February 15, 2013

Cream - As You Said (1968)

One night in 1966, Ginger Baker had gone to see Eric Clapton play in a concert with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Giving Clapton a ride home, Baker informed him about the creative stifling he was feeling in his current group, the Graham Bond Organisation. It was Baker’s idea and invitation for him and Clapton to start a new group together that would allow them to explore their creative desires. Clapton, equally admiring Baker’s playing, suggested that they pick up Jack Bruce as the bassist, also admiring his work from having played with him briefly in the Bluesbreakers and Powerhouse. Allegedly, Baker was so distraught at this suggestion that he nearly ran off the road and crashed the car. Unaware to Clapton at the time, Baker and Bruce had been known for their feuding while they were in the Graham Bond Organisation together. The two musicians were allegedly known to sabotage one another’s instruments and fight with one another on stage. At one point Baker had verbally fired Bruce from the band, but Bruce kept showing up at their practices and gigs. Bruce finally got the picture and left permanently when Ginger Baker threatened him up close and personally with a knife. Putting his differences aside and obeying Clapton’s wishes, Baker and Bruce saw past their differences and came together to form the band. With each of the three members having been renowned as “the cream of the crop” of their respective instruments, the band thought “Cream” might make for a good band name.

After the band’s first two albums, Fresh Cream and the legendary Disraeli Gears, they decided to release a double album that was going to be laced with a combination of studio tracks and live recordings. Calling it Wheels of Fire, the band split whose songs they would record pretty evenly three ways. Although the album is remembered for songs such as “White Room” and Clapton’s arrangement of Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads,” the entire album is something to enjoy. This song, written by Jack Bruce and lyricist/poet Pete Brown, was the closing track to side one of the first disc and showed that the group didn’t have to “rock” to make great music.

album art

Cream - As You Said (1968)

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Let's go down to where it's clean
To see the time that might have been
The tides have carried off the beach
As you said, “The sun is out of reach”

Let's go back to where it's clean
To see what year it might have been
The roads have carried off the smile
As you said, “To judge them at the trial”

So let's go back to now that's bad
To see what time we might have had
The rails have carried off the train
As you said, “I'll never come again, again, again, a-”

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