The bassist Jack Bruce passed away today. For those who’d like to recall just what a great player he was, there’s a selection of clips to view on this link.
“Hey fellas, let’s all get some milk!”
Geraldo Rivera to woman at the check-out: “What do you think of Punk Rock?”
Woman: “Oh … I use it all the time.”
Nice. I had only seen an edited version of this. All those real gas-guzzlers in the parking lot..makes me nostalgic!
Who’s the fellow in the red jacket?
The guy in the red jacket is John Ciambotti, the bass player of Clover, who covered for me for the first couple of gigs of that tour as I was recovering from a self-inflicted injury.
Pete’s a full head taller than EC. Is he like 6′ 6″-6′ 7″ (201-204 cm)?
No Pete’s about 6′ 3″ — Elvis wasn’t much different in height to Steve and me. I don’t know that there’s a tactful way to put this, but EC always looked skinnier than he was because he has quite a large skull!
I’ve read that he’s always carried a huge weight on his shoulders.
I’m not going there.
Avacados and milk. Now that is the epitome of life on the road that i’ve always dreamt of.
The wisdom of time and maturity has revealed that avocados are a better source of nutrition than milk. Given what other sustencnce was coursing through our systems all those years ago, it wouldn’t have made much difference if we’d stopped off for bleach and uranium.
Indeed. Reminds of sitting in the parking lot before a Dead show (the one and only I ever attended) in Berkley, CA. I was drinking cheap beer and eating some artificially flavored chips (crisps). A hippy bint who was clearly under the influence of something pretty strong, lectured me on how she lives on little more than organic tofu, sprouts and such. I couldn’t help think that her diet couldn’t possibly begin to offset whatever it was she was ingesting and/or injecting.
Hence the injuction of Hippocrates to: “Let your food be medicine and you medicine be food.”
So Hillary Clinton, Rick Perry, and Billy Graham Were on a Plane.
The airplane was about to crash, and there were 4 passengers left, but only 3 parachutes.
The first passenger, Rick Perry said “I’m the governor of the great state of Texas, and I have a great responsibility, being the leader of millions of people, helping lead our state to prosperity, etc.” So he takes the first parachute, and jumps out of the plane.
The second passenger, Hillary Clinton, said “I am the future first female President of the United States, and I am the smartest woman in the world.” So she takes the second parachute and exits the plane.
The third passenger, Billy Graham, says to the fourth passenger, a 10-year old boy scout “I am old and frail and I don’t have many years left, so as a Christian gesture and good deed, I will sacrifice my life and let you take the last parachute.”
The boy scout said “It’s okay! There’s a parachute left for you. The ‘world’s smartest woman’ took my backpack.”
I can think of a couple others here who are backpack worthy. I’m sure there’s none in the UK.
Of course not. Don’t get me started.
LeBron touches Kate. What’s the world coming to?
Good job it was the US Kate and not the UK Kate — otherwise there’d be trouble 🙂
Unlike us, at least GB has “official” Royalty.
What … you mean Prince? …oh!
Queen Latifah. We got that going for us. Plus, the aforementioned “King James” holding court on his court. But our real ace in the hole…The Kennedy family and their wanna-be’s.
Ah — the King of Pop, Prince, Queen … and now Royal Blood. Now how about some peasant band names? …The Serf-aris?
The Peon’s. My new band.
Band? — You mean “autonomous collective”.
There is, of course, the self-proclaimed King of America who apparently was known to occasionally moonlight as the Jester to the Divine.
…Bearer of the sword “ex-calibre”?
Autonomous collective? I thought we were an anarcho-syndicalist commune.
Speaking of that scene and slang from either side of the pond, what exactly is a “bint” as in a “moistened bint.” I’ve always wondered but figured it was best not to ask my female cousin from over your way for fear it might be similar to “fanny”, which over here is a childhood cutesy word for arse, if you didn’t already know.
