Fleetwood Mac – The Collection Vol.2

It has been pretty much a year since I had a look at the early years of Fleetwood Mac, so it was about time that I had a look at their career after founder member and legendary guitar, Peter Green, left the band.

In my post from August 2020, I lamented that the blues era of the band had been poorly served by compilers of the groups archive. If I thought that the Peter Green era of Fleetwood Mac has been poorly served by the endless reissuing of only the most successful tracks from time or poorly research archive compilations, well, the next era is a virtual desert. When Peter Green left Fleetwood Mac, the band continued to make records and tour but without the blues guitar hero up front, the sound began to change from blues, to rock, to soft rock. Between 1970 and 1974, Fleetwood Mac released an album a year but from the 2018 50 Years Anniversary Compilation, you would hardly now it. 

On the 1 disc set which I suspect was designed to appeal to the casual buyer did not contain a single song from this era. In fact, only three songs from the twenty on the disc came form the Peter Green Era. On the three disc set, only disc one covered the first seven and most productive (in terms of releases) period of the band. With seventeen songs to cover this period, nine songs are from this forgotten second era which is not bad and the majority were single edits that I had never heard before. Nice touch but it really shows where the band through the money is as the rest of the set is from 1975 onwards. For the average Mac fan, this is most probably all they know. All of the Reprise label releases from 1969-1974 were released in a box set in 2020, but the lack of unreleased songs, be it in the studio or live was noticeable. This is a shame as this second era from contained its fair share of top notch songs. 

Mac kicked things off in the 70s by releasing the ‘Kiln House’ album and this is the weakest of this era’s records. It is a band trying to find their feet after their leading light and driving force left. It is not a great album, but it does have some good playing and a couple of good songs. As if losing one founder member wasn’t enough, by the time the next album came out, Jeremy Spencer had also left. This is where they drafted in the guitar playing who would play on all of the remaining albums throughout this era and who’s departure in 1974 would lead to Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joining the band.  

This man was Bob Welch and ‘Future Games’ was the first album he appeared on. This album is one, possibly two songs away from being a lost classic. It is also as far from the blues as you can get and it is not a surprise that the band lost a lot of their key UK audience around this period. Who wants to listen to soft rock with a sunshine Californian jazzy feel that came courtesy of American Welsh? Not the bands British fan base at any rate. The same line up continued on to the next album, ‘Bare Trees’ which also contained Welsh’s signature song, ‘Sentimental Lady’ which became a top ten US hit when he recorded a solo version in 1977. For Danny Kirwan though, this would be the end of the road. He had struggled since Peter Green left and his drinking had become a problem. After one too many incidents of erratic behaviour, Kirwan was out and the band regrouped with ex Savoy Brown singer Dave Walker and guitar player for hire Bob Weston coming in. 

The band’s next album, ‘Penguin’ is not a great album with a pretty pedestrian cover of I’m A Road Runner making up the numbers.  Penguin is notable for having a brief appearance by Peter Green on the song Nightwatch. At the time, this was the first Mac record to make any headway in the US, even though is did nothing in the UK. Walker did not last long as the band were not ready for a front person who didn’t play a guitar or keyboards and he was gone by the time the sessions for their next album which was called ‘Mystery To Me’. This was an improvement on the previous record and continued with the trend of their early 70s albums to do reasonably well in the US, but not in the UK. However, band harmony didn’t last long as it was found that Bob Weston was having an affair with Mick Fleetwood’s wife. The tour fell apart and Clifford Davis, the band’s manager sent a fake Mac on the road claiming he owned the band name. This fake Mac would end up changing their name to Stretch and release a number of records of their own. 

After a suggestion from Welch, the band relocated to the US and have pretty much stayed there ever since. The recorded their first US based album and it was called ‘Heroes Are Hard To Find’. Even though the album was the first Mac album to break into the US top 40, Welch felt it was time to move on. He felt that he had given all he could to the band and with his marriage failing, he moved on to pastures new. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find all of these songs on Spotify, especially as their were quite a number of songs from the Peter Green era that meant I could not create a play list on the platform. These compilations CD show a band in transition, but there is enough good songs in here to show that these albums are unduly being ignored with a lack of deluxe reissues. Bizarrely, all of the albums Danny Kirwan was on were given a Vinyl Box Set reissue in 2013 but apart from the addition of the single Oh Well (Parts 1 & 2) was the only bonus track. There have been a rare occasion when this era does get a compilation, this normally throws in a couple of rare or unreleased studio cuts with a load of live tracks. Why not put out some deluxe editions record label? Come on Warner Brothers Records, you can do better than this. The label was not swallowed up by Universal so the bands archives did not catch fire in 2008 so surely there is more in the archive? 

