Monday, January 7, 2013

Album Review: "Disraeli Gears" by Cream

I do  not consider myself to be a fan of Eric Clapton. I was familiar with  the song "Sunshine of Your Love," thanks to Goodfellas, but honestly I never associated with him. Over the years, I've heard people talking about Cream. I've heard artists I enjoy referencing Cream songs. For a group that seems to be so revered, how was I so blissfully ignorant of them? I would have guessed that classic rock radio would have been jamming them down my throat, especially with their love of Eric Clapton.

Well, I decided that it was certainly time to rid myself of this ignorance. I did some asking, and I was told that this was their quintessential album. It was also suggested that I get a live album, but I don't seem to enjoy a live record unless I know the songs first. It's a strange quirk of mine. From what I am given to understand, there is a Cream reunion live cd though...perhaps one day...

Foolishly, I took this album to be an Eric Clapton Enterprise. I really don't understand why I thought that. I have always known that they're a supergroup, so that's really a silly way of looking at things.

From the opening chords of this album it became very clear to me that this was nothing of the sort that I had ever heard from Clapton. I associate him with blues and blues rock, and this, at least at the beginning was nothing of the sort. I was pretty much hooked during "Strange Brew."

This record just took off from there. As this was before Clapton had dropped Les Pauls for Strats, I much preferred the sound of the guitars. Thick and warm.

What really struck me though was the amount of psychedelia that was all over the songs on this album. The sound of the guitar was far more I think I'll say interesting, than Clapton's standard overdriven sound. I was really reminded of Hendrix on this album. Aside from "Outside Woman Blues," most of the record was full of tunes like "Tale of Brave Ulysses," that lyrically were all over the map. I recall Gene Simmons saying that this song had influenced his writing of "Goin' Blind."

This isn't exactly a long album. In fact there isn't a song that clocks in past 4:10, and only one breaks the four minute barrier. I'll hold off on calling them pop songs, but they are in the vicinity of pop song length. One thing that struck me right away was the vocals. When "Strange Brew" was playing, I was trying to figure out who was singing. Certainly that wasn't Eric Clapton.

It turned out that it was and then upon further review, everyone in the band took turns at the mic. Though, I do have to say, I didn't really think that there was much in the way of differences in their vocal stylings, but this is still a fantastic album.

Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Year: 1967
Run time: 33:37
Playlists: Arena Rock, Rock

Track listing:

1) Strange Brew
2) Sunshine of Your Love
3) World of Pain
4) Dance The Night Away
5) Blue Condition
6) Tales of Brave Ulysses
8) We're Going Wrong
9) Outside Woman Blues
10) Take It Back
11) Mother's Lament

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