A “bint” is what you would call a “chick” — a young girl. I don’t think it has any ribald connotations — I’m not sure of the etymology. I might have to look it up.
According tho the Urban Dictionary, “bint” is English slang for a whore or bitch, similar to a tart. So they have it as a bit more severe than “chick”. In my experience, it’s more a mildly-derogatory term — usually used in tandem with an adjective, as in “dozy bint” or “daft bint”. So it’s probably more like the US “dumb blonde”, “airhead”, or Valley girl.
Brilliant reference…Proves again why your name is at the top of the page.
One of the band’s favourite movies on the tour bus. It’s only a rabbit…
There are those who call you “eTIMologist.”
Not twice they don’t 🙂
Well, perhaps “dumb bint” would describe our 30-ish, blonde client, who upon arriving at the studio, drove her car into a large section of freshly poured and troweled concrete, much to the chagrin of the pourers of said concrete, standing near by.
Yep — that would be appropriate.
I think those Teamster’s took out the “bi” and subbed in “cu”.
Now here’s an intesting bit of e-TIM-ology … about the Kennet Valley in Wiltshire, where I currently reside. The following is an extract from “Mysteries of Holy Places” by Susan Elizabeth Hale:
‘Avebury [which just a few miles from where I live] is part of a great mythic landscape that includes Silbury Hill, West Kennet Long Barrow, Windmill Hill and the Sanctuary and other nearby ceremonial sites — all of which were linked to function as a whole. At Avebury early peoples saw the landscape of the entire area as the outline of the body of the Goddess — for thousands of years before the stone circle and other nearby ceremonial sites came into being. Rituals moved to different locations during the seasonal year to enact the myths of the maiden, mother and crone. The monuments were aligned within the “pubic triangle” of the two streams that converged at Swallowhead Spring. This confluence is where the River Kennet is born. In old English the word Kennet was spelt “Cunnit” — from which the colloquial word “cunt” was derived.
I enclosed this information in a letter accompanying my parking fine payments, as I thought the Kennet Council Parking Wardens might like to know the true meaning of their badge of office.
Ban me if you will, Dear Moderator, but the masses will demand that you “Weewease Wodawick!!’
The Moderator has gone on his seasonal break.
Now that you mention it, those concrete guys were yelling something about the “pubic triangle”. Don’t think they were referring to your neighborhood.
I had forgot they had this big setup. Quite a use of the technology at the time. Looks like a roadie’s worst nightmare! Phil’s bass rig is quite interesting.
I wonder if ProTools does a virtual version of it?
Hard to say. There are so many of those plug-ins these days, many just really poor imitations of the real thing. Makes it easy, though, for the keyboard and mouse engineers of today. I constantly push my young engineer to not totally fall into that trap. I did just buy the Ocean Way room modeling software and it is truly amazing.
Hah — when I did Tasmin’s album in September I used a virtual 1959 Fender Bassman 4×10, a Rupert Neve valve desk with SSL flying faders, in Ocean Way — along with the actual Profile bass, of course 🙂 I did a few sessions in Ocean Way, and the KoA track. Good vibrations.
I’m waiting for the BT Bass modeling plug-in. So I can plug into it and come out sounding and playing just like you.
Sounds like something out of the Matrix. I’ll be downloading the Bruce Lee modeling plug-in.
Speaking of BL, did his Foundation show any interest in your book? A few months ago, I saw his daughter on TV talking about staging some sort of Broadway play.
His ex wife, other than taking out an injunction on me, showed no interest in my book at all.
Did she claim his story was “intellectual property”?
Kind of … she was trying to corner the market. I think my comment was along the lines of “Who was Mozart’s best biographer …Mrs Mozart? Who was Einstein’s best biographer … Mrs. Einstein?” You get the idea.
Your part on the live version of “Watching The Detectives” of Koln, 1978, is great. I thought Andrew Bodnar’s reggae-esque line was good on the album version, but I love the little jazzy walking lines on that live version, and also love how you throw in the dominant-7th on the C chord in the “watching the detectives” verse. It just adds a certain something.