This era might be the bridge between the blues era and the multi million dollar selling soft rock behemoth but it does show how the band went from one to the other. So for now here is, to my mind anyway, the best of the years 1970-74. Enjoy.   

Disc 1

  1. Homeward Bound
  2. Child of Mine
  3. Sentimental Lady
  4. The Ghost
  5. Earl Grey
  6. Future Games
  7. Woman Of 1000 Years
  8. Sands Of Time
  9. Sometimes
  10. Spare Me A Little Of Your Love
  11. Sunny Side Of Heaven
  12. Morning Rain
  13. Hi Ho Silver
  14. Tell Me All The Things You Do
  15. One Together
  16. Dust
  17. Show Me A Smile

Disc 2

  1. Remember Me
  2. (I’m A) Roadrunner
  3. Angel
  4. Coming Home
  5. Keep On Going
  6. The Derelict
  7. Heroes Are Hard To Find
  8. Bad Loser
  9. Emerald Eyes
  10. Believe Me
  11. Night Watch
  12. Dissatisfied
  13. Revelation
  14. The City
  15. Prove Your Love
  16. The Way I Feel
  17. Bright Fire
  18. Come A Little Closer
  19. Caught In The Rain
  20. Why

King Crimson – In The Wake Of Poseidon

After listening to the ‘Complete 1969 Recordings’ box set, especially the live recordings, it was clear that a good number of of the songs that would end up on either the second King Crimson album ‘In the Wake of Poseidon’ or the ‘McDonald & Giles’ LP were already being performed by the band. This lead me to think what a second King Crimson album would sound like if the original line up and not imploded at the end of 1969. Reasons for the split are many. Drummer Michael Giles was finding the touring life a strain, as well as not coping very well with the bands increasing popularity. Too much speed plus not enough sleep and missing home, McDonald was also missing his girlfriend. Multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald was also not coping very well with life on the road. Both Giles and Mcdonald were also not fans of where the music was going, with guitar player Robert Fripp taking the band into new and darker places. They felt that their more pastoral infused sound would be lost. Vocalist and bass player Greg Lake, was also talking to keyboard player Keith Emerson who was in The Nice about forming a band. The Nice were supporting Crimson at the Filmore East shows. A friendship ensued and by April 1970, Lake had also left Crimson to form Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Only Fripp and Lyricist Peter Sinfield were left. 

Fripp was keen to continue with King Crimson and there was enough material from the previous twelve months for a new album. This would be ‘In the Wake of Poseidon’. This second album can be seen as a stop gap before Crimson really become the progressive behemoth they are famous for today. The album sounds similar to ‘In The Court of the Crimson King’, but there is some progression there as well. This similarity in sound could well be down to the fact that apart from Ian McDonald, the other three members from the first album are present, if only as sessions players or in Greg Lakes case, on the promise that he would receive King Crimson’s PA’s on payment. He would take this PA with him when he formed ELP. McDonald & Giles would join forces and release a self titled LP in 1971 that would also follow the template laid down by ‘In The Court of the Crimson King’. 

However, what I was interested in was what if the original line up of King Crimson had stayed together for another year and recorded a second album. All the elements are there, even though nothing can quite replace the bombast of ‘21st Schiziod Man’ as an opening song. I decided to go with something a little calmer to start off this album which is the folk inspired ‘Is She Waiting’. This really highlights the pastoral side that Ian McDonald was afraid would not get a look in with King Crimson once Robert Fripp started to assert some dominance over the band’s sound. We then follow this up with the Michael Giles penned ‘Tomorrow’s People’ which predates King Crimson, but as far as I can see, this song was not recorded before. 

‘Cadence and Cascade’ was originally recorded with Fripp’s school friend Gordon Haskell singing.  However, there is a version of this song with a Greg Lake guide vocal which I decided to use as it fits in with the theme of this being a continuation from the first album. The song ‘Peace’ featured in three different configurations on the original ‘In The Wake of Poseidon’ and I did plan on using it as the opening song on this record but it just didn’t flow in a way that sounded good to me, but it fit nicely after the end of the title track. 

