Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-09-2019, 12:46 AM
russian heel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,796

Was Cream overrated?


Watching their 2005 reunion at Albert Hall. Other than the hits, of which I would say there were maybe arguably two handfuls, watching their reunion show they sound like nothing more than a progressive blues band, and not a very good one at that.

THAT SAID, one gripe I heard about this show was Eric Clapton used a Stratocaster instead of whatever axe he used back in the 60s and this hurt the show (I have to agree “Crossroads” lacked the bite of the recorded version)

The 3 man band also seemed to lack depth that might have been provided by an extra guitarist.

Am I grossly unfair to judge such a legendary band based on this 2005 show? Did Clapton’s 2005 guitar choice not hold up? Were they much more more awesome in their heyday than a bunch of old timers trying to recreate their magic in 2005?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  #2  
Old 07-09-2019, 01:29 AM
lingyi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,962
I "discovered" Cream in the late 70's and kept dreaming about their reunion and as I've talked about in other threads, I spent decades trying to find that other groups that had that "magic" that Cream had. After nearly 40 years of searching, when I found their bootlegs, I realized these were the holy grails I'd been searching for!

I agree that their 2005 reunion (while great) was a shadow, almost a tribute to their old selves. All three have said that the 2005 Cream was different from the Cream of old and they didn't want to just recreate the style they had then. BTW, don't call them a "blues band". Baker and Bruce have always contended they were a jazz trio and Clapton is now acknowledging that.

Seek out and listen to their bootlegs, particularly "Sun Vanishes" and be amazed at how great they were when "...playing for themselves"*

*I talked to guy who attended their concerts in the '60's and when I asked him how it was he said "When they started jamming, it was time to step out for a smoke or a beer because they were playing for themselves." He didn't mean it a compliment, but I realized that's the great compliment about and summary of what Cream was. Even Clapton said in an interview that one night in '68 she was actually satisfied!

Edit: To answer your question. Yes, it's unfair to judge them only on their reunion gigs. Even their 1968 Farewell Concert, which for the longest time was the only generally available record of their live playing outside of their albums is deemed by Ginger..."We were so much better than that.", despite many, including myself being amazed at their playing.

Last edited by lingyi; 07-09-2019 at 01:33 AM.
  #3  
Old 07-09-2019, 01:57 AM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,174
I agree that the Crossroads from 2005 was nowhere near as good as the one on Wheels of Fire - but Clapton was almost 40 years older. There are many things you won't be doing as well 40 years from now.
I saw an interview, I think with Clapton, where he admitted that the jams got pretty self-indulgent, partially due to the drugs.
Yeah, another guitarist would be different, but the three of them filled things quite nicely live if you listen to the best of their live tracks.

I saw the Stones 15 years ago. Jagger still moved pretty well, but I'd hate for anyone to judge their legacy based on that. You gotta take the best, not a concert to buy Ginger some more horses.
  #4  
Old 07-09-2019, 02:08 AM
lingyi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,962
Clapton said in an interview, after listening to some of their bootlegs something along the lines of how amazed he was at some of his playing he did. When the interviewer asked if he was saying he couldn't do it now, he replied he could, just chooses not to! This was the closest I've ever seen him admit that he really was as good as people said he was.

Last edited by lingyi; 07-09-2019 at 02:09 AM.
  #5  
Old 07-09-2019, 04:59 AM
Royal Nonesutch is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 511
I highly urge anyone who wants to hear what Eric Clapton was capable of when playing live at the top of his game (in the early 1970's) to get themselves a copy of "Derek and the Dominos-Live At The Fillmore".

It is musically brilliant, for me always in any "Top 10 Live Albums Of all Time" list I am making, and shows how incredibly talented Clapton was back when he was in top form.
  #6  
Old 07-09-2019, 06:57 AM
Crotalus's Avatar
Crotalus is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Chillicothe, Ohio
Posts: 6,063
I saw Cream live in 1968 when I was 14. I was a big fan and thought the show was great. I have remained a Clapton fan.

