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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My favorite albums: Disraeli Gears

What's up people?

Oh I'm so excited to present this week's edition of My favorite albums. "Why?" You may ask.
Simple, three words: Cream, and Disraeli Gears.

Aww yes, Cream's Disraeli Gears:)

This is definitely the type of classic album that I've been meaning to write about here for awhile, but then another classic album by David Bowie, or Alice Cooper, or Led Zeppelin would pop into my head, and this one would be pushed to the back-burner.

Well no more.

So let's just jump into this thing alright?
Cream was a power trio, consisting of Eric Clapton on vocals and lead guitar, Jack Bruce on vocals and bass, and Ginger Baker on drums. And oh what power rock trio they were.

Disraeli Gears was Cream's 2nd album, right after their 1st, Fresh Cream(love that title:)


Fresh Cream was good in that it helped got the band's name out there, but it wasn't exactly lighting up the charts, stalling at number 39 on the US charts, despite having such hits as "I feel free", and a Willie Dixon cover, "Spoonful".(I love, love that last one)

But it wasn't until Cream hooked up with legendary producer Felix Pappalardi, that Cream really hit it big with this album.

Much like that time period, all the band's image and albums needed was color. Lots of it. And much like the rebellious kids of that generation rebelled with color and drugs, and wild imagery, so too did those elements become infused into what would become Disraeli Gears.

1). "Strange Brew"

Who doesn't already know this classic song right?
I did find out though that the producer(who later go on to form another short-lived classic rock band Mountain) and his wife wrote the lyrics to this song. Huh. This song was based off of the other classic Cream tune "Lawdy Mama", but really "Outside woman blues" is the song that's the most identical to it.






I love how Clapton's got that white man/Jew 'fro going on:)

2). "Sunshine of your love"
Another great Cream classic, and thanks to Martin Scorsese's masterpiece(and my favorite movie of all time)Goodfellas, became forever immortalized in one scene. Here it is:
Goddamn that's fucking awesome!

Hell, there's even a poster on that very scene out. Nice:)

3). "World of pain"
Basically the song's about all of the political and social upheaval going on at that time in the 60's and in 1967, when the album came out.


It's not a bad tune, and it seems to kind of put that decade in the proper perspective.

4)."Dance the night away"
Nope this isn't like Van Halen's version, since that's a totally different song altogether. No this one, is about the writer of the song tripping on acid, trying to dance away his pain and frustrations.
 Love the lyrics that go to this song:
           "Gonna build myself a castle
High up in the cloudsThere'll be skies outside my windowLose these streets and crowds
Dance the night away
Will find myself an oceanSail into the blueLive with golden swordfishForget the time of you
Dance the night away
Dance myself to nothing

Vanish from this placeGonna turn myself to shadowSo I can't see your face
Dance the night away"
5)."Blue Condition"

I'll upfront about this one; I don't care for it. Just don't. Don't care for the vocals(Sorry Ginger Baker:(, and probably would have preferred to have been left off the album altogether, but it's on there, so that's that.
6). "Tales of Brave Ulysses"

Love, love this one!And you really have to give it again, to those killer and creative lyrics:"You thought the leaden winter would bring you down forever, 
But you rode upon a steamer to the violence of the sun. 
And the colours of the sea bind your eyes with trembling mermaids, 
And you touch the distant beaches with tales of brave Ulysses, 
How his naked ears were tortured by the sirens sweetly singing, 
For the sparkling waves are calling you to kiss their white laced lips. 
And you see a girl's brown body dancing through the turquoise, 
And her footprints make you follow where the sky loves the sea. 
And when your fingers find her, she drowns you in her body, 
Carving deep blue ripples in the tissues of your mind. 
The tiny purple fishes run laughing through your fingers, 
And you want to take her with you to the hard land of the winter. 
Her name is Aphrodite and she rides a crimson shell, 
And you know you cannot leave her for you touched the distant sands 
With tales of brave Ulysses, how his naked ears were tortured 
By the sirens sweetly singing. 
The tiny purple fishes run lauging through your fingers, 
And you want to take her with you to the hard land of the winter. 

