Cream – Springtime Of Your Love (Eat A Peach – EAT 172)
Sunshine Of Your Love / Hey Lawdy Mama / Sweet Wine / Rollin’ and Tumblin’ / Spoonful / Sitting On Top Of The World / Toad / NSU / Sunshine Of Your Love / We’re Going Wrong / Stepping Out / Rollin’ And Tumblin’ / Toad / I’m So Glad (79:55)
Tracks 1 – 7 Live at Ricky Tick, Hounslow, West London, England, 22nd April, 1967, tracks 8 – 14 Live At Barbecue, Spalding, Lincolnshire, England 25th May, 1967
The first Cream release by Eat A Peach brings us two shows in the life of Cream, the ‘blues rock’ outfit from Britain who were very much more than that base soubriquet will allow. The first supergroup of sorts, as the liner notes suggest, one of the most influential from their crowd. The two sets have previously been bootlegged on ‘Ricky Tick’ (Hi-Watt 93006), ‘Sweets’ (Cross-Border Records CBR 015/16), ‘Blues:Ancient and Modern’ (Home Entertainment Network HEN 078 1/2) while the second set is featured on Moonchild’s ‘Barbecue 1967’, ‘Disraeli Gears Live’ (no label) and ‘Blues:Ancient and Modern’ (Home Entertainment Network HEN 078 1/2)
The first set is a very good soundboard recording, well separated, with enough space for each of the band to stretch out upon – Namely, Clapton, Bruce and Baker fighting it out for attention with none of them actually managing to blow out the others. There’s a little tape chew just at the beginning of ‘Sunshine ..’ but this is a small wrinkle really. Beginning their set with, arguably, their best known song was a brave move but this the band do, the wriggling live power-cable menace of that moody bass line round which Clapton’s nevermore fluid guitar animatedly squeezes around as Ginger beats the cymbals in to a worn submission.
The middle section of the track is maybe a little more subdued to Cream’s standards, though that’s not to say that it doesn’t beat most others in to submission easily.
”Hey Lawdy Mama” comes after a quiet but lengthy introduction. The souped up blues with a Hendrix edge is more standard in rhythm until Clapton breaks out another couple of teasing, flighty solos, throwing them forcefully down in the middle as if it’s just to show off his chops.
Another spoken intro proceeds, ‘Sweet Wine’ as the band tease and torment each other in a blokeish way, alongside chimes of tuning up, Jack’s voice is almost, unfairly, buried in the mix, though his bass lines reach to lift along side Clapton’s furious riffage.
The zippy, country twang of ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin” whistles along at speed with the wheezy, giddyness of the harp sawing back and forth keeping pace in the middle of it all, following which, ‘Spoonful’ and it’s doomish plod is lit by the flames of Eric’s low and rough guitar licks. The lowslung bluesy pace of ‘Sittin’ On Top Of The World’ has the aching pace continue, it does allow Clapton to work out a wrought solo in the middle and Bruce the opportunity to bite at the lyrics like a hungry dog.
This set ends with a fuzzy ‘Toad’, most famous for Ginger’s star turn and the worst pacifistic thought in music, the drum solo. I understand he’s a great drummer, that everyone with ears understands he’s great and maverick, he’s the backbone of the sound but, lord, save me from another 8 minute cowbell-bashing-session! At least I can pretend that the set ends after ‘Sittin’ ..’
The Barbeque set, while shorter is from a cleaner sounding tape which, while still fuzzed up, is marginally
easier to listen to though while the tape sounds better, the vocals sound like guide vocals as if someone forgot to mike up the band.
The set, by this time, had changed to afford some newer works such as ‘We’re Going Wrong’, a slow burning, demonic, thunderer with Jack’s sonorous tones sweeping around underneath (This features a small cut towards the end), ‘Stepping Out’, a far brisker boogie-jam and chance for Eric to flex his not inconsiderable muscle and ‘I’m So Glad’, which has about as much grace as an electric sander trying to bite through metal, while keeping some of the bigger hits and, shudder, ‘Toad’ which remains my least favorite, while it’s not as interminable as it’s previous incarnation, is also thrown in right at the end of the set, just before a bulky and extended, ‘I’m So Glad’.
This little set is a great addition to a Cream collection – certainly among one of the best releases despite the lack of vocals in the mix – It looks great, with a sunny washed out tone to it’s sleeve, featuring some classic and rare photos. The sleeve notes by Joel Nohn are some of the best I’ve seen for a while too. It’s certainly worth picking up.