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Little High People

Upcoming Cream CD/DVD

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Anyone else stoked for this release? (10/4, i think) Cream was (and is) a HUGE influence on my playing and general taste growing up ... thoughts, anyone?

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"That was then, this is now."

I guess that sums up my interest! I was really into them then. . . haven't really been curious to hear what they sound like now!

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"That was then, this is now."

I guess that sums up my interest!  I was really into them then. . . haven't really been curious to hear what they sound like now!

me too. Particularly based on Clapton's recent records!

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I've heard a boomy audience of the 5/05/05 show. They don't stretch things out much but I think that's to be expected and it's enjoyable enough. I was most impressed with Jack Bruce's playing on that night. Certainly there was a lot of love (and lighter wallets :P) in the hall that night.

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I've heard a boomy audience of the 5/05/05 show. They don't stretch things out much but I think that's to be expected and it's enjoyable enough. I was most impressed with Jack Bruce's playing on that night. Certainly there was a lot of love (and lighter wallets :P) in the hall that night.

I have that. The CD is on order from CD Universe and I'll cash in a gift certificate for the DVD locally. :party::party::party:

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I was just interested to see how many people still dug them around here ... they seem to be one of those bands that people either love and keep digging forever or just "grow out of." me, i am obviously in the first category! I've listened to their stuff (particularly the official live recordings) a zillion times and it just doesn't get old for me ... and i'm a HUGE Ginger Baker fan.

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Cool, you definitely have something great to look forward to then!

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I was just interested to see how many people still dug them around here ... they seem to be one of those bands that people either love and keep digging forever or just "grow out of."  me, i am obviously in the first category!  I've listened to their stuff (particularly the official live recordings) a zillion times and it just doesn't get old for me ... and i'm a HUGE Ginger Baker fan.

From what I understand, the DVD and the CD will have different versions of the songs. Just seems like a way to get people to spend more money.

I'll be picking them up anyway, I'm sure.

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I was just interested to see how many people still dug them around here ... they seem to be one of those bands that people either love and keep digging forever or just "grow out of."

i'm still a big fan - of the music they created over 35 years ago. imo, most of these musicians (pop, rock, etc.) don't age very well. i have little or no interest in what the stones, mccartney, page, plant, and most of the other aging rockers are doing today. they had their time in the sun, and thanks to their recordings, i can still enjoy those days. i pray i never grow into one of those middle-aged farts you see in the audience at an oldies concert.

monk024.jpg

mind you, listening to older jazz musicians who still have their chops - now that's a whole different story!

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Cream is the reason I'm here, although the music hasn't aged as well with me as it probably could have. Some of it is phenomenal, some of it is plainly good, some of it is remarkably dated. One thing's for sure--Cream was a band of consummate technicians, head and shoulders above the vast majority of the late-60's rock pantheon. At their best moments, no one was better (although some were probably as good).

I've heard practically all of the recorded material from the Albert Hall dates... not unimpressive, to be sure. Ginger still plays like a madman (his post-Elvin Jones approach has been tempered by some solid afrocentricism), Jack is heavy (although his vocal range has diminished somewhat), and Clapton is... Clapton. My old guitar teacher was a Clapton acquaintance--said Clap practiced himself silly, could play changes and all that. My primary gripe is that Slowhand has gotten far too refined for this sort of material... it just screams for youth, vigor, and edge--recklessness, one might say. Clapton's salad days are behind him, even if Baker and Bruce still want to play ball.

Of the Cream material I've heard... I keep coming back to "Wheels of Fire." "Fresh Cream" is poorly produced, but well played. "Disraeli Gears" has some very dated cuts, but it's a fun listen. Make no mistake, "Goodbye" and the two "Live Creams" have some of the best live Cream available anywhere--and that includes the "legendary" bootleg recordings. I was actually a little disappointed when I heard what are reputedly the "best" of the bootlegs (Grande Ballroom, etc.)... even in its finest moments, Cream couldn't escape its idiom. Clapton was in this urban blues bag, and even if Ginger and Jack wanted to go all Ornette Coleman on him, there was only so far the music could go (without collapsing in on itself). That's the great paradox for me: for all its experimental vigor, Cream couldn't escape its self-imposed conventions. That being said, it was great for what it was--a rip-roaring, hardcore, ahead-of-the-pack rock band.

I think the dissolution of the band was a necessary evil. Clapton was able to dig deeper into his bag, producing some great pop/blues records that, while low on adventure, remain high on craft. Jack was able to fulfill his dreams of working in a high-profile progressive jazz outfit, cutting some sick sides with Tony Williams, Carla Bley, and John Stevens, among others. I'd say that Jack's back catalogue is one of the greatest in modern (jazz-?)rock; records like "Songs For A Tailor" and "Harmony Row" are everything Cream couldn't be... Ginger, of course, went on to helm Airforce, work with Fela Kuti, cut some pseudo-free sides, and earn the respect of the drum establishment (challenging Elvin to a drum battle or two).

I don't think I'd say this if I were my younger self, but Cream was probably less than the sum of its parts. Fortunately, those parts were pretty valuable in the first place... and hey, I'll always love "Wheels of Fire."

Edited by ep1str0phy

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Well, I have loved this band since the 60s. I think that Cream, with its emphasis on improvisation, was one of the bands that made listening to jazz later on not such a big stretch.

I picked up the DVD yesterday from the 2005 Royal Albert Hall concerts. I was a little worried about how good it would be, but frankly after viewing Disc 1, I am very happy with the concert. Is it a little less frenetic than the Royal Albert Hall concert of 1968? Is it as Lon says "been there and done that"? probably, but the guys are playing and singing so well, I just really enjoyed this. So far it is only Clapton taking big solos, nothing major from Bruce or Baker on Disc 1.

and Jack Bruce, justly acknowledged as a bass player and song writer, is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated singers in rock and he still sounds good.