The second side is taken up with the ‘Birdman’ suite which also took up the second side of the ‘McDonald & Giles’ album. The song took some cues form the track ‘Trees’ that had been played live by Crimson in 1969. Some of the song was written by Robert Fripp and his section would become ‘Pictures of a City’. This Fripp penned tune did not make the cut here but ‘Birdman’ does, along with another section of ‘Peace’. To finish off, I have included the single edit of ‘Cat Food’ which the band would perform on Top of the Pops. Who thought that this song would be a commercial success really must have been on something. I ditched the original B-Side which was called ‘Groon’. I replaced it with ‘Flight of the Ibis’, which does share some similarities with ‘Cadence & Crimson’. That is because originally the ‘Ibis’ song had the ‘Cadance’ lyric. When he left Crimson, Ian McDonald took the tune with him and Robert Fripp composed a similar tune to the lyrics. It would have been interesting to have had a combination of the ‘Ibis’ tune with the ‘Cadence’ lyric, but unfortunately this was not to be. 

Side A

  1. Is She Waiting?*
  2. Tomorrow’s People – The Children Of Today*
  3. Cadence & Cascade (Greg Lake Guide Vocal)
  4. In The Wake Of Poseidon
  5. Peace – A Beginning

Side B

  1. Birdman*
  2. The Inventor’s Dream (O.U.A.T)
  3. The Workshop
  4. Wishbone Ascension
  5. Birdman Flies!
  6. Wings In The Sunset
  7. Birdman – The Reflection
  8. Peace – An End

Single

  1. Cat Food (Single Mix)
  2. Flight of The Ibis* 

The cover art is the image that was on the back of the original ‘In The Wake of Poseidon’ gatefold sleeve. 

This record could not be reproduced on Spotify. 

*McDonald & Giles – McDonald & Giles LP

**King Crimson – In The Wake Of Poseidon LP

Giles, Giles & Fripp feat. Judy Dyble – The Bronsdesbury EP (RSD Special)

Well, today is the second Record Store Day of the year so here, as promised earlier in the month is my fantasy RSD release by Giles, Giles & Fripp with Judy Dyble. 

Side A

  1. I Talk To The Wind (Judy Dyble Vocal)

Side B

  1. Make It Today (Judy Dyble Vocal)
  2. Under The Sky (Judy Dyble Vocal)

The version of ‘Under The Sky’ sung by Judy Dyble is taken from her Gathering The Threads collection, as this corrects a slight drop out in the tape that was evident on The Blondersbury Tapes version.

This EP collects the remaining vocal performances from Judy Dyble that were not included on the ‘Metaphormosis’ album from earlier in the month. https://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/giles-giles-fripp-metaphormosis/

The EP cover was taken from an image produced by YouTuber Les Chants de Maldoror with some text added and Record Store Day sticker.

King Crimson – 1969 (Live Album)

It is not quite true to say that King Crimson exploded fully formed out of nowhere, which the ‘Complete 1969 Records’ tries to put forward. Granted, the sound of Gile, Giles & Fripp is very different from what was to come, but with the song ‘I Talk to the Wind’, the progression was already in place. What King Crimson did that GG&F did not do was to take their sound out on the road. The band honed their craft in the basement of the Fulham Palace Cafe (on Fulham Palace Road), the first live shows were in February 1969 at the Change Is venue in Newcastle. Over the eleven months, the band would play the standard venues of the day including the Marquee in London, festivals and universities. This was before they set off for a a series of gigs in the USA which would bring tensions that had been bubbling under the surface to a head. By 14th December 1969 and their gig at the Filmore West, the original line up of King Crimson had disbanded. 

What we present here is a collection of live tracks that were recorded, mostly by fans in the audience of the first King Crimson line up. The fidelity of these recording sis not great, but it is fantastic that we have any at all and that they have survived. As King Crimson were keen to branch out with their playing, having a single disc set would not showcase the bands talents fully so I decided that a double would have to be complied. I also wanted this to be a mix of songs that had or would be recorded in the studio, as well as tunes that did not. There also needed to be a bit of editing here and there to make it sound as though all of these tunes came for the one gig, Enjoy. 

