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Cream – The Real One (Rothman RM09/10)

The Real One (Rothman RM09/10)

Grande Ballroom, Detroit, MI – October 15th, 1967

Disc 1 (67:38):  Tales Of Brave Ulysses, N.S.U., Sitting On Top Of The World, Sweet Wine, Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Spoonful

Disc 2 (46:48):  Steppin’ Out, Traintime, Toad, I’m So Glad

The October 15th, 1967 Cream soundboard recording is one of the more remarkable documents around.  This is close to being a professionally recorded show from a tape very close to the master.  It was taped off the PA mixer with a four mic set up:  Jack’s Vocals, center stage, Ginger’s announcement, and Eric’s vocals.  The mix was pa into left channel and a standalone mike on the guitar on the right.  Eric’s mike was away from the drums so plenty of guitar.  Quality was high as a mains powered quality recorder at 7.5 ips was used, the recorder had the OK from Russ Gibbs and Cream.  During “Spoonful” the tape was slowed down to 3.75 ips as the taper realised they were going to play on.  The new copy has a quite smooth transition unlike other copies – a nice tidy up which shows the advantage of access to the master.

There was some discussion about the proper date of the tape, but it has been reliably determined to be from the October 15th show and contains the complete set with a tape change between “Rollin'” and “Spoonful.”  One of the earliest releases on silver was Creamset (Gold Standard) which has the complete show but from a high generation tape with a whine on the second disc.  Dazed & Cream (Bell Bottom BB019/020) and Real Cream (Gold Standard RC 01) are an improvement in sound quality but both are missing “I’m So Glad.”  Other editions include Grande Ballroom (Cream Remasters CRM001/002), Sun Vanishes Birth Of The Six String God (Mid Valley 031/032), and Blues Addict (Tarantura TCD Cream-2-1, 2) part of the Cream U.S.A. boxset.  Rothman is extremely clear and very enjoyable which isn’t as loud as the Empress Valley.

– An excellent analysis of the show by Blue Mountain –

Cream performed here for three nights from Friday Oct-13 to Sunday Oct-15.  It was close to the end of their first US tour, which had commenced on Aug-20. This tour, while frustrating in some ways for them (especially sound systems and low pay), had established them in the U.S. and was at the core of their golden period.  

Detroit would have been a good town for the three of them with plenty of black music (Jazz, Blues, R&B and Soul) to listen to after hours. And they would have had plenty of after hours as these concerts started at 6.30pm on Friday and Saturday and finished no later than 10pm and on Sunday 6-9 pm (an all ages show). I believe this would have contributed greatly to the quality of their performances (plus a good sound system!).

The supporting bands on Friday and Saturday were the Rationals and MC5 (basically the house bands at this time). Sunday the support band was the Apostles. One can assume that Cream was largely an unknown quantity to Detroit’s nascent Rock audience and MC5 were already becoming a local legend. Cream had nothing to loose, especially on Sunday when they had plenty of time to really lay out. And by then the word had got around and the audience was really responding.

– Track by Track –
(Times are approximate)

Tales of Brave Ulysses: Much more attack/feedback with the wah-wah. They power it for barely 4 minutes as the warm up. Jack continues humming the melody over the guitar break and he signals the changes.

Tuning up, Ginger “NSU?”, E.C. – “NSU”

NSU (16min worth!): Eric stuffs up the opening (still out of tune?) but fakes it out by playing off-key). They launch into the jam at an incredible tempo – faster than the new remaster!. Eric does a high volume woman tone/feedback section at reduced tempo with Ginger and Jack just combining superbly behind it. Lovely snare and high-hat work as E & J interact. Tempo gradually increases as they roll to the chorus with Eric doing  chords, Hendrix style fills and then a smooth transition into the chorus. Its mainly Eric and Jack locking with Ginger soloing in ensemble while feeding the meter changes – incredible. My jaw hit the floor when on first listening and it continues to every time I listen to it. And it doesn’t seem like 16min!!!

Sitting on Top of the World: Short (4 min) but a dirty slow blues like the Wolf meant it to be. A killer solo from Eric with Jack exhorting him yeh!, yeh! and Ginger’s unique blues style. Guitar turned up flatout!

