The Billy Cobham/George Duke band playing together live on on this album
is perhaps one of the finest moments in jazz-fusion history, and is also one of the greatest unknowns. It’s an unknown because only real enthusiasts would ever manage to dig it up, so it has never had much exposure amongst casual listeners. The concert and the band was a one time thing; the band recorded this one album and then went their separate ways. What you are about to witness with your ears is a tour de force which sees four of the greatest musicians in the jazz-rock world playing it cool and staying in the pocket; yes it’s jazz funk!
Download it here! OR Buy the album!
This was Cream’s last ever concert, and they went with a bang. Met with a roaring crowd, all sad to see them go, Cream gave it their last hurrah. Sadly, the night was filmed and recorded, which means the group were under pressure to perform, and as usual they didn’t play nearly as freely as when they were only recorded unknowingly by bootleggers. Even sadder is the fact that the official recording (which this is) is of bootleg quality and the video is a pile of steaming shit. The camera man doesn’t know what the fuck he is doing and tries to incorporate trippy ‘psychedelic’ camera effects, like zooming in and out of Clapton’s nose while he’s soloing, it’s garbage. During crossroads, which Eric Clapton sings and plays lead guitar on, it’s basically his song, the camera is pointing at Ginger Baker the whole time, even during Clapton’s magnificent solo!!! At some point he even zooms in on Clapton’s wah pedal, even though it was kicked out of circuit long after they had finished playing White Room…
Anyway, the songs were really good, and at least the video managed to get some fantastic footage of Eric showcasing his guitar skills (not mid song, but during an interview), making it look like child’s play. The above video has the interview in all it’s glory, which then kicks off into an extremely short, yet amazing (3:32) rendition of Steppin’ Out! This is seriously the shortest they’ve ever done this number, it usually stretches to the 15-20 minute mark! This was also the last song they played, as their encore at the end of the second Albert Hall show. A upside to the inferior quality of the recording is that it really captures what it must’ve been like to hear the legendary Cream play live, you can tell by the hall reverb that the band was playing LOUD! Also, each instrument cuts through the mix nicely, with special mention to Clapton: his guitar tone on this recording is unbelievable! Download it here.
This is the final US concert of the farewell tour. All the East Coast gigs were sold out so the promoter stacked one extra show. The only problem was that there was an 11.00pm noise curfew. By the time Cream hit the stage they only had 30 minutes. It was an unsatisfactory but, ironically fitting, end to this exploitative tour. Some of the audience were further disappointed by the 3 of them having a cream pie fight to celebrate the end of the band.
Despite the finality of the performance they actually turn on a reasonable “Spoonful” and an energetic “Toad”. During “Spoonful” Jack loses an amp, Eric comps and then starts playing with Ginger and Jack rejoins at reduced volume. Download it here.
This is a terrific performance by Cream’s high standards, and marks one of their best Farewell shows. Sadly, by the end of the set Jack, Ginger and Clapton were exhausted and the result was a below par dribble rendition of Spoonful, a song which usually inspired their most fiery improvisations. But there is good to this, the fact that the band were too exhausted to play Spoonful only says one thing about this set, the rest of it was dynamite! The band truly worked themselves up into a sweat, and you can hear it in the above video clip, which happens to be one of the best performances of I’m So Glad ever played. Download it here.
This is one of my favourite Cream bootlegs, it shows Cream at their finest during their Farewell Tour. The above clip demonstrates that Clapton managed to actually pull off a version of Crossroads that can almost stand against the legendary Winterland recording, to do it Clapton ditched the Firebird for the Gibson Les Paul… good choice! Another absolute torrent of awesomeness can be heard in the version of Spoonful, which I am actually listening to right now… oh man! I didn’t even mention Sunshine of Your Love, I’m getting chills just thinking about that TONE. Just download the damn album already!
GAME OVER FOR CREAM FANS!
This was Cream’s official ‘Goodbye‘ album released in 1969 (after they had already disbanded), it contains a side of studio songs that were tacked together, and a live side which contains their performances from the LA Forum in October 1968. The studio side contains a single song written by each of the three members, and notably includes the song ‘Badge’ which really puts the nail on Cream’s coffin as it showcases Clapton’s promising future solo career. Clapton has disarmed himself in terms of extensive soloing and this song shows his new approach to blues music. George Harrison played the rhythm on the song to thank Clapton for playing the lead guitar on his song ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ for The Beatles. The live side is really special, and definitely worth listening to; Clapton is playing on his Gibson Firebird guitar at this stage and you can really hear the difference in his tone. It’s less fierce and more single coiley (I think he was playing on only one stack as well), but this doesn’t take away from his playing at all. He doesn’t hold back any punches, and delivers a fairly solid performance.