Side A

  1. A Man, A City – Live At The Filmore East* 
  2. Epitaph – Live At the Filmore East

Side B

  1. Get Thy Bearings – Live At Victoria Ballroom, Chesterfield 

Side C

  1. Drop In – Live At Victoria Ballroom, Chesterfield
  2. Mantra – Live At Victoria Ballroom, Chesterfield
  3. Travel Weary Capricorn** – Live At Victoria Ballroom, Chesterfield

Side D

  1. Mars – Live At Plumpton Racecourse (9th Annual Jazz & Blues Festival) 
  2. I Talk To The Wind – Live At Victoria Ballroom, Chesterfield
  3. 21st Century Schizoid Man – Live At the Filmore East

*The gig announcement was taken from their set as one of the opening acts for the Rolling Stones at their Hyde Park gig, 5th July 1969. 

** On the original, the segues in a passage of improvisation. Due to the time constraints of the vinyl format, this improvisation was cut and some audience applause from another performance added. 

The cover is adapted from the protective sleeve that came with 2020’s, ‘Complete 1969 Recordings’. 

Giles, Giles & Fripp – Metaphormosis

With the release of the King Crimson ‘Complete 1969 Recordings’ at the end of 2020, I thought it was about time that reassess the early years of the band along with the group, Giles, Giles & Fripp, the group that ultimately lead to that latter bands formation. 

GG&F were formed when the Giles Brothers advertised for a singing keyboard payer. Robert Fripp responded to the advert even though he played guitar and didn’t sing. The trio ended up moving to a flat in London and whilst there, they made a series of rather good sounding demos that lead to them being given a contract with Decca’s newly formed Deram label. Even by the standards of the day (and by day I mean 1968), the resulting album, which was called the ‘Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles & Fripp’ is a bit weird. The records contains two spoken word pieces mixed with songs that range from jazz, pop, psychedelic and novelty. Even though the band appeared on the now lost to history BBC Show, Colour Me Pop, the singles and album failed to set the charts alight. The band might have ended up as another footnote in the history of popular music except for the fact that by 1969, the group had evolved into the vastly more successful King Crimson. This What-If compilation looks at the year between the release of the Cheerful Insanity album and the King Crimson debut record. 

What Giles, Giles & Fripp (GG&F) had that very few, if anyone else had at the time was their own private studio, sort of. The had managed to acquire a second hand Revox tape recorder along with some microphones, some headphones and a metal box fitted with attenuators and coaxial socks that was essentially their mixer. It did help that they knew a chap called Russell Medcraft who had once worked at EMI’s Technical Research Department and was able to not only maintain the equipment, but helped calibrate the Revox so that the band was able to use the tape machine as a primitive two track machine, meaning that they could overdub tracks. They became so proficient at this that the recordings are missing the enormous amounts of hiss that would be expected from constantly recording from one part of the tape to the other. The fidelity of these recordings is exceptionally good considering the conditions in which they were recorded.

It was at this time that an advert from June of 1968 caught the eyes of Peter Giles. It was from Judy Dyble, who hd been in the original lineup of Fairport Convention. Dyble was looking to form her own band but ended up joining GG&F, and brought her boyfriend at the time, Ian McDonald along with her. He also brought with him his friend and lyricist Peter Sinfield into the fold. Dyble did not stick around long, but she did contribute to a number of the songs and even though I have included songs that were mostly sung by the men on the group, I felt that her performances were good enough that if this second album had been released, this would have been a good candidate for a GG&F and Judy Dyble Record Store Day release (which I will post later this month). However, I digress.  

The band continued to record but Peter Giles was beginning to lose interest. He and his brother had been in bands for eight years and he had enough of living a hand to mouth existence, so quit to find a proper job. The split was amicable enough that he would come back to play bass on the second King Crimson album, appear with them on their 1970 Top Of The Pops appearance and on the McDonald & Giles album. However, with the exception of the Judy Dyble sung ‘I Talk To The Wind’, these recordings sat in a cupboard, tea chest, someone’s shed (delete as appropriate) until 2001 when they finally escaped. Even though it does show some hints at what wad to come with King Crimson, the majority of these recordings hark back more to the GG&F ‘Cheerful Insanity’ album than ‘In The Court of the Crimson King’. However, it is these recordings that I used for the basis of what a second GG&F album would have sounded like, and pretty good it sounds too. In fact, I would argue that this is a better record. Would they have re-recorded the songs that had Judy Dyble vocals?  Well, the versions I have used were the only versions of these songs that were available so I decided to use them reasoning that the album sounded better with them than without them. Hypocrite was also recorded before the band had moved to London, but for a lack of other material, it had to go in. The only other songs I really had to think about using was ‘I Talk To The Wind’, because it was used later on the ‘Court of the Crimson King’. However, if this album was to have been released in 1969, then it would have had to have included it is one of the best song they recorded up to this point. 

