Cream Jukebox

To study music, you have to listen to it. Music is an essential part of human culture. Often mistaken for a commodity, an error that classifies musicians as manufacturers of tunes, what is modernly called music is often designed for disposability, inoffensiveness, and speedy obsolescence. Not so the music that will be posted here, that will connect you with what is true, good, fine and enduring in humanity's struggle with a difficult, dazzling world.

Cream Jukebox

Postby admin » Fri May 24, 2019 10:19 pm

Cream Jukebox

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


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Copyright Notice: Cream, "Wheels of Fire," © 1968 Polygram International Music

Table of Contents:

Disc 1


1. White Room
2. Sitting On Top of the World
3. Passing the Time
4. As You Said
5. Pressed Rat and Warthog
6. Politician
7. Those Were The Days
8. Born Under a Bad Sign
9. Deserted Cities of the Heart

Disc 2

1. Crossroads
2. Spoonful
3. Traintime
4. Toad
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Re: Cream Jukebox

Postby admin » Fri May 24, 2019 10:20 pm

Those Were The Days
by Charles Carreon

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Once upon a time there was this thing called acid rock, the pre-eminent practioners of which were not the Grateful Dead, but rather the spare, efficient power trio, Cream. For those of you looking for authorities to guide your search, Timothy Leary liked Cream, I'm quite sure, though I can't find a quote, so you can take it on faith or miss the show. For your baptism by fire in the fine work of this eminently gifted band, click through the ABOL Notice and listen to the tunes on the double album Wheels of Fire. One of my favorite tunes, Those Were The Days, is also attached in mp3 format at the bottom of this post for easy access.

Personnel on this exercise in deafening virtuosity were Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker. These folks played so fast by the standards of those days, that rumor had it they sometimes consumed crystal meth, but I don’t think so.

Baker, the drummer, had an early career as a competitive bicyclist, and backed into drumming as a way to channel his endless tendency to bang rhythmically on everything in sight. His first audition was also his first time sitting at a drum kit, and the band, which hadn’t wanted to audition him at all originally, replaced their old drummer with Baker after one listen.

Jack Bruce, a bass player whose exploits are legend, made sure this band always walked with a strut, and never limped along with a lame beat, so several songs give vastly more scope to the rock bass than your average boogie riff. Aspiring bassists, take heed.

Clapton, for my money, has never rocked this hard before or since. I loved him on Derek and the Dominoes, but nothing, repeat nothing, compares with the sizzling licks he jams into Crossroads, bringing out the dark spirits to ferry one more guitarist to play for their lord. And we all got to watch and listen. Those, indeed, were the days.

Here’s a quick rundown of a few of my favorite tracks, though it hardly matters how you approach them – the album is a solid masterpiece, and genius has a way of making its own points:

White Room – Just as magnificently confused and visually highlighted as the look of the world about an hour after the listener consumes a hit of Orange Sunshine, this song casts its spell with exquisite, entrancing lyrics -- “Silver horses ran down moonbeams in her dark eyes,” alternating with disconcerting rhymes like “Golden tigers crouched in jungles in her dark eyes,” sharing obscure, half-formed sorrows -- “you swore that you would be there at the station,” and leaving the listener with nostalgia for an unknowable, unrecapturable world, glimpsed once, and lost forever.

Sitting On Top of the World – Constructed from gleaming, twisted blue scales reflecting in the twisted mirrors of self-pity, this song of repentance takes a few sad lyrics and hangs them from the gallows to blow in the wind, a reminder that love will take its toll if we fail to take its measure.

Passing the Time – Introducing itself stupendously with blasts of bass and rhythm guitar resonant as a huge cathedral bell tolling the hour of doom, this song first segues into a contemplative canticle gentle as candlelight, then kicks into a rhythmic bridge as pumped up as a subway car rattling through station after station, a process that continues until Baker takes us all the way home in a drum solo that just fades away, bringing us back once more to Windwood’s soft melodic lullaby, which puts us sweetly to bed. What a way to pass the time – try it and you’ll see what we hippies were so hipped about.

Pressed Rat and Warthog – Is this song, many have asked themselves, Mere Nonsense, doggerel, the product of hash brownies and an aimless wander through the stacks of odd nomenclature? Perhaps, but meaning isn’t everything. By the end of this musical vignette, we truly feel for Pressed Rat and his partner Warthog, and are absolutely certain that the world will be the poorer for the lack of their admittedly idiosyncratic wares: “atonal apples and amplified heat, and Pressed Rat’s collection of dog’s legs and feet.” Musically, the song reminds me of a rock fugue, with guitar, drum, and bass weaving counterpoint themes, occasionally punctuated by a stately, respectful trumpet.

Politician – Lugubrious, luxurious, unctuous, and crass, the lyrics in this song are unabashedly male – “Baby, get into my big black car, Just wanna show ya’ what my politics are.” Bruce’s bass rhythm wanders like a fat man trying to choose between chocolates, cheesecake, power, and sex. Clapton's guitar expresses a confusion of emotions, wandering in the privileged jungle of temptation, a magnificent web of tones stretching and bending each other into sweeter and sweeter distortion, until the song thunders to a conclusion with Baker escorting the motorcade along like a whole squad of Harley-riding cops, vanishing into the clefts of the skyscraper-scarred horizon.

Those Were The Days – If you like majestic songs, you’ll like this one, which opens with the ringing of stately bells. (Click on the mp3 below to have a listen.) Windwood tunes his voice to a soft, reflective timbre to sing an anthem glorifying the golden days of Atlantis, firmly backed by Baker working the tom-toms and his double-bass bass drums gently, softly, perhaps to avoid waking the spirits who might hear. Clapton’s guitar marks rhythm with sharp blasts that break into an occasional tight solo to ornament the dark rhythmic figures cast by Bruce and Baker, setting them off with accents of ancient gold.

Crossroads – Ah if only boogie could be like this all the time. Clapton doesn’t really need a lot of help as he renders a great guitarist’s homage to this blues classic by Robert Johnson. Legend has it that if a bluesman goes alone to the crossroads with his guitar on a moonless night, he’ll meet the devil, and the devil will take his soul in exchange for the magic power to master the instrument. This song seems to express a corollary belief that the only way to come out right on the deal is to play so fucking fast that even the hellhound is left in the dust, howling “unfair!”

Spoonful – Willie Dixon rests easy in his grave when he hears this tune. With Bruce and Clapton thumbing the fat strings, the opening bars stomp towards us like a hoodlum, only to reveal a beautiful lyric like a diamond necklace offered to his girl: “Night spilled spoonful of diamonds, Night spilled spoonful of gold, Just a little touch of your precious love, Will satisfy my soul.” The jamming on this song is quite extended, but you know, joints were rolled fatter, and burned longer, back in those days.
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