Ah — you can’t beat a well-placed dominant 7th 🙂
Adam: One of my favorite live versions:
Also note, at the end of the song, Bruce’s bass peg head almost lands in a bad spot.
Something is wrong with the video, I click it and nothing happens
Never mind, I tried playing it in Chrome instead of Firefox and it’s working. Yes, this is an awesome version. The bass is more reggae-like here but has many creative jazz style eighth-note walks and syncopated runs. I love it! “Watching the defectives!”
Then there’s the switch from Less than Zero to Radio, Radio, which I gather has gained some notoriety.
Picked up an Uncut Magazine the other day devoted to the whole career of the Beloved Entertainer. It was fun reading through the old articles. A couple of interesting things: The Attractions’ keyboardist is referred to in one piece as “Steve Young”. What? Also, EC describes a conversation with you where you apparently talked him out of quitting the business. Any memories of that?
i have several memories of that — we’d go through that little dance at least two or three times a year!
…and “Steve Young”? Did it take some time for “Nieve” to settle in?
No — Nieve was pretty instant, at our very first band rehearsal. My memory of it is that Steve Young and Young Steve were floated as stage names, until during one conversation he happened to ask, “What’s a groupie?” To which I replied, “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone so naive.” The rest, as they say…
I came across this lovely clip recently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbeMC7ZMnqw
Can you shed any light on how the arrangement for Lipstick Vogue came together, particularly Pete’s amazing drum intro? Or did EC bring in the song and say “I hear it this way”?
Strangely enough I can’t shed much light on it. This skittering bass line just came out of nowhere. On later reflection it sounds a bit like what Jack Bruce played on the extended improvisation on Cream’s live version of “Sweet Wine” so I may have subconsciously referenced that. I can’t remember which came first, the bass part of the drum intro. But Elvis certainly didn’t bring the song to us in anything like that shape. Believe it or not, a lot of the times his basic songs were quite laid back and we had to inject some urgency. That’s even more true of “Chelsea”, which was more like the Kinks “Tired of Waiting” when he first presented it to us. In fact, “Chelsea” was the first song we ever arranged together. What’s an even bigger mystery on the “Lipstick Vogue” link is where his American accent came from.
“Naaaaaht jaahst anaaather maaaawwth aaahn the laaaap-staaaack vaaaauge”.
I always thought it was a weird accent on that line. “American,” indeed. Specifically, sort of Chicago-an.
Well, if you listen to the introduction — that ain’t English as she is spoken this side of Chicago. And I like your brave attempt at phonetics.
I don’t believe it passes for anything spoken on this side either, except perhaps for a Milwaukeean with a cleft palate and severe sphenoidal sinusitis.
That’s an interesting description – we used to liken it to someone speaking through a hole in a tin sheet, or a cabbage attempting to bark. People can be so cruel 🙂
Interesting what you say about the arrangements needing more urgency. I think that’s something definitely lost post-Attractions. I was listening to the acoustic demo version of I Hope You’re Happy Now last night and that’s certainly a good example of what you’re talking about (I think). Wonder who he wrote that one about, hmm…
It wasn’t about me!
OK, I have a lyric question that I hope you can shed some light on, Bruce. In “I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down,” I always assumed the last line of the second verse was “and I’m right through with tears.” I always liked this, as I considered it a very “British” turn of phrase. (By which I mean, the use of the word “right” to precede a descriptor or adjective. – Indeed, the sometimes-seen honorific “Right Reverend” before a preacher’s name is an example of this – “right” essentially meaning “very.” Indeed, most people seem to think Reverend is a title. It’s not; it’s an adjective.)
BUT I DIGRESS.