Even though this was recorded on such primitive equipment, it sounds great. To show how good the quality of these recordings were, the band mimed to them on their appearance on Colour Me Pop, a performance which has been mentioned before unfortunately been lost in time. I would recommend reading the sleeve notes to the original Brondesbury Tapes CD to find out how they managed to record these songs. GG&F did not get to release another album and King Crimson did not release their record on Deram/Decca. They were just another in a long line of artists who were on that label but went onto greater success somewhere else. Imagine what Decca would have been if they had actually signed The Beatles and kept King Crimson, Genesis, David Bowie and the like. 

The album cover was a direct copy of LP Metaphormosis that was released by Tenth Planet in 2001. It contained highlights from the sessions that produced the demos that make up the songs on this album.

Side 1

  1. Murder (Judy Dyble Vocals) 
  2. Plastic Pennies (Judy Dyble Vocals)
  3. Passages Of Time (Judy Dyble Vocals)
  4. Why Don’t You Just Drop In (Peter Giles Vocals)
  5. Scrivens
  6. Wonderland (Peter & Michael Giles/Ian McDonald Vocals)

Side 2

  1. Tremelo Study In A-Major – Spanish Suite
  2. She Is Loaded
  3. Hypocrite (Peter Giles Vocals)
  4. Make It Today (Michael Giles/Ian McDonald Vocals)
  5. I Talk To the Wind (Michael Giles/Ian McDonald Vocals)
  6. Under The Sky

All the songs are taken from a mixture of ‘The Brondesbury Tapes’ CD and as the GGFF recording from the ‘Complete 1969 Recordings’ box set. The only exceptions were ‘She Is Loaded’ and ‘Under The Sky’ which came from the expanded edition of The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles & Fripp from 1992

A playlist for this complication could not be produced due to one or more songs not being available on Spotify. 

Derek & The Dominos – Can’t Sleep At Night (Unreleased 2nd Album)

Back in March 2020, I put together a two disc version of Derek & the Dominos ‘Layla’ album in the style of a Deluxe Edition. The first disc contained the album as was released with the second containing outtakes from those sessions as well as the best (in my opinion) of what was recorded for their second LP, which was never finished. A brief story of the band can be found here as well as that playlist can be found here. https://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/derek-the-dominos/. 

I did consider putting together an attempt at the second Dominos LP, but so many other people have had a go and there was only so much material that has surfaced that is actually worth listening to. The sessions for the second Dominos LP were fraught to say the least. The band had set out on tour after completing the ‘Layla’ album, the results of which can be heard in numerous bootlegs as well as a couple of officially released albums. The officially released albums all contain songs recorded from the bands gig at the Filmore East. The band had consumed a good deal of drugs in the studio and would continue to do so on tour. Clapton’s personal life was also in turmoil due the death of his grandfather and his unrequited love for Patti Boyd, then wife of George Harrison. He would also lose friend Jimi Hendrix as well as Duane Allman, the man who had brought the ‘Layla’ session to life once he joined the band in the studio. 

Keyboard player, Bobby Whitlock was also having issues with drummer Jim Gordon. On stage, Whitlock would be positioned in such a way that he was looking at Gordon, who mouth things to Whitlock about what he would like to do to him. Whitlock would say that Gordon ‘liked to swing both ways’. Whitlock had also signed a solo deal that would mean any new material  as well as anything he had already written would be siphoned off for those. The Dominos backed him up on these albums but it would seem that the whole band did not play on any of the songs. Clapton even played bass on one of the recordings, something that he seems not have done before nor since. 

By the time the band reconvened at Olympic Studios in Barnes, England, the magic had gone. Inter-band relations were be strained. The quality of the new material was not up to the standard of the first LP and Clapton was most probably missing a second guitar player to bring the best of him, much in the way Allman had done in the ‘Layla’ sessions. That is not to say that everything is not up to scratch. Anyway, things quickly started to fall apart with Jim Gordon seemingly being the instigator of it. 

