s bass player Jack Bruce, ‘N.S.U.’ was one of the numbers the band performed on stage from the outset. In fact, Jack had written the song for the band’s very first rehearsal. N.S.U. is an acronym for ‘Non-Specific Urethritis,’ a form of venereal disease Eric Clapton is rumored to have been afflicted with at the time. The lads, apparently having a bit of fun, thought it would be a good title for the song.”
Four Until Late – 2-minute blues acoustic number * * *
Strange Brew – love the drums and the lyrics on this one * * *
Tales of Brave Ulysses – excellent every which way * * * I also posted on it here.
We’re Going Wrong – trippy Jack hits high notes with madman Ginger on the drums * * *
Born Under a Bad Sign – bass is boss on this one * * *
Outside Woman Blues and Take it Back – straight up blues jams * * *
Sunshine of Your Love – one of their signature songs; all 3 firing on all cylinders * * *
Politician – funky with a different time signature; political double entendre
SWLABR – I posted on this one before, which you can read about here
Steppin’ Out – Clapton instrumental that shines.
The four interviews, all between the announcer and Clapton only, talk about how Cream wants to be more than a blues band and how they were preparing to do their first “Paris Club day;” how critics were calling their first hit [insert hit] “too advanced;” how they had just recorded in the U.S. and couldn’t decide between “Strange Brew” and “Tales of Brave Ulysses” as to which would be the A-side and which would be the B-side; and talked about why, “Born Under a Bad Sign” wasn’t going to be on the soon-to-be-released album.