Well You thought the leaden winter would bring you down forever, 
But you rode upon a steamer to the violence of the sun. 
And the colours of the sea bind your eyes with trembling mermaids, 
And you touch the distant beaches with tales of brave Ulysses, 
How his naked ears were tortured by the sirens sweetly singin', 
Sparkling waves are calling you to touch a white laced lip. 
You see your girl's brown body dancing through the turquoise, 
And her footprints make you follow where the sky loves the sea. 
And when your fingers find her, she drowns you in her body, 
Carving deep blue ripples in the tissues of your mind. 
Tiny purple fishes run laughing to your finger, 
You want to take her with you to the hard land of the winter. 
Her name is Aphrodite and she rides a crimson shell, 
You know you cannot leave her for you touched the distant sands 
With tales of brave Ulysses, how his naked ears were tortured 
By the sirens sweetly singing. 
Tiny purple fishes run lauging through your fingers, 
You want to take her with you to the hard land of the winter."

Yeah, you know Clapton, Eric Patrick, and Martin Sharp, the writers of this song, were all smoking some righteous doobage while coming up with this one:)
7). "Swlabr"

Yep, you read it right; that's not a misspelling, that's the actual title.
Apparently the song title was inspired by Jack Bruce buying some flowers for his wife. They both high at the time and noticed the colors were swirling and swooshing around. So they asked the delivery man what they were called, and he relied "Bearded Rainbows", and the rest is history.

8). "We're going wrong"

This was written by singer and bassist Jack Bruce during an emotional and turbulent period with his now ex-wife. The song itself just keeps climbing and climbing, with no real end note or main chorus to break up the monotony. It's been rarely performed by the band, but remains a sentimental favorite of Bruce's.It maybe about heartbreak, but it's damn trippy!
9) "Outside woman blues"
This is the 2005 live Cream reunion tour version

The song itself harkins back to the golden age of Blues music and the popular slang of the day. Basically an "outside woman" is a woman on the side or a "dip", or "my side piece" in some circles.And that's just what the song's about. Simple and to the point.
You'll also notice just how similar this song is to "Strange Brew". They share the same chord structure and chorus as Outside woman blues, and everything. That still doesn't make it any less great though.
10). "Take it back"

I really love this one too! It's about someone getting their draft card to go to Vietnam and pleading for the Government to "take it back." So yeah pretty much self-explanatory there.
11). "Mother's Lament"

This is a joke song, with the band just coming up with this one for shits and giggles.It's pretty much classic British dark humor as the group all sing about a baby who drowns in a tub while its mother is momentarily distracted. Yes, it's not exactly a topic that you'd ordinarily have a laugh at, but if you listen to the song and it's arrangement, it's all in fun.
And that's that.
Disraeli Gears, as named by a roadie who pronounced the Derailleur gears on a ten-speed bike "Disraeli", became the album that put the group out int the mainstream, and really rocketed them to the top of the charts. 
The group would go on to make 2 more albums before calling it quits by 1969. It's sad, but then that's due to a lot of things, primarily Clapton having the rock n' roll equivalent of ADD, and moving from one band to the next.
Cream would go on to influence countless bands of their generation and beyond, and were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
They briefly reunited in 2005 for a reunion tour, that did pretty well for itself, spawning a CD/DVD box set in the process.
I can't honestly think of anyone who hasn't heard at least some of these songs, but if you haven't, do it now. You won't regret it.

2 comments:

Randomnerd said...

I like that. Clapton having the musical equivalent of ADD. That about sums it up. Excellent, excellent album, and a great synopsis of it. Not really anything to add. Well done. Have to go listen now and find some snacks.

Dale Bagwell said...

Glad you enjpyed this one Random. And yeah, seriously Clapton played musical bands like crazy in the 60's. First he was with the Yardbirds and John Mayal's Blues Breakers, and then Cream, Blind Faith, Bonnie and Delaney, and then Derrick and the Dominoes. He almost joined the Beatles, and wanted to join the The Band, and then went off to his own solo work, so yeah the man had ADD for damn sure.