Sweet Wine (14min): Instrumental starts with Eric Feedback/ Chords, Jack and Ginger inter-playing waiting for Eric to find the groove (he’s actually doing some fine tuning up), then they start rolling. Like the March version it involves round robin improvisation with the controlling dynamics rotating between them. Eric uses heavy feedback in one passage including the Tremelo arm then segue into a call/response with Jack, Ginger soloing between them – aaaahhh!, then Ginger joins in, group interplay then Jack and Ginger with Eric using feedback over them. Then into  chords, snare drum responses then Eric  chording like an ending mode with J & G responding, a pause for a beat with applause occurring, feedback and then back into the jam. A rough transition into the vocals – they’d gone too far out!

Rollin’ & Tumblin’ (7min): Slightly Faster tempo than the official release. Fine harp from Jack with less over-blowing. Ginger overruns the stop – catching each other out. Great variations from Eric and lovely brush work, bass drum and high hat from G.

Spoonful (21min): Howlin’ Wolf style vocals from Jack, Eric starts the jam with chicka chicka (sorry don’t know the technical term) effect. Different dynamic to Wheels but related chord progressions/licks. They start hitting a groove, then almost free form then more chicka chicka, slower tempo and then they take off with J & G locking. Meter is continuously being broken up – every time Eric settles into an even meter J &/or G break it. E & J call and response in an extended transition into the vocals, Ginger driving them, particularly with the cymbals, to a series of climaxes. Then riffing, including the Cats Squirrel riff (interrupted by a tape speed change which only causes a slight discontinuity) and “I’m going down, down, down”. Another climax, then a gentle phase into the vocals. Jack at full shout, great riff variations and G anchoring it to reality then an ending of tapping drumsticks and tapping of bass against the guitar riff, final vocal line, a reprise of the Cat’s Squirrel riff, then the final chord.

[the new tape reel is noisier – 3 3/4ips instead of 7 1/2 ips?]

Eric: “We haven’t finished yet” (calls of I Feel Free from audience).

Steppin Out: Standard start including some mistakes from Eric as he changes tone settings. During the solo he uses a lot more feedback effects and variations in volume, tone and rhythm. Includes Cat’s Squirrel riff (a clear continuity link to Spoonful). Finishes with feedback,  chords and sudden end for a total 11 min. The brushes, foot high-hat and bass drum are superb with Ginger calling Eric on with repeated yeah’s. Much stronger and more inventive than March – segues into:

Traintime (7 min): A more controlled version, closer to the Bond days, with much better harp and tighter vocals due to less histrionics. The train rhythm brushes and bass drum are great. They’ve been doing this for years and segues into:

Toad (15min): Ec and J do a feedback break (as the solo starts, Jack calls out “Eric” and you can hear them having a conversation in the background). Ginger just builds and flows – very African! Really telling a story without the provado performance. Does “happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday to you’ on the toms as he builds to the trademark massive climax – huge applause. Probably his best solo that I’ve heard (recorded that is).

I’m So Glad (9 min): Standard opening and then they let it rip. What is it about this song? They just play at an incredible tempo and group creativity, lots of feedback from Eric including variations on the Marseillaise quote. (Some print through still evident on new digital version but not as intrusive)

For comparison:

Dallas Memorial Auditorium Spoonful (21 min): Well they were tired on this tour, especially Ginger (though still capable of a top performance like the Forum!). It’s worth listening to, but separately. Jack and Eric are working but not particularly creatively and Ginger is mainly playing snare with limited tom runs. The ending vocals chorus is the best as it rolls for five minutes with E and J swapping riff variations and G inter-playing with them (cymbals, snare, toms, bass) – that just shows they could still do it when they hit the right groove. Its sprawling, meandering performances like this on the last tour that really damaged their reputation.

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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  1. For the Cream 2-CD “67” (“Sixty-Seven”) by the Silver Horse label, Disc 2 doesn’t feature the complete show at Brandeis Univ. in Waltham, Mass. (USA) on Sept. 9th, ’67, as the last track ‘Toad’ is missing, as is the track ‘Steppin’ Out’ as well – even though ‘Steppin’ Out’ is misleadingly listed on the rear cover. Otherwise, “67” is a fairly decent release.

  2. For Cream boot CD collectors, beware of these 2 1-CD titles – “Live at San Jose” on the H-Bomb label & “Oakland/Winterland 1968” on the Fillmore label. The overall sound quality on both isn’t so bad, but both are in bad need of a major speed correction, as they both run way too fast, and the former also seems to have some speed fluctuation issues as well. After slowing them down to approx. 93% (of the original speed), I’ve found them to sound considerably more accurate (in terms of speed).

