Disraeli Gears (Deluxe Edition)

Cream

No other group with so short a history has been tossed, turned and reexamined as much as Cream. Releasing four albums in a span of three years, Cream unhinged a blues-based thunder that begat Led Zeppelin and an entire wave of hard rockers and heavy metalers that followed. Disraeli Gears, their second LP, is arguably their finest moment. An amalgamation of jazz, blues and psychedelic rock, this