He wanted more song writing credits, and three of his songs were recorded in the sessions. None have seen the light officially as of June 2021. He was also displaying the first symptoms of as yet undiagnosed schizophrenia and this was shown on the sessions notes when the engineer wrote ‘what the fuck is he doing?’ on the session notes. The end of the band came about when Gordon spent an enormous amount of time tuning his drums. The atmosphere was already tense and this tuning exercise did nothing to cut the tension. Clapton, who was tuning his guitar, made some remark about the merits of another drummer which Gordon took exception to. An exchange of words took place which ended when Gordon said ‘would you like me to tune that thing for you?’, referring to Clapton’s guitar. More words were exchanged and Clapton let the studio saying that he would never work with Gordon again. He never did. It would also take him until 2000 to play with Whitlock again even though bass player Carl Radle was a member of Clapton’s band for most of the 1970s.   

So, how to put together what could have been the second LP. ‘Layla’ was made up of nine original songs and five covers. When the band were recording the album, they were worried that they would not have enough material for a single album, let alone the double that it became. The covers and the extended run time of some of the songs helped up the run time. There is no need to try and emulate the double sided nature of that album. A single disc LP will have to do here. 

The Dominos played a good number of songs live that were not recorded in the studio. One of these was a Whitlock original called ‘Country Life’, but as this appeared on his first solo album, I did not use this as it was recorded before the Dominos second album seasons had started. What does this leave me with. Well, there are four second album seasons that were released on the Crossroads Box Set back in 1988. They are ‘Evil’, ‘More More Chance’, ‘Mean Old Frisco’ and ‘Snake Lake Blues’. I went for these mixes instead of the 2010 versions as they are how I originally heard those songs. I decided to use the 2010 version of ‘Got To Get Better In A Little While’ because Whitlock was brought into the studio to finish the track off as he was not on the version released on the Crossroads set. 

‘High’ was also recorded by the Dominos but it did not include any vocals. I have used the version from 1975’s ‘There’s One In Every Crowd’ which does, even though with the female backing vocalists, it is not quite how the original would have sounded. There is also room Jim Gordon original (‘Till I See You Again) , and another one could have been used as a B-Side if a single had been released from this album. If I as to chose it, ’Got To Get Better In A Little While’ would be the obvious choice. ‘Motherless Children’ was another songs the Dominos would play live but I have used the  studio version taken from Clapton’s 1974 album, ‘461 Ocean Boulevard’. 

The rest are covers from the band’s tour which I have decided the use these to make up for the shortfall in usable studio cuts. These are taken from ‘The Majestic Stand’ set and this includes a guest appearance from Delaney Bramlett. This gives Clapton a sparing partner to play off, which beefs up the sound and shows what the band could have sounded like if they had taken a second player out with them. In some respects, it follows the template that Clapton would follow with his solo work during the 70s. A smattering of originals padded out with covers. 

This is nowhere near the classic album that ‘Layla’ is, but it does have its merits. The version of ‘Evil’ being a particular highlight. Some of the live recordings are not professionally recorded either so the sound quality is a bit of a mixed bag I am afraid.

Side A

  1. Motherless Children – 461 Ocean Boulevard
  2. All Night Long – The Majestic Stand**
  3. Everyday I Have The Blues – The Majestic Stand***
  4. One More Chance – Crossroads (1988 Box Set)
  5. ’Til I See You Again – Unreleased 2nd Album Session
  6. High – There’s One In Every Crowd

Side B

  1. Got To Get Better In A Little While – 2010 Version
  2. Evil – Crossroads (1988 Box Set)
  3. Ramblin’ On My Mind – The Majestic Stand*
  4. Stormy Monday – The Majestic Stand**
  5. Mean Old Frisco – Crossroads (1988 Box Set)
  6. Snake Lake Blues – Crossroads (1988 Box Set)

B-Side

It’s Hard To Find – Unreleased 2nd Album Sessions

*Concert at Electric Factory Theatre, Philadelphia (PA), United States. 16th October 1970

** Concert at Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica (CA), United States. 20th November 1970, 1st show with Delaney Bramlett (slide guitar)

***Concert at Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica (CA), United States. 20th November 1970, 2nd show with Delaney Bramlett (slide guitar)

The cover was taken from a forum discussing the second Dominos album. It uses a painting like ‘Layla’ but I am not sure how the person who produced this decided upon the title. Much like the album, the cover is nowhere near as memorable as the first LP but I must thank whoever made this for posting it. 