I really enjoyed the 2005 reunion show on DVD, but it was a very different thing from Cream when they were together originally. Bruce and Baker were clearly way past their primes. They didn't play poorly, they just took no chances (Clapton didn't either), and their skill levels were clearly diminished. Clapton's skills, in my opinion, were undiminished, but he had long since gone in another direction as a guitarist from where he was in the John Mayall/Cream period. At the time of the 2005 reunion, he was much more famous as Eric Clapton, solo artist, than Cream ever was.

For me, the reunion was like a tribute concert performed by the original artists. Fun to witness, but not the same thing as when they were young.
__________________
Ad hominem is a logical fallacy when it's used to argue against a concept. But it's perfectly appropriate when your point is that someone is an asshole. TonySinclair
  #7  
Old 07-09-2019, 07:12 AM
Crotalus's Avatar
Crotalus is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Chillicothe, Ohio
Posts: 6,063
I forgot to mention something in my previous post. At the 1968 show, they were very improvisational in their approach to the songs, both in terms of arrangements and individual parts. I was deeply familiar with the recorded versions of every song they played, and was astounded by a lot of what I heard. The 2005 reunion sounded, and was, rehearsed. It was music I love, played by the guys who made it, but there was no fire.
__________________
Ad hominem is a logical fallacy when it's used to argue against a concept. But it's perfectly appropriate when your point is that someone is an asshole. TonySinclair
  #8  
Old 07-09-2019, 07:58 AM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 42,666
Cream was as good as people thought it was. But once the group broke up, their record company kept releasing every bit of live material they ever did, with no regard to quality, and doing three compilation albums (for a group that only recorded four studio albums*).

By the mid-70s, the repackaging made people sick of the group, plus Clapton's solo career overshadowed them. People at that point would have said they were overrated.

*Half of Wheels of Fire was live.
__________________
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.

Last edited by RealityChuck; 07-09-2019 at 07:58 AM.
  #9  
Old 07-09-2019, 08:11 AM
Helmut Doork is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 599
Why would you judge the quality of a band based on a concert recorded *35* years after their prime? No one going to Stones concert now would say they were a great band either. I dont know any musician who plays as well at age 60 as they did at 30.

Last edited by Helmut Doork; 07-09-2019 at 08:13 AM.
  #10  
Old 07-09-2019, 08:15 AM
ZonexandScout's Avatar
ZonexandScout is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Southeast US
Posts: 1,593
About 30 years ago, when Clapton was releasing all sorts of material and continued to be very popular, a friend of mine observed, "You know, I always felt that Clapton was the weakest musician in Cream." I don't know if I would agree, but the fact that I even gave the statement serious consideration should suggest how good the group was at their peak.
  #11  
Old 07-09-2019, 08:45 AM
Crotalus's Avatar
Crotalus is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Chillicothe, Ohio
Posts: 6,063
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZonexandScout View Post
About 30 years ago, when Clapton was releasing all sorts of material and continued to be very popular, a friend of mine observed, "You know, I always felt that Clapton was the weakest musician in Cream." I don't know if I would agree, but the fact that I even gave the statement serious consideration should suggest how good the group was at their peak.
I think it depends on which genre you judge them by. From a blues/rock standpoint, I have always felt that Clapton was the strongest player of the three. I am far less knowledgeable about jazz, but it seems likely to me that Baker and Bruce would seem like the more capable players to jazz fans.
  #12  
Old 07-09-2019, 09:13 AM
Snowboarder Bo's Avatar
Snowboarder Bo is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 26,855
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZonexandScout View Post
About 30 years ago, when Clapton was releasing all sorts of material and continued to be very popular, a friend of mine observed, "You know, I always felt that Clapton was the weakest musician in Cream." I don't know if I would agree, but the fact that I even gave the statement serious consideration should suggest how good the group was at their peak.
I agree with your friend without reservation or hesitation. And I think Eric Clapton is among the top 20 blues guitarists of the last century.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 07-09-2019 at 09:14 AM.
  #13  
Old 07-09-2019, 09:31 AM
Loach's Avatar
Loach is offline
The Central Scrutinizer
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Pork Roll/Taylor Ham
Posts: 25,442
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
I agree with your friend without reservation or hesitation. And I think Eric Clapton is among the top 20 blues guitarists of the last century.
And I would say Jack Bruce is at least in the top 20 of best bass players in the last century. Probably top 10. And I liked his voice too. Cream was not overrated.
  #14  
Old 07-09-2019, 11:01 AM
Jackmannii is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: the extreme center
Posts: 31,870
Cream was a band for people who celebrated performance and didn't care too much about the songs themselves.