  3. Finally got this one early last week, and it’s highly recommended mostly due to its outstanding soundboard quality & great band performance, but the significant disappointment for me personally is Cream’s setlist lacking one of their biggest hits such as ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, or any of the other top songs from “Disraeli Gears”, other than just ‘Tales of Brave Ulysses’.

  4. Sorry DLee. I don’t own any titles on the Rothmans label and I don’t know anything about Winterland Wheels.

  5. Anyone, especially maybe Wgpsec, familiar with another Cream 2-CD title on the Rothmans label called “Winterland Wheels” (RM 011/12)? I’ve been checking out as much info. about it as possible on the ‘Net, and it seems to me that despite its claims of being the Winterland show in San Francisco on March 8th, ’68, that could easily be erroneous – the actual date could easily be the famous March 10th show instead, which is often mistakenly identified as being March 3rd. Also, some sites claim it to be soundboard, but others claim it to be just an audience recording, and some claim the sound quality to be great, whereas others claim it to be considerably less. So anyone know the real truths about so much contradictory info.? Any help will be greatly appreciated, as always – THANKS

  6. Speaking of the other titles mentioned (above & elsewhere on this site), I highly agree with the recommendations for Mid Valley’s 2-CD “Moon Beams – Sitting on Top of the World”, Mid Valley’s 2-CD “Whisky A Go Go”, & HIWATT’s 2-CD “Blues – Ancient & Modern” – all excellent releases that are quite deliciously creamy & tasty to to add to a boot CD collection, as well as several other Cream CD titles I’ve obtained over the last several months that apparently haven’t yet been mentioned here.

  7. Since Classicrawker mentioned the L.A. Forum ’68-10-19 soundboard, could anyone recommend the best Cream original CD titles that feature it? I’m especially interested in ones such as Mid Valley’s 2-CD “Moon Beams – Sitting on Top of the World”, WatchTower’s 3-CD “Lost Farewell Masters”, Bell Bottom’s 1-CD “Sweet Cream”, Perfect Blue Music Co.’s 1-CD “California ’68”, & Disk de Luxe’s 1-CD “Creamer” – so anyone know how they compare to each other? Any attempt(s)/effort(s) to help will be well-appreciated, as always – thanks.

  8. Mid Valley is a Clapton/ Cream specialist sister label to Empress Valley and, like that label, are very limited in distribution as far as I can tell based on all the vendors I deal with. I have only found a couple of vendors which sell MV releases. That being said all the titles I have from them are excellent and are usually equal to the best quality released by competitive labels like Beano IMHO.

  9. Thanks for the interesting review & subsequent comments. Are Mid Valley (MV) CD releases of Cream really that hard to track down? And is that true for Mid Valley Replica (MVR) as well? I’m not yet familiar with these boot labels, so thanks to anyone who could reply – even if it’s Amy Adams or Zooey Deschanel’s elder sister Emily.

  10. Blues : Ancient And Modern Hiwatt HW 2003 6667 / 0067 is another nice Cream release to pick up. It’s a mix of various live dates from 66 / 67 in pretty good aud / radio broadcast sound quality , especially given the age of these recordings. I don’t think there is anything new here, but it’s nice to have these 29 tracks {some duplicates} on one release. Look for it if you don’t already have it.

  11. I also have the “Sun Vanishes Birth Of The Six String God” (Mid Valley 031/032 release and agree it’s excellent. I have Rothman’s also and have no complaints. Personally I find it difficult to find MVR releases period so Rothman’s would probably be easier to obtain.

  12. The only other Cream title I’ve been able to get a hold of is the MV Live at the Whiskey, which I listen to a lot myself. Given the year, I think it’s a great one all around.

  13. I have the “Sun Vanishes Birth Of The Six String God” (Mid Valley 031/032 release and it is excellent. Sound like it is the same source with MV just pumping up the volume a tad…Luckily they did not over do it like some of the sister label EV releases as this is a fantastic sounding release. Also highly recommended is the MV Cream 2CD title release “Moon Beams, Sitting on Top of the World”” which is the 10/6/68 Oakland SB and the 10/19/68 LA SB which was actually very reasonably priced and is of similar excellent sound quality.

  14. Great review! Very insightful and detailed. I have this one coming myself and I’m looking forward to it even more. There’s just not enough cream out there! Even for a band only around for a few years.

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