|Cream: Disraeli Gears
Label: Eagle Vision
Cream’s importance in rock history can not be underestimated because the band blended elements of pop, blues, jazz and rock in a way that really hadn’t been done before. The mold for a power trio was perfected and patented by Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. When songs from Disraeli Gears blasted from radios and stereos in late ‘67 (and to the present day), they were distinctive, powerful and fresh. Eagle Vision has produced the Classic Album series for some time and their examination of this great record is an excellent addition.
Interviews with Clapton, Baker and Bruce accompany archival performance footage as well as comments from journalists like David Fricke from Rolling Stone, other musicians (John Mayall and Manfred Mann) and relevant parties involved with the record (cover artist/lyricist Martin Sharp and lyricist Pete Brown). Watching Jack Bruce, Pete Brown and Eric Clapton describe the way in which “Sunshine of Your Love” was created is magical, especially witnessing Bruce play that unmistakable riff on a stand-up bass. When you listen to the music and watch the interviews, you start to realize (if you didn’t know already) that Ginger Baker was and is a very special drummer. His contributions to this incredibly important and talented band should not be overshadowed by Clapton or Bruce. This was a unique machine with three very gifted players that came together for a short but productive amount of time. This documentary is a wonderful insider’s look at the creation of particularly masterful album.
The extras included on the DVD are very cool. Clapton plays “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Outside Woman Blues” on acoustic guitar, and gives both tracks a simple elegance when performed in this manner. Bruce plays a haunting version of “We’re Going Bad” on piano. These solo versions of the songs demonstrate the beauty of the compositions as well as accent the contribution of Felix Pappalardi as producer and Jim Dowd as engineer in creating the sound of the original recordings.
For fans of classic rock, Clapton, or Cream, this is a wonderful examination of a tremendous band and a great record.
~R. David Smola