CREAM — Disraeli Gears

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CREAM - Disraeli Gears cover
3.57 | 7 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1967

Filed under Jazz Related Rock
By CREAM

Tracklist

A1 Strange Brew 2:45
A2 Sunshine Of Your Love 4:08
A3 World Of Pain 3:05
A4 Dance The Night Away 3:31
A5 Blue Condition 3:26
B1 Tales Of Brave Ulysses 2:50
B2 Swlabr 2:32
B3 We're Going Wrong 3:25
B4 Outside Woman Blues 2:20
B5 Take It Back 3:05
B6 Mother's Lament 1:47

Total Time: 33:35

Line-up/Musicians

Eric Clapton / guitars, vocals
Jack Bruce / bass, vocals
Ginger Baker / drums, vocals

About this release

Reaction ‎– 593003 (UK)

Album recorded May 1967, Atlantic Studios, New York City

Thanks to snobb, Chicapah for the updates

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CREAM DISRAELI GEARS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Chicapah
I’d have to be an imbecile to deny this album’s rightful and lofty perch in the annals of rock music history. I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box but I’m not an idiot (my wife isn’t convinced) so I will openly acknowledge that how Cream drastically altered the course of modern rock & roll with “Disraeli Gears” is so drastic as to be incalculable. As a music-crazed teen I played, idolized, dissected and studied this album so incessantly that it’s a miracle my antique vinyl copy doesn’t have needle-breaking pot holes, thus proving my adoration of it. However, as far as the jazz angle is concerned it offers hardly a passing whiff of that aroma and, with that being the focus of this review, I must honestly rate it as average fare. Cream’s claim to jazz-related fame is embedded in their bold introduction of spontaneous improvisation to the rock universe. That earth-shaking aspect of their sound would be realized in their live recordings, the first of which would be revealed to the record-buying public on their next release. As for this LP, as the garish yet iconic glow-in-the-dark cover art implies, the mix of blues and rock & roll they unveiled in their debut is still quite evident but this time around they toss in a generous helping of in-vogue magic mushroom seasonings. It’s definitely a case of being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time with exactly the right material and for that they deserve every accolade this record of theirs will ever garner. Yet when weighed on a jazz scale it comes up rather feathery, indeed.

Clapton’s “Strange Brew” is the opening act and it’s a bluesy rocker containing no surprises. His soft falsetto offers a nice contrast to the slightly distorted guitar tone he uses and his solo epitomizes the fluid ease on the fretboard millions of fledgling guitarists the world over envied him for possessing. What can I say about the significance of “Sunshine of Your Love” that hasn’t been stated ad nauseum? It’s one of the most recognizable of the early wave of riff-based hard rock songs that became all the rage in the late 60s and it’s arguably the coolest of them all. Eric’s mimicking of the melody from the classic “Blue Moon” at the beginning of his guitar ride has always amused me but in the final analysis the tune is a trippy pop anthem more than anything else. Their producer Felix Pappalardi wrote the next cut, “World of Pain,” and its eclectic chord progression is tinged with a jazzy hue but it has too hallucinogenic a mien for that tag to stick. It’s not much of a song, really, but it does fit the mood they were aiming to maintain. Bruce’s “Dance the Night Away” evidences their tendency to reject adherence to any of the then-current formulaic rules and let their tunes wander where they will. It’s a very odd track that defies labeling. Baker’s weak “Blue Condition” is a loose blend of blues and alehouse honky-tonk that doesn’t make much of an impression except to highlight the limitations Mother Nature placed on Ginger’s singing voice. It’s sort of a sing-along for sots.

Eric’s “Tales of Brave Ulysses” is the finest combo of rock and jazz on the album and perhaps of its era. Its descending minor key pattern is mesmerizing, Clapton’s revolutionary wah-wah technique is exemplary, Jack’s vocal is effectively dramatic and the track’s clever arrangement can’t be improved upon. It is genius. “SWABLR” follows, a casserole of psychedelic blues and unbridled rock & roll that make for a memorable song about nothing in particular. Weird as it is, it’s perfect for this project. Bruce’s “We’re Going Wrong” provides a welcome change of pace at this point. Gliding along a waltzing 6/4 feel, Jack’s meandering melody travels down a jazz-strewn path and Eric’s incidental guitar licks follow suit. One of their more atmospheric experiments, for sure. “Outside Woman Blues” offers more of their signature rockin’ blues style advantageously graced with Baker’s refreshingly unconventional drumming. Clapton’s addition of a harmony guitar line to the repeating turnaround riff allows the tune to evolve. Jack’s flamboyant “Take It Back” has a wild party vibe that grants the track a humorous personality, indicating their intent is to not take themselves too seriously (always a good trait). It’s an affable number that’s hard to criticize. The finale is the silly “Mother’s Lament,” a thin slice of eleventh-hour, recess-in-the-studio tomfoolery featuring British accents so thick that their gather-‘round-the-piano-with-pints-in-hand chorale may as well have been sung in Cantonese to non-UK ears. It’s harmless, though, and it made them seem less like unsmiling, omniscient gods to we of the mere mortal state.

Like some of Jimi Hendrix’s studio albums, the uneven and sometimes dated qualities that characterize the contents of “Disraeli Gears” are wisely overlooked in retrospect while the enormous social, cultural and artistic impact it had on the big picture is emphasized. And rightly so. Trends aren’t necessarily started by masterpieces. More often than not they sprout from a sudden anomaly appearing in the stream of human consciousness and that flow-changer may not be much more than a striped piece of granite. Despite its lack of jazz flavorings this album made a huge splash that got every genre of music wet to some extent and is worthy of recognition on anybody’s list for that reason alone.

Members reviews

AtomicCrimsonRush
Brilliant milestone album from legendary masters of psychedelic fusion. Every song sizzles with vitality and this features some of their most infamous legendary songs such as Sunshine of Your Love and Strange Brew. Tales of Brave Ulysses is mind bending with Clapton's God like wah-wah guitar and his riffs on this album changed the face of rock indefinitely. Jack Bruce's bass is a machine of power keeping it all together and the unsurpassed drums of Ginger Baker are phenomenal. This is legendary in the annals of rock; a milestone of the genius of Cream. Listen now and allow your mind to be hypnotised by the sounds of 1967.

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