Fresh out of Cream, JAcj Bruce went out shopping for heavy friends to make his debut solo album, and one can only be impressed by who he managed to lure back in the studio. Outside Harry Georgesson (only present on the opening track, but remember Goodbye’s Badge song?), we also find Swinging London jazz-scene stalwarts jazzers Harry Beckett and Henry Lowther (both on trumpet) and Art Themen (sax). From another side of JB’s alumni, Colosseum dudes DHS (sax) and Hiseman (who had replaced Jack and Ginger in Graham Bond’s ORGANization), and Chris Spedding (most likely via lyricist Pete Brown’s Ornaments), future Nucleus drummer John Marshall (then with Graham Collier) and finally Papparlardi (the Mountain man and Cream producer). Heavy friends, uh?? Gladly the really heavy dude Leslie West was out of reach ;o))). As for the megalomaniac JB, he sings, basses, pianoes, organs and even cellos on one track.
SFAT is actually JB’s second album, since TWL was recorded in 68, but only released two years later (after the present), and this “debut” album is filled with songs intended for Cream but unused, due to that band’s early demise. And in some ways, despite some sometimes drastically different arrangements, it’s clear that some tracks could’ve been featured on any of the last three Cream releases, but it’s hardly a rule of thumb. Take away the brass from the opener Never Tell, and you’ve got an almost-classic Cream tune. Other Cream-related tunes are Weird Of Hermiston, Boston Ball and Clearout, all three written during the Cream-lifetime, but neither are particularly strong (IMHO), but two of them features the heavy brass section.
You’ll also find two of JB/PB tunes that have been most inspirational to loads f musicians (including Colosseum, who used both tracks in their live shows) like Imaginary Western and Rope Ladder, both could’ve been Cream numbers, but here dramatically changed, the latter featuring Jack’s cello talents. Ministry Of Bag and Richmond are average, but don’t feel like fillers. Isengard’s intro is the album’s most acoustic moment and it also features Felix on vocals alongside JB, but halfway in JB’s bass comes unleashed and Spedding’s guitar follows
The album’s title was a dedication to Jeannie Franklin, a hip LA tailor that made clothes for cream and that died in the Fairport Convention van accident that also killed drummer Lamble. SFAT is JB’s most emblematic solo album, but don’t expect loads of Cream histrionics or even TW’s Lifetime delirium. This is a bunch of fairly-short songs (max 3:30, except for the lengthier Isengard), but little space for major solos. The album is relatively uneven (read too diverse to be really cohesive), but has no real weakness either, and is certainly an important release for its time, and has managed to remain in the publics’ subconscious ever since.