When I looked up the lyrics of the song five minutes ago, I was shocked to find that the lyric, supposedly, is “I’ve WRESTLED with tears.” And indeed, in the original Sam & Dave version, that does sound like what is being said. However, the EC&tA version most definitely sounds like “I’m RIGHT THROUGH with tears.”
Googling “I’m right through with tears”, with the quotation marks to specify that exact phrase, yields zero results.
Either my ear is totally deceiving me, or some of these lyrics sites need to be updated.
Interesting. Firstly, like you I always assumed that “I’m right through with tears” is what was being sung every time we played it. In this instance being “right through” would mean being “completely through”. The use of the word “right” as you describe it is very prevalent in the part of the world I come from — Yorkshire — where everyone would understand if I now said to you, “I’m right glad you brought the subject up”. With a capital letter “Reverend” is a title, with a lower-case letter “reverend” is an adjective. Of course one would hope that a Reverend is also reverend, otherwise he would be ill-suited for the post. As regards your original question I’ve no idea if EC misheard the lyric or simply changed it — but I certainly can’t imagine Sam Moore using Yorkshire vernacular. A trivial matter, but fascinating nonetheless.
I don’t know Sam or where he’s from originally, but there are plenty of places in the South (USA, of course) that would use “right” that way. He might easily say “wrassled” with tears, which might sound like “right through” when sung into old recording equipment with loud music backing it up.
The Resident Right Reverend of Southern Vernacular for BT-PBWB
Well, we’ve opened up a right interesting topic to wrassle with here.
Roddy, absolutely, that usage of “right” is definitely prevalent in the American South, as are numerous other British-derived speech patterns that declined elsewhere in the country.
Her ancestors allegedly originated in your county. There must have been a multitude of wild rabbits there, as that is her preference.
I wouldn’t like to tangle with her 🙂
Finally, a dog. I was beginning to think that there was nothing but a bunch of pussies around here.
(I await my much deserved moderation for that one.)
Just like nobody knows who’s committed the perfect crime, if I moderate you no-one will ever know how cruel you can be.
No cruelty intended, I just couldn’t suppress the adolescent impulse to make a gynecological double entendre. My apologies for lowering the discourse. Have a wonderful weekend all, feline and canine alike.
(I know you weren’t being cruel). “Far be it from me to suppress and adolescent impulse”, coincidentally is the motto on my family crest 🙂 Have a good weekend one and all.
She has the nicest personality. Everyone’s her friend (except one of the cats, who would like to beat her ass). There’s only one guy I can think of who she might growl at, but he’s likely to never turn up.
She looks like a real sweetie to be honest.
Oh, and Roddy, over the past few years, I think I have thoroughly tested the moderation system here. Pretty sure you’ll be ok.
That’s it — you’re barred Miller!!
Thanks, Mike. Sorry to hear of your recent banishment. I must know: Is your statement a consolation or a challenge? I suppose you’ll have to email your answer directly to me.
It’s alright, Mike — come on back, I’m missing you already.
Great to be back!
It’s a warm feeling isn’t it?
You boys are making me ill.
I’m not surprised
Happy to contribute any way I can. There are a few of Mr. McManus’ lyrics that I never could understand and assumed that most were UK slang that I am not familiar with. But Mssrs. Difford and Tilbrook definitely outdo him for phrases that leave me wondering just what the hell they are talking about.
Ah well, Difford and Tilbrook are East London and you’re into Cockney rhyming slang and allsorts there. Eyes are mincers (ie mince pies). Feet are plates (ie plates of meat). An idiot is a berk (rhymes with Berkshire hunt). She’s got nice Bristols — (rhymes with Bristol City’s).
But to show you how complicated it can be… If someone is losing his nerve, they say, “Your April is twitching” — a rhyme that has been arrived at by several steps. Your April — your April in Paris — rhymes with your Harris — your Aristotle — your Bottle — your Bottle and Glass — your ass (although Brits pronounce it ‘glarse’ and ‘arse’). That’s how “Your arse is twitching” morphs into “Your bottle’s gone” to “Your April’s twitching”. To further complicate matters rhymes can be made with words that are already slang — ie when someone is called a “merchant”, it means a merchant banker, rhymes with wanker.
