Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Cream was a “super group” comprised of jazz drummer Ginger Baker, bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce and guitarist/vocalist Eric Clapton. Fusing blues, r & b, psychedelic rock and some jazz improvisation, they were active from 1966-1968, with some reunions since then, but their music remains quite influential and still makes for mighty fine listening.
The present documentary, part of a series called “Classic Albums,” is about their second album, “Disraeli Gears,” released in 1967. The emphasis is not on making of so much, but nicely deals with the music itself. There are some old concert clips and some interviews not only with the three members, but lyricist Pete Brown and Atlantic Recording Studios executives. Also, other musicians such as Manfred Mann and John Mayall are interviewed. David Fricke, senior editor of Rolling Stone appears throughout as do other journalists.
There is some discussion of how the band members met. Recently of the Yardbirds, Eric Clapton was god because of his guitar playing at the time, and Ginger Baker was one of the premier drummers around. Nevertheless, their first album, “Fresh Cream,” didn’t do as well as was expected. There are a few clips from this album shown: “I’m So Glad,” and “Wrapping Paper.”
Their second, “Disraeli Gears,” contains, among others, such well-known songs as “Strange Brew,” “Tales of Brave Ulysses,” and “Sunshine of You Love.” The viewer is privy to some of the creative process. Lyricist Pete Brown and Jack Bruce has been up all night trying to come up with something and had only a riff on a double bass. The viewer will recognize it immediately. Brown said, “It’s getting near dawn.” The viewer is then shown how Eric Clapton made his contributions to it.
“There is something powerful about the opening of ‘Sunshine,’” David Fricke from “Rolling Stone” says. Describing what it was like to hear it on the radio back in the day he adds, “Play that next to a Supremes song.” Not that there’s anything wrong with the Supremes, of course.
“Tales of Brave Ulysses” was Eric Clapton’s introduction to the wah-wah pedal, which Jimi Hendrix must have been using about the same time. He nicely demonstrates this and other things, including some acoustic blues and other techniques. For me, this sort of thing made the film.
When discussing another song, “We’re Going Wrong,” (one I don’t recall getting that much air time), Fricke points out that the power behind it is in the drums. It then cuts to an interview of Ginger Baker, who describes that song as one where each event is a reaction to something else, creating a lot of tension, which is something that I always recalled from it.
There is some brief nudity. This will probably bore children, but I think anyone old enough to be interested in ‘60s rock music should be fine watching it. I was happy to know that I really have been hearing “the rainbow has a beard” all these years.
The relatively short film ends on the advice from the late Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records, “Turn it up real loud. Even if it wakes up the neighbors.”
I watched this via Netflix on the HID-C10 Sony Dash I received from the Epinons Review-it! Program and enjoyed it thoroughly. Thanks Christal!
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Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older