Since my emphasis is on the latter, they were never a favorite band.

Wouldn't judge them on a crepitant reunion gig though.
  #15  
Old 07-09-2019, 11:34 AM
lingyi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,962
Cream was a musician's group with each of them holding their own with/against each other. I don't have "time" as Ginger refers to it, but over the years I've come to understand and hear what others are talking about. While Clapton gets the most attention, all three alternately play lead and accompaniment, especially on their jams.

As the narrator on "Farewell Concert of Cream" says: "Their motto is simple...forget the message, forget the lyrics and just play."
  #16  
Old 07-09-2019, 01:05 PM
Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 31,459
Quote:
Originally Posted by russian heel View Post
Watching their 2005 reunion at Albert Hall. Other than the hits, of which I would say there were maybe arguably two handfuls,
First, any band who had two handfuls of hits in a less than three year career can't be overrated. Not that Cream had that many.

Remember that Clapton quit the Yardbirds just after recording "For Your Love" because he hated the pop direction the band was taking. The song went to #1 on the British charts and they survived by bringing in Jeff Beck. Clapton's move could have killed a great band.

He went over to John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and lived the blues for a year without any thought of hits. They put out an album, Blues Breakers – John Mayall – With Eric Clapton, which should have been a popular breakthrough. But Clapton, who actually had been living with Mayall, walked out to form Cream just before it was released, and the band never recovered commercially.

So it's hard to say that hits and commercial success were part of the DNA of Cream's formation. They never had a top ten single in the UK and put out four singles before they charted in the U.S. with "Sunshine of Your Love." Admittedly, that made a huge difference. Fresh Cream went to #39; Disraeli Gears to #4. Since the rise of a national string of FM stations playing rock postdated Cream, most Americans had to take their cues about British groups from hits. "White Room" went to #5 and Wheels of Fire to #1. That's spectacular, since it was the first album by any British group outside the Beatles to hit #1. And that happened before their last American tour.

I'm not going to get into any discussions of guitar-playing. Overall Cream was a seminal group, pointing toward a new direction that zillions of bands would follow. Their work was wildly popular at the time in the U.S., much more so than contemporaries like the Who or the Kinks, which are better thought of today for their individual songs - but weren't big hits in America during that time period.

They existed before really decent live recordings were possible for record companies, so we don't have much good evidence for how great they sounded live. A bootleg site I found says on a scale of 1-10 for studio quality recording, the very best bootleg rates only a 6.

It would be nice to have more material to judge them by, but we don't. I still don't think they are overrated. I think Blind Faith was underrated for decades, with hindsight making them look better in recent years, but that's a different thread.
  #17  
Old 07-09-2019, 02:04 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,174
Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
Cream was as good as people thought it was. But once the group broke up, their record company kept releasing every bit of live material they ever did, with no regard to quality, and doing three compilation albums (for a group that only recorded four studio albums*).

By the mid-70s, the repackaging made people sick of the group, plus Clapton's solo career overshadowed them. People at that point would have said they were overrated.

*Half of Wheels of Fire was live.
Well, 3 1/2, since most of Goodbye was live.

The production quality on the live disc of Wheels of Fire was amazing. It was my favorite album when it came out, and it was by far the best quality live recording I had ever heard, except perhaps for some classical. The rest of the live tracks, not so much.
  #18  
Old 07-09-2019, 05:52 PM
Typo Negative's Avatar
Typo Negative is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: 7th Level of Hell, Ca
Posts: 17,642
Quote:
Originally Posted by russian heel View Post
Am I grossly unfair to judge such a legendary band based on this 2005 show? Did Clapton’s 2005 guitar choice not hold up? Were they much more more awesome in their heyday than a bunch of old timers trying to recreate their magic in 2005?