That’s enough for now 🙂
That’s plenty indeed, Prof. Thomas, because I’m about as lost as last year’s Easter egg.
Ah — now you’ve very cleverly introduced the use of similes.
And then we have the Hip-Hop dialect which has, in my opinion, influenced the language here more than anything else. I was watching a program recently documenting the London drug scene. They interviewed a white rapper, but they referred to him as a “talker”.
Whatever next — an orator?
Bruce, you play upright at all?
Occasionally, but most of the time laying down 🙂 Oh … I see.
I did play with a folk guy for a week on stand-up bass, but believe it or not my hands are quite small for the instrument. I also played upright on the famous Horace Barlow Experience gig in Jersey, where EC, Pete and I played as a trio after Steve had been involved in an accident. The opening set was me on stand-up as we did rockabilly versions of the songs. The second set was Elvis as a guitar hero with every FX pedal known to man. It was absolutely dire, never to be repeated. After that, we had Martin Belmont of the Rumour and Jools Holland stand in for Steve until he made it back.
You wouldn’t happen to be looking for a keyboard player, would you?
Maybe for a formal lounge gig? He’s already dressed for it.
Quite a handsome fellow too. I’m going to have to post a cat pic now, aren’t I?
I should think so. Tuxedo cats unite.
I met Jools Holland on the street outside of Sun Studios in Memphis years ago. He was shocked that anyone knew who he was and insisted that I go into the Sun gift shop and purchase a post card for him to autograph. A very nice man.
He should’ve paid for the post card!
Speaking of the Fender Bass VI (I am the proud owner of one), I was surprised to see Bob Dylan’s bassist using it as his main ax a few weeks ago. Did you ever use a VI on any EC & As material?… and speaking of famous Bass VI players, I noticed that all of John Lennon’s bum notes on Long And Winding Road were magically fixed on the Let It Be…Naked version.
I never used a 6-string on and ECA tracks, though I did use an 8-string on “Boy With a Problem”. I had a Fender VI for a while in my earlier career, but I found there wasn’t enough room between the strings to play it finger-style with any kind of attack. As for fixing bum notes — that’s cheating! — something I’ve never done 🙂
I’ve been listening to another bass player who recently passed — Glenn Cornick from Jethro Tull. I love his playing on those first three Tull albums (This Was, Stand Up and Benefit) and was wondering if he was an influence or a peer or a friend (or all of the above). Any comments on those three albums and Glenn’s playing in particular?
Well, that’s a surprise bit of information for me. I didn’t know Glenn that well, but he and I have a mutual friend, Dave Dawson, but he didn’t pass on the news. In fact Glenn was in touch by e-mail not long ago to send me some pics of Peter Green. I can’t truthfully say his playing was a great influence on mine because we were both at the same stage of our careers at the same time. I saw the band several times at the Marquee though. At the time there was a dichotomy between prog and the British blues boom, and I was firmly in the blues camp.
I offered EC $800 million to get the group back together for a 4 week tour. He said he have to turn it down because he was tied up for the next year working on that beat-box polka album that’s been on his bucket list. I’m told new versions of Feier Mädchen and Das Schlagen will be included.
Him and Robert Plant — tearing it up.
Some have suggested that in Plant’s case, he may not be able to sing (scream) very well anymore. But, that hasn’t stopped Daltrey.
They have said that — but at the Ahmet Etegun trubute gig a few years ago I thought Zep’s performance was all the better for it. I also think that the Cream Albert Hall reunion shows of 2005 were also all the better for them having matured a little.
Jack played an EB-3 in those days. Fortunately, it wasn’t an EB-0la.