Cream – The Music Of Cream

As there has been a couple of episodes of the podcast looking at the later years of Eric Clapton’s career, I thought it was time to have a look at one fo the seminal bands he appeared with during his early career. 

Ah Cream, one of the first supergroups. Famous for the inventing the power trio, their proficiency with their instruments, their extended solos and producing some the greatest music of all time. The existence of the band was always going to be a limited affair due to volatile nature of the relationship between bassist (plus loads of other instruments) Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker. Having played together in a previous band, Baker and Bruce had been known for their quarrelling, on stage fights and damaging one another’s instruments. Baker had had Bruce fired and Bruce only stopped turning up for gigs after Baker had threatened him with a knife. It was Clapton though who wanted Bruce in as he had played with him in John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers. Even though Bruce and Baker were reluctant, they decided to put their differences aside and took they name, Cream. The individual members did have reputations at the time as being the best around but taking that sort of name still meant they had to prove it. 

The band initially played a tight set but soon expanded the songs they were playing, mostly down to the fact that initially they did not have much in the way of original material. It was also agreed that the band would split songwriting duties between them and that Bruce would be the main vocalist. Fresh Cream, the band’s first album clearly shows this as both Baker and Bruce contributed material, but Bruce sang all the lead vocal parts except on Four Units Late, which Clapton sang. Clapton was not very confident about singing at this stage and as far as I can tell, not written any original material. Out of all of the albums Cream produced, Fresh Cream could be argued to be the most focused. The songs are mostly blues based and to the point even though the beginnings of the extended jam material can be seen here with the inclusion of Spoonful and Toad, both of which clock in at over 5 minutes each. The first two singles were also not included on this album, the rock classic I Feel Free and the ‘are you sure that is Cream’ debut record, Wrapping Paper.  

Disraeli Gears, the second effort is most probably their most famous record. With its memorable sleeve and including such classics as Sunshine of Your Love, it is let down by two of the weakest efforts in the band’s catalogue. Blue Condition and Mother’s Lament. When a box set and deluxe edition of this album came out, there were a number of songs that had been demoed for this album but these were not put on the record because the record label thought of them as uncommercial. Surely a song needs to be good, not just commercial? The majority of the music for this compilation comes from these two albums, and they are the best. After this, the standard of the music on the LPs in my opinions diminishes somewhat. 

Wheels on Fire did include the classic White Room, but after that, the original material is possibly a bit too experimental, or just not good enough for me. The live album suffers from the same problem that most records of that nature suffer from, in that a three piece has a big hole in the sound once the lead guitar player goes for a solo. There are also limitations in what you can do with a three piece, and when it sounds like all of them are taking a solo at the same time, it is no wonder that they turned the sound up so they could hear themselves. Goodbye sounds as though it was knocked out to fulfil their contract, with each member supplying a song each and the rest of the record containing more live material of songs released on their previous albums. This album also included Badge, a song that would would become one of the bands most famous pieces but was not included on here as I don’t like it. 

This is the problem I have with Cream. They have a great reputation and can be said to be one of the precursors for heavy rock/metal, but for a band with such a great reputation, their recording legacy does not quite match up. Yes, they produced some classic songs which are still played on the radio today, but there was so many that were not very good. There is also their reputation as a live act, which I have also struggled with. I bought all of the live recordings up to a point but after a while, the constant soloing can become quite hard to listen to . When they got it right, as shown here by the covers of Steppin’ Out and Crossroads, they were great. Most of the time, it was just too self indulgent for my tastes. However, there was enough material for me to compile a CD and I am sure there will be those that will disagree with this playlist and feel other songs should have been included, or that I have been a bit harsh on their live reputation, but its just my opinion folks.   

  1. Wrapping Paper
  2. I Feel Free
  3. N.S.U.
  4. Cat’s Squirrel
  5. Four Until Late
  6. Dreaming
  7. Rollin’ & Tumblin’
  8. Strange Brew
  9. Sunshine Of Your Love
  10. Steppin’ Out
  11. Crossroads
  12. World Of Pain
  13. Dance The Night Away
  14. Tales Of Brave Ulysses
  15. White Room
  16. Born Under A Bad Sign
  17. The Coffee Song
  18. SWLABR
  19. Outside Woman Blues
  20. Take It Back
  21. I’m So Glad
  22. Doing The Scrapyard Thing
  23. Deserted Cities Of The Heart
  24. What A Bringdown

The cover is taken from https://www.redbubble.com/shop/cream+band+posters