Yes. You were not seeing Cream, you were seeing a bunch of old guys who used to be Cream.
__________________
"God hates Facts"

- seen on a bumper sticker in Sacramento Ca
  #19  
Old 07-09-2019, 06:02 PM
Lamoral's Avatar
Lamoral is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Fenario
Posts: 2,772
As far as I'm concerned Eric Clapton was just the guitarist for Cream, full stop. Nothing he ever did aside from that has ever really done anything for me, though I like a handful of his solo songs like Lay Down Sally and Bell Bottom Blues. To me he was really in his element and at his peak playing with Cream. Having the bassist be the singer was also a unique thing about them; and Jack Bruce was a really good bassist, he's among the best of all time, his playing was always hard-hitting and full of memorable riffs. No, Cream's not overrated, they earned their stripes IMO.
  #20  
Old 07-09-2019, 08:36 PM
Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 31,459
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamoral View Post
Having the bassist be the singer was also a unique thing about them;
Well, Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson were around at the time, so "unique" might not be the word to use.
  #21  
Old 07-09-2019, 11:59 PM
Lamoral's Avatar
Lamoral is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Fenario
Posts: 2,772
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
Well, Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson were around at the time, so "unique" might not be the word to use.
That's not the same. First of all, Paul was not the only singer in the Beatles, he did not have the same kind of lead-vocalist role that Bruce had in Cream where his voice was THE voice of the band. Paul also frequently played other instruments. Brian Wilson was capable of playing the bass but he was most noted as a studio musician and arranger - Carol Kaye played bass on the majority of his work at that time.

Jack Bruce exemplifies the Platonic ideal of the 'lead-singer/bassist' role in a way that the others don't. And as a member of a power trio, he carried far more responsibility in that role than he would have if he was in a band with four members in which one of them was either a rhythm guitarist-vocalist or simply a vocalist alone.
  #22  
Old 07-10-2019, 01:50 AM
Guest-starring: Id!'s Avatar
Guest-starring: Id! is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 4,100
Quote:
Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
As the narrator on "Farewell Concert of Cream" says: "Their motto is simple...forget the message, forget the lyrics and just play."
Ugh, couldn't stand that pretentious sod of a narrator, and the film itself, with the requisite 60's psychedelic "amoeboid" graphics and rapid zoom in/zoom out silliness, was made even more infuriatingly stupid by showing several-minute close-ups of their faces as they were soloing.

No, not overrated; in their short time they made a significant, worthwhile splash.

Will always thank Jack for his "Politician" bass line - truly great.
  #23  
Old 07-10-2019, 02:28 AM
MrDibble's Avatar
MrDibble is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 25,884
I like Cream well enough (or better put, I like some Cream singles a lot - White Room, Strange Brew, Sunshine of Your Love), but the esteem they're accorded is beyond me - but then, I'm not a muso or a rockist or a noodler, so them being a great live act in the early days does nothing for me.
  #24  
Old 07-10-2019, 02:38 AM
lingyi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,962
Here's a great review of Cream bootlegs, required listening to before anyone can make a statement about how "overrated" they were (they weren't!) http://="http://gpatt.customer.netsp...otlegguide.htm

I have most of them and it's amazing to hear how they evolved in the two years between Nov '66 and Nov '68. Cream was Jeckyl in the studio and Hyde on stage. If you're looking for a note for note, beat for beat recreation of their songs, you won't find it in their live work. My go to song is Spoonful, which begins and ends the same, but in between each rendition is completely different!

Remember, what they were doing was unheard before them. There was no one who mixed jazz, blues and rock the way they did. The fact that you still hear their influence in music today is testament to how important they were to music in general. You can't judge Cream or many other 60's/early 70's groups by the influences they've had, but with a mindset that this was something that was completely new.

It took me nearly a decade to appreciate my brother's Fresh Cream album, but even though I was more interested in bubble gum pop when Sunshine of Your Love and White Room came out, I remember thinking that this was something special that I'd never heard before.