He did play an EB-01a on the Cream Albert Hall concerts — where he must’ve had to do some creative twiddling with the EQ settings. The EB3 did at least have a treble pick-up! I owned an EB-01a …very briefly! Only good for posing on Top of the Pops and deep reggae.
Gibson patented “Mudbucker” pickup. Gibson took bass very seriously. If I recall correctly, I think you were holding the EB-1 on the Trust album cover or sleeve photo.
They sounded great on photographs:)
Jack Bruce used the Fender VI and Danelectro Longhorn during the early days of Cream, by coincidence both models you also used.
I know you had a Longhorn in the 90s but I also recall a 70s top of the pops with a Dynelectron?
Crikey mate — you’re very observant! I did indeed use a Fender VI with a band called Village — and a Dynelectron — which was a sunburst Danelectro lookalike with white binding on the edges. Coincidentally I just came across a pic of that the other day, with said bass being used on TotP. I did have Danelectro too with Village — the bass I used with EC & the As was, as you know, a Jerry Jones “replica”. My first period of self-taught bass playing involved learning all of Duck Dunn’s lines off the “Green Onions” album — the second period was learning Jack Bruce’s parts off “Fresh Cream”.
It was a Ampeg Scroll on the “Trust” photos. I stand corrected.
You’re quite right — as most famously used used by Rick Danko of the Band. I’ve pretty much worked my way through the whole catalogue — though I can’t recall ever having a Dan Armstrong plexiglass model. Though I think I had a Steinberger for a week!
My son got a Steinberger about a year ago. How did you make it disappear so quickly? Your insight would be deeply and desperately appreciated.
I left it by the fire and it melted 🙂
Not having the tuning gears at the nut end of the neck just ain’t right.
My neighbor has a D. Armstrong Plexi and a Rick 4001 , both he bought new in the 70’s. He’s really more of a guitar player, actually. I watched him play not long ago…He uses a pick and plays very precisely, never misses a note, to a point that is almost boring.
You can’t play grooves with a pick!
Regarding your suggestion, perhaps I could send the Steinberger to you so that you might have matching bookends of molten 80’s polyurethane on either end of your hearth. But I think I’ll have mercy on him as he is only 16. Perhaps you’ll agree, as he often says when I’m listening to EC and the Attractions, “The music is good, but his voice is irritating.”
I couldn’t possibly comment.
Kids say the darnedest things.
The Kids Are Alright.
The kid is alright and he does say the darnedest things. And he’s a much better musician than I was at 16. But having taken him to two Rush concerts (against my will, but in accordance with his mother’s) within the last couple of years, I am uncertain as to his ability to identify a truly irritating voice. And it was Mr. Lee (Geddy, not Will) that inspired him to purchase that gawdawful bass-like monstrosity.
Being objective, the Rush shows weren’t as bad as I had feared. They seem like fun loving guys who put on an entertaining show. But a lot of the material and the singing are more than this indulgent parent can handle at two hour installments. Damn good musicians though.
I know the feeling — I’m just getting my head around a three-hour show by Joe Bonamassa.
I like that my “comment is awaiting moderation.” A very British sounding phrase, that is. To the Moderator and any Geddy Lee/Rush fans, I apologize for the immoderacy of my comments: past, present and future.
I’m sure you won’t need moderating my friend — but there are plenty in the world that might — though they usually go to wikipedia to vent their uninformed spleens.
Roddy’s son is very intuitive. Here’s a quote from the subject himself, probably pretty early on: “My ultimate vocation in life is to be an irritant! Not something actively destructive, just someone who irritates, who disorientates”.
No doubt worse for those close, but too for those who just wanted to enjoy the work.
Well, he certainly achieved that. Wasn’t too keen when it went the opposite way, though.
I will have Mr. McManus know that is MY vocation, and mine alone, to irritate my son. My son will attest that I am an expert in the endeavor.
I wouldn’t doubt it for a moment.
Why, thank you, sir. I…..wait a minute…..I believe I’ve been insulted.
