THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Saturdav Mav 13. 1972
Pag T oHEyI AN DALrIT, G,
secret Ceremony Live Cream 2: High-energy rock reprise
By HERB BOWIE
Live Cream. There was simply
nothing like it. It was phyche-
delia taken one step further. Not
like those early days, with the
Grateful Dead playing raucous
rhythm and blues and gently in-
tertwining their riffs, not like
the Jefferson Airplane, soaring
gracefully miles above the strict
confines of the Top-40 airwaves.
Cream's psychedelia wasn't the
style slowly fermented under
California's summer skies, but a
hard-core, inner-city schizo-
phrenic brand. Like Neal Cas-
sady in The Electric Kool-Aid
Acid Test, flipping his hammer,
cathching it . . flipping it .
catching ., .or driving the day-
glo crazy Prankster bus down
the road, dodging trucks, driving
through gas stations at 60.
Everything their detractors
said about them was true: Bruce
was a terrible blues singer, his
live performances being little
more than uninspired shouting;
their jams were formless, mostly
based on a single chord, and
monotonous in a sense.
What their critics invariably
missed, though, because they
weren't looking for it, was the
group's incredible energy in con-
They were starting a whole
new branch of pop music -
In the hands of less inspired
imitators high-energy rock may
be all Cream's critics claim It
is - after all, a form of music
inherently formless is a little
hard to fake - but as perform-
ed by three of rock's greatest
virtuosos it was throbbing with
energy, intensely exciting at its
best, valiantly fumbling at other
So much for history. Cream
disintegrated over three years
ago, giving a few perfunctory
farewell concerts and leaving us
with a posthumously released
album called Goodbye.
** * s
And now Live Cream H (Atco
SD 7005.) It would have seemed
that Live Cream contained the
very last of the Cream tapes,
since Atco sank so low on that
album as to include an earlier
version of "Strange Brew" near-
ly identical to the already re-
leased cut, here's a brand new
live album with Cream in all
its . . .
Glory? Well, not quite. "Poli-
tician" appears for the third
time, pretty much similar to the
live cut on Goodbye, a little in-
ferior if anything.
A few "Blasts from the Pst"
are here, "White Room" a n d
"Tales of Brave Ulysses" being
weak echoes of their magnifi-
cent studio versions. "Deserted
Cities of the Heart" is better,
the quickened tempo and Clap-
ton's biting chords played on
electric guitar changing t h e
mood from desolation and des-
pair to desperation.
"Sunshine of Your Love" is a
minor classic, not full-blown
Cream but half-and-half. A
couple verses of the song . . . a
brief, tightly controlled jam,
Baker maintaining a strict rhy-
thm on drums, Bruce growing
more experimental as the jam
progresses, Clapton absolutely
wailing! . . . a few more verses
... a brilliant finale with Baker
thrashing his drums, Bruce play-
ing -a series of descending phras-
es, Clapton flashing briefly . . .
they wind it down and it's over.
"Hideaway," a thirteen min-
ute cut, promises to be Cream
at its best. Unfortunately it's a
Ah, wouldn't it be nice to hear
a really new Clapton album?
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