Last edited by lingyi; 07-10-2019 at 02:40 AM.
  #25  
Old 07-10-2019, 02:44 AM
MrDibble's Avatar
MrDibble is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 25,884
Quote:
Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
in between each rendition is completely different!
You say this like it's a good thing.

God, I hate jam bands. Looks like I dodged a bullet not watching all the live Cream stuff.
  #26  
Old 07-10-2019, 06:07 AM
Snowboarder Bo's Avatar
Snowboarder Bo is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 26,855
Cream was not a jam band IMO. Nor was Frank Zappa. But this isn't the thread for that discussion, so I'll leave off.
  #27  
Old 07-10-2019, 06:25 AM
MrDibble's Avatar
MrDibble is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 25,884
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
Cream was not a jam band IMO.
Didn't say they were.

But it seems, per lingyi, that they have that improvisational fretwankery aspect in common with them when playing live, so I was saying I'm grateful I've only heard the recorded singles.
  #28  
Old 07-10-2019, 06:39 AM
Royal Nonesutch is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 511
Quote:
Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
Remember, what they were doing was unheard before them. There was no one who mixed jazz, blues and rock the way they did.
Listen to any of the hundreds of live concert recordings from the Grateful Dead from sometime around 1967-'68 onward and you will realize how completely wrong you are here., not to mention the Grateful Dead kept evolving their music for another 25+ years after Cream broke up.
  #29  
Old 07-10-2019, 07:14 AM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 42,666
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
Didn't say they were.

But it seems, per lingyi, that they have that improvisational fretwankery aspect in common with them when playing live, so I was saying I'm grateful I've only heard the recorded singles.
I guess I can't understand that sort of thinking. If they're going to sound exactly like their recorded work, why see them live? You can just listen to the recording again.

When I see an act live, I want to hear something different than the recordings.
__________________
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
  #30  
Old 07-10-2019, 07:52 AM
Crotalus's Avatar
Crotalus is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Chillicothe, Ohio
Posts: 6,063
Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
I guess I can't understand that sort of thinking. If they're going to sound exactly like their recorded work, why see them live? You can just listen to the recording again.

When I see an act live, I want to hear something different than the recordings.
There are many approaches to performing live, and many ways to enjoy attending shows. On one end of the performing spectrum are bands like the Eagles and the Cars, who pretty much play and sing what was on the record at their shows. I don't know who would represent the opposite end of that spectrum. Cream would be in the middle, I think, at least based on the show I saw. Some of the songs they played, like Spoonful, were like jazz songs, with a recognizable beginning and end wrapped around ten minutes or so of improvisation. Others, like Sunshine of Your Love and White Room, duplicated the arrangement of the recorded versions, with slightly longer guitar solos.

As for the enjoyment side, for me there are a few factors that make "just like the record" concerts fun. I'm a musician, so I enjoy seeing and hearing music played well, simply as a feat of skill. I also enjoy the slight differences that enter into performances over time, like the tiny phrasing changes that have become part of James Taylor's Fire and Rain over the decades. There's the feeling of participation, too, both with the artists and the crowd.
__________________
Ad hominem is a logical fallacy when it's used to argue against a concept. But it's perfectly appropriate when your point is that someone is an asshole. TonySinclair
  #31  
Old 07-10-2019, 08:57 AM
MrDibble's Avatar
MrDibble is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 25,884
Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
I guess I can't understand that sort of thinking. If they're going to sound exactly like their recorded work, why see them live? You can just listen to the recording again.

When I see an act live, I want to hear something different than the recordings.
I don't want them to sound exactly like their recordings. But I don't want them to sound very different from them, either. I am not a fan of solos, either, and that's usually what jamming breaks out into - a succession of solos. Like I said, extended fretwankery does nothing for me, I see it as self-indulgent.

I'm at a live concert to hear the songs I like, with some nuances - stuff like little fills, some witty mid-tune banter, maybe a different pace to the song. An example would be how Billy Bragg often makes up different, topical or situational, lyrics for Great Leap Forward. I make allowances for the opening and closing songs being jamm-y, that's expected - introduce the band and blow off steam at the end, sure. But not the whole fucking concert.

