Disraeli Gears by Cream: Retrospective review
Classic rock album from Cream: Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce & Ginger Baker
In 1967 I wasn't yet a teenager. But as Christmas approached, my mum asked me what gifts I would really love to receive. Top of the list was Disraeli Gears. I'd heard tracks on the radio and I definitely wanted to hear more - and to have my own copy.
This was a wonderful era in which to grow up. There was so much for a child to take in and try to understand - if possible. There was Vietnam (forever associated with The Doors in my mind) and from America, I was hearing about hippies, pop festivals - and the musicians I had heard on pirate radio stations were getting known in the States.
Not quite mainstream music
Although Disraeli Gears is now a rock classic, in those days the music we really liked was rarely played on mainstream UK radio. We had to rely on tiny, battery powered transistor radios on which we could listen to Radio Caroline (music broadcast illegally from a ship just outside British territorial waters) and the American Forces Network. It was a musical voyage of discovery in those days.
Three experienced musicians
Eric Clapton was already well-known - I'd seen the famous graffiti, 'Clapton is God'. Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce were also familiar to me; both had played with jazz or blues bands that I'd listened to on my little 'tranny'. (John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Alexis Korner & the Yardbirds come to mind). And yet, when the three formed their own group, it went against the common pattern of the time - I can't think of any other successful trios.
Jazz, blues and rock
The three musicians had varied experiences within these three genres. When they came together, it would be inevitable that their music would be a combination of the three.
I played this album until I'd more or less worn it away and the psychedelic record sleeve fell completely apart. Now that it's available on CD, that problem and the one of oft-played record literally wearing out, no longer exists.
When I hear the end of track, I know exactly what's coming next. Even the somewhat strange ditty Mother's Lament (that seems to be shoved onto the album to fill a gap) passed into our family as one of those songs-to-sing-on-car-journeys.
Discover or re-discover Cream
If you're a youngster and believe that your parents and grandparents listened to rubbish music then you're in for a shock.
What's more, at the time, this music was completely new - unlike most music we had heard.
If you were around in the sixties, there's no better way to indulge in nostalgia for that brilliant and innovative era.
Yes, they are definitely old guys now
Old guys now...
Youngsters, it will happen to you. One day you'll see the musical idols of your youth become parent and grandparents ... you'll see them age. Believe me, it's true.
Nevertheless, this is a fascinating video showing the making of Disraeli Gears.
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