Edited by skeith

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anyone have an extra tickets for the October NYC shows that's not behind the stage?, let me know

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anyone have an extra  tickets for the October  NYC shows that's not behind the stage?, let me know

There's over 200listings on Ebay for tickets.

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Well, I have loved this band since the 60s.  I think that Cream, with its emphasis on improvisation, was one of the bands that made listening to jazz later on not such a big stretch.

I picked up the DVD yesterday from the 2005 Royal Albert Hall concerts.  I was a little worried about how good it would be, but frankly after viewing Disc 1, I am very happy with the concert.  Is it a little less frenetic than the Royal Albert Hall concert of 1968? Is it as Lon says "been there and done that"? probably, but the guys are playing and singing  so well, I just really enjoyed this.  So far it is only Clapton taking big solos, nothing major from Bruce or Baker on Disc 1.

and Jack Bruce, justly acknowledged as a bass player and song writer,  is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated singers in rock and he still sounds good.

I wasn't going to get any of this,figuring that it couldn't be very good. Then on tuesday I went over to a friend's house to drop something off and he had the DVD playing. i caught two tunes and enjoyed both a lot. Went home and hit CD Universe and ordered both! Hope they come soon.

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Zwerin's at it again. From today's IHT.

Alas, the unfreshened Cream

By Mike Zwerin Bloomberg News

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2005

PARIS I wish that for just one time, Cream could stand inside my shoes, to know what a drag it is to see them. The Bob Dylan song from which the above line is paraphrased, "Positively 4th Street," is about a loss of love. Musically, many of us were in love with Cream in the 1960s. These are master musicians who have investigated many different styles and they have always had our respect - which makes it even more of a drag. (The audio tracks of the same Albert Hall concerts have been released on a three-CD box by Rhino Records.)

Watching and listening to a reunited Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker on the new DVD of "Cream Live at Royal Albert Hall" (Warner Vision) for four days in May of this year, another verse of the same song comes to mind: "I know you're dissatisfied, with your position and your place. Don't you understand, it's not my problem."

It's their problem if these three superstars want to come out of retirement and make spectacles of themselves by playing rickety versions of the same arrangements of their hits of yore. Whether it was because they needed the money or the attention or to recapture their youth doesn't really matter.

It was one thing when all of those enthusiastic young Englishmen suddenly began to play the blues in groups with such names as Ten Years After, the Rolling Stones and Cream. Their fresh white versions of the African-American originals helped promote a welcome blues revival, but - not to be ageist or anything - Cream are old white Englishmen now, and they are not so fresh any more. Trying a bit too hard to look dignified, they come across as three guys who haven't changed their licks in 37 years.

The blues is basically just one 3-chord, 12-bar tune. The authority and emotional investment of such founders as Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson and John Lee Hooker overcame any technical or formal limitations. It was the genuine music of poor, disadvantaged people. Sensitive musicians who wanted to take the trouble - Jimi Hendrix (and the original Cream, with "Crossroads," and "Spoonful"), for example - expanded the deceptively simple form. Not enough trouble was taken on May 2, 3, 5 and 6 in Royal Albert Hall.

Alexis Korner, the founder of the sixties English blues movement, whose early bands (including Mick Jagger) later constituted the nuclei of Cream, the Stones and Led Zeppelin, was famously bitter about the success of white English blues. Korner was frequently quoted saying that they were corrupting honest folk music, that exploitation was the name of the game.

Of course, the Rolling Stones are no longer young either, but, helped enormously by the ex-Miles Davis bassist Darryl Jones, they manage to keep sounding as though they mean it. Despite their genuine love for the blues, once these sexy, square-jawed, thick- haired white rock musicians turned up the volume and sold in large quantities, they were in dangerous territory. Condescension and co-option were never far away.

Do not confuse the blues with "bluesy." Bluesy is a type of funky intonation and articulation that stretches and compresses the beat and leans on quarter-tones and "blue" notes. Billie Holiday was always bluesy. With his sparkling soloists, laid-back groove and explosive head arrangements, the "blues band" of Count Basie was playing a lot more than only one tune. Duke Ellington converted the blues into a kind of new version of the sonata-allegro form. Charlie Parker attacked the three-chord, 12-bar form as though he was deconstructing Stravinsky.

And do not disrespect contemporary Delta blues just because the reconstructed Cream is so lame. Until he died earlier this year, R.L. Burnside kept the storytelling up to date with songs like "Tojo Told Hitler" (on his Matador album "A Ass Pocket of Whiskey").

Otis Taylor is perhaps the best example of the continuing relevance of the basic blues form. There were three cellists on Taylor's Telarc album "Double V," and this year's "Below The Fold," also on Telarc, features jazz trumpeter Ron Miles and the mountain-music fiddle of Rayna Gellert. Taylor, who is also a bicycle enthusiast and an antique dealer, writes his own songs, and he sings them and plays banjo, mandolin, harmonica and guitar. His abstract, dissonant, cosmopolitan trance-blues is particularly popular in France - the French voted him bluesman of the year, which is one reason to like the French.

The Cream revival was about celebrities, affluence and slick nostalgia; it was very far from the expression of the honest emotions of poor black folk. If you have a hankering for the blues, go and listen to Otis Taylor sing "Hookers in the Street," "Working for the Pullman Company," and "Mama's Selling Heroin."

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He's right about Otis Taylor, if you haven't heard him.

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