I don't go to the symphony for a Sibelius work and expect the 1st chair violin to break into 5 minutes of freeform fiddling, why would I take it from other music I like?

You can probably tell, I loathe most live jazz even more than jam bands...

Last edited by MrDibble; 07-10-2019 at 09:01 AM.
  #32  
Old 07-10-2019, 11:57 AM
Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 31,459
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamoral View Post
That's not the same. First of all, Paul was not the only singer in the Beatles, he did not have the same kind of lead-vocalist role that Bruce had in Cream where his voice was THE voice of the band. Paul also frequently played other instruments. Brian Wilson was capable of playing the bass but he was most noted as a studio musician and arranger - Carol Kaye played bass on the majority of his work at that time.

Jack Bruce exemplifies the Platonic ideal of the 'lead-singer/bassist' role in a way that the others don't. And as a member of a power trio, he carried far more responsibility in that role than he would have if he was in a band with four members in which one of them was either a rhythm guitarist-vocalist or simply a vocalist alone.
We're closing in on nitpicking, but I've got two points to make.

Clapton sang lead on several songs starting from the first album, and Bruce pushed him to do more singing in concert. The more Clapton wrote, the more he sang. Proportionally, he sang more Cream than George and Ringo combined did for the Beatles.

Wilson was the bass player for the Beach Boys for their first several years. The Wrecking Crew didn't start appearing until their eighth album (in 1965), and after that were only the true backing band for about two years.
  #33  
Old 07-10-2019, 01:46 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,174
Quote:
Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
Here's a great review of Cream bootlegs, required listening to before anyone can make a statement about how "overrated" they were (they weren't!) http://="http://gpatt.customer.netsp...otlegguide.htm
Corrected link.
Now about to read it!
  #34  
Old 07-10-2019, 10:23 PM
The_Peyote_Coyote is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 3,240
I just listened to Disraeli Gears on You Tube. They aren't my favorite musicians, but there is no way they are overrated. I think there are better vocalists than those gentlemen, but damn few to equal or exceed them for playing.
  #35  
Old 07-10-2019, 10:57 PM
lingyi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,962
I just realized why "Clapton is God" wasn't heard during the Cream years. He was surrounded by two other Gods (edit: who were his equals and arguably his superiors...definitely in jazz) and he was no longer unique! Not only did they push Eric to heights he never hit before, with the exception of the Layla sessions with Duane Allman, he never hit them again. He came close to hitting those heights a few times at the reunion (particularly on Stormy Monday), but while Jack and Ginger were goading him along, he (as he's done so often after Cream) restrained himself.

Last edited by lingyi; 07-10-2019 at 11:00 PM.
  #36  
Old 07-11-2019, 05:13 PM
Kent Clark's Avatar
Kent Clark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 26,353
Have you actually listened to any early Cream? Try this live performance from 1968.
  #37  
Old 07-11-2019, 11:31 PM
lingyi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,962
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Clark View Post
Have you actually listened to any early Cream? Try this live performance from 1968.
Umm...'68 was late Cream.

That's okay. It's hard to realize that they were only together 2 1/2 years!

Which brings us back to the original question. Overrated? Name another group that was only together for 2 1/2 years that had as great an impact as Cream!
  #38  
Old 07-11-2019, 11:47 PM
kaylasdad99 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 31,843
I really prefer Mocha Mix. I can invite my Jewish friends over for dinner and not worry about whether the mashed potatoes could be served with the meatloaf without causing problems. As Steve Allen used to say, “With Mocha Mix, it’s A-OK!”

Wait, what were we talking about?
  #39  
Old 07-12-2019, 07:56 AM
Ranger Jeff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 6,901
Clapton may have enjoyed "Reunion Cream" more than "Original Cream" because he was not the referee. The group's dynamics were different in the 60s. Bruce and Baker had been in the Graham Bond Organization together and agreed on only 2 things. They each HATED each others guts and they each wanted to play with Clapton. So Clapton was in the middle of that. During the Reunion, it was just a reunion for one gig. They didn't have to pal around, just make music. And sound reinforcement technology was a LOT different in 05 than it was in 68.