Keep believing 🙂
I suppose there is a very slim chance that you watched the recent North American Rounders Championship (aka World Series). San Francisco won the title, in case you were wondering. It seems Mr. Perry (Steve, not Joe) is a resident, if not a native, of SF. During each 7th inning stretch (not enough room to explain that one if you don’t already know what it is) he would sing Don’t Stop Believing. I have sworn off the use of that phrase or any near approximation for the immediate future, if not forever.
You guys need to stop playing girls’ sports like rounders, hockey and netball 🙂 It would also be a good idea to have a World Series in a game the rest of the world plays 🙂 Mind you, nothing excuses cricket.
Netball? I presume that is otherwise known as Basketball. My cousin from Tisbury and I discuss the common language that divides us quite often, but “netball” has yet to arise. As for hockey, that’s for Canandiens and a small subset of Americans. And the way they play it, compared to the Nordic style you might be accustomed to, is certainly not for girls. I liken it to cockfighting, we enjoy watching them Canucks gouge one another to bits.
In sports, as in music, a real man plays whatever the hell he pleases, with the exception of Association Football and Kenny G.
For the record, I would like to reaffirm that my apology posted above concerning immoderate comments is in effect for my recent statements concerning San Francisco Giants (and their fans/supporters), Canadiens, small subsets of Americans, girls, Nordics, roosters, Canucks, real men and Association Footballers (and its fans/supporters). However, comments relating to one Kenneth Bruce Gorelick and one Steven Ray Perry stand as written. The moderacy of my immoderacy does have limits.
You comment has been duly noted. However, for the record as afan/supporter of an Association Football (soccerball) team, I feel terribly slighted and am going to have a lie down.
Queens Park supporter?
No — I used to be a frequent visitor to Queens Park Rangers at one time due to the fact that a) my manager at the time was a supporter b) I lived quite close to their ground and c) they were playing the best football in the country at the time — I even wrote their supporters record, which is now something of a collectors’ item. My long-term allegiance has always been elsewhere though.
The original POWER BASSIST. A great vocalist as well – not a common combination. Godspeed, Jack. Enjoy that white room in the sky.
Ginger Baker and Clapton fans will be horrified, but I always thought that Jack was the best of the three.
I think its a case of if you removed any one element of the three he would be irreplaceable. I can’t imagine what Cream would have sounded like with a replacement. Jack Bruce was as essential to the sound as Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. I really loved those reunion shows they did at the Albert Hall in 2005 — much less manic than the original versions and full of great playing. I’m sure you’ll have seen them or the DVD, but for anyone who hasn’t I think it shows Cream at their finest and ‘most mature’.
That DVD is a good suggestion. I suppose the essence of a great trio is that you can’t really change the ingredients without breaking the recipe. As trios go, they were definitely amongst the greatest … certainly compared to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, for example. That was really just all about Jimi, with some contributions from Mitch Mitchell and really it could have been anybody on bass.
Mind you, I suppose any 4 member band where the singer only sings also falls somewhat into the “trio area” – The Who springs to mind. Obviously we know what a difference it made when Keith passed on.
Couldn’t agree more with your observations, re Cream, Hendrix and the Who. Of all those bands’ musicians only one didn’t really amke the grade and that was Noel redding who was pretty poor live. In fact it was Hndrix who did a lot of the bass parts on records, as you probably know.
Check out the recent doc on Ginger titled “Beware Mr Baker”. Besides being a really strange dude, he bellyaches at one point about Jack and Pete Brown making all the money in Cream.
Well — we should all know by now that its the songwriters that make the serious money — otherwise there wouldn’t be anything to play!
Though Cream was typically outside my interests, due primarily to the fact that it was a bit before my time, the guy sure as hell could play and was a good singer as well. I never cared much for the SG basses either, but he made them sound good.
Huge influence on me. I was always amazed at his ability to play those great lines and sing lead at the same time.
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