Clapton played a '64 Gibson SG Standard with a stop tailpiece with Cream. In '68 he switched to a Gibson Firebird and he had that Cherry red Gibson ES-335. He liked guitars with 2 humbuckers, volume controls, and tone controls then.
  #40  
Old 07-12-2019, 12:39 PM
EinsteinsHund's Avatar
EinsteinsHund is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: NRW, Germany
Posts: 2,925
Quote:
Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
Umm...'68 was late Cream.

That's okay. It's hard to realize that they were only together 2 1/2 years!

Which brings us back to the original question. Overrated? Name another group that was only together for 2 1/2 years that had as great an impact as Cream!
Only the Jimi Hendrix Experience comes to mind, even almost in the same time frame and genre, and being big influences on each other.
__________________
And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
  #41  
Old 07-12-2019, 03:02 PM
CookingWithGas's Avatar
CookingWithGas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tysons Corner, VA, USA
Posts: 13,267
To appreciate Cream in their zenith you have to understand the overall environment they were in. They were innovative and exciting. But like all other innovations, their work became dated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmut Doork View Post
Why would you judge the quality of a band based on a concert recorded *35* years after their prime? No one going to Stones concert now would say they were a great band either. I dont know any musician who plays as well at age 60 as they did at 30.
It's not that the Cream members don't still play well. It's that they still play the same old shit. Cream was great because they were inventive. By 2005 they were just another nostalgia act phoning it in.
__________________
Making the world a better place one fret at a time.
| | |·| |·| |·| |·| | |:| | |·| |·|
  #42  
Old 07-12-2019, 09:27 PM
Kent Clark's Avatar
Kent Clark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 26,353
Quote:
Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
Umm...'68 was late Cream.
2 1/2 years, dude. Early Cream was late Cream.

Cream didn't even last long enough to curdle.

BTW, "two handfuls" of hits for a band that only recorded four studio albums ain't bad.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 07-12-2019 at 09:30 PM.
  #43  
Old 07-13-2019, 01:28 AM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,174
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger Jeff View Post
Clapton may have enjoyed "Reunion Cream" more than "Original Cream" because he was not the referee. The group's dynamics were different in the 60s. Bruce and Baker had been in the Graham Bond Organization together and agreed on only 2 things. They each HATED each others guts and they each wanted to play with Clapton. So Clapton was in the middle of that. During the Reunion, it was just a reunion for one gig. They didn't have to pal around, just make music. And sound reinforcement technology was a LOT different in 05 than it was in 68.
Anyone wanting more of this should watch Beware of Mr. Baker which is amazing - and a bit scary.
Including how Baker more or less pushed his way into Blind Faith.
  #44  
Old 07-13-2019, 01:33 AM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,174
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Clark View Post
2 1/2 years, dude. Early Cream was late Cream.

Cream didn't even last long enough to curdle.

BTW, "two handfuls" of hits for a band that only recorded four studio albums ain't bad.
The production on the first album was pretty poor. And they didn't enhance the blues standards that they did as much as they did later. From Four Until Late was a lot more like what you heard on Bluesbreakers than on Wheels of Fire.

BTW, check out Bruce's Songs for a Tailor. Great album.
  #45  
Old 07-13-2019, 12:56 PM
lingyi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,962
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Clark View Post
2 1/2 years, dude. Early Cream was late Cream.

Cream didn't even last long enough to curdle.

BTW, "two handfuls" of hits for a band that only recorded four studio albums ain't bad.
I know you're joking (at least I think you're joking), but as described on the Cream bootlegs page, Cream had three stages:

"Cream’s career basically can be broken into 3 eras –

June 66- July 67 "Renovating the Blues" of the shorter blues based song form

Aug ’67 – June 68 "Jamming" of the extended instrumental jams and psychedelia.

Sept 68 – Nov ’68 "Farewell Tour" "

"Renovating the Blues" was Cream trying to find their audience and style. They were trying to stay close the studio recordings on "Fresh Cream" and songs that would appear on "Disraeli Gears". Their jams were shorter and less experimental. Despite what most people think, until they started touring the U.S., they were still struggling.

"Jamming" was Cream in their prime and where they proved they weren't "overrated". They often were "...playing for themselves" with the audiences just being lucky witnesses to what they were doing. This the period where most of the the live tracks on "Wheels of Fire" and Live Cream Vol. I and Live Cream Vol. II were recorded.

"Farewell Tour" Eric has stated that he didn't want to do it, but Jack, Ginger, Robert Stigwood and money forced him into it. As Ginger said about "Farewell Concert of Cream", "We were so much better than that.". Still they were head and shoulders above most groups then and now. The live tracks on "Goodbye" are from this period.

As I've stated above, there were two Creams. Jekyl was their studio work. Each album had it's place in Cream's history, but not made them great. If you're a fan of their studio work and their hits, that's fine and respected, but it's not what made Cream legendary.

Live Cream was when they turned into Hyde, especially during the "Jamming" period. They were pushing each other to heights they never hit before or since. Jack and Ginger are rightfully respected for their work after Cream, but without Eric to join/push them, I find it incomplete.

I'm envious of Crotalus for having seen Cream live, but as evidenced by the bootlegs, Cream was constantly evolving, especially during their "Jamming" period. To judge their live work by one concert is unfair to their legacy.

Which brings me to the end of my decades long search for something I couldn't place my finger on. Despite the numerous repackaged "official" Cream releases, with the exception of "Those Were the Days", almost all of them were repackaging of the original six albums, "Fresh Cream", "Disraeli Gears", "Wheels of Fire", "Goodbye", "Live Cream Vol I" and "Live Cream Vol II".

By the early '80's I had all of them and wanted more of what made their live work so compelling. I listened to blues, jazz and their contemporaries trying to find that mix that Cream had. And while it lead me to some great groups and albums, I still wasn't satisfied. It was only when I finally found the bootlegs in the early 2000's, that my search ended. After listening to them, then and now, I realized that the way the three of them played during their time with Cream was what I was searching for!

A few years ago, a co-worker was trying to convince me to listen to some groups whose concerts were available through live streaming, talking about how great the guitarists were. I may well be missing out on some great musicians and groups, but I kindly declined, explaining that Cream was all I needed.

Last edited by lingyi; 07-13-2019 at 12:57 PM.
  #46  
Old 07-13-2019, 01:04 PM
lingyi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,962
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger Jeff View Post
Clapton may have enjoyed "Reunion Cream" more than "Original Cream" because he was not the referee. The group's dynamics were different in the 60s. Bruce and Baker had been in the Graham Bond Organization together and agreed on only 2 things. They each HATED each others guts and they each wanted to play with Clapton. So Clapton was in the middle of that. During the Reunion, it was just a reunion for one gig. They didn't have to pal around, just make music. And sound reinforcement technology was a LOT different in 05 than it was in 68.

Clapton played a '64 Gibson SG Standard with a stop tailpiece with Cream. In '68 he switched to a Gibson Firebird and he had that Cherry red Gibson ES-335. He liked guitars with 2 humbuckers, volume controls, and tone controls then.
They're a third thing Jack and Ginger agreed upon, they respected each other as musicians and have often said each was one of the best bassist/drummer they ever played with. Eric was the cream (no pun intended) of the crop amongst guitarists, so it only made sense for the three of them to play together.
  #47  
Old 07-13-2019, 01:17 PM
lingyi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,962
Sorry for the flood, but his is close (obviously) to my heart and ears.

While Eric makes himself out to be the 'victim' of Jack and Ginger's battles, it wasn't the only factor leading to Cream's demise. By 1968, he was planning his exit from Cream, just as he left The Yardbirds and Bluesbreakers earlier and other bands post Cream because he wanted to play something else, in this case being highly influenced by The Band's "Music from Big Pink".
  #48  
Old 07-13-2019, 03:06 PM
KarlGauss's Avatar
KarlGauss is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Between pole and tropic
Posts: 8,236
I remember when Leonard Bernstein said he was impressed with Cream, and especially with Ginger Baker.*

To me, at 13, this was vindication!

*bottom paragraph in linked page (182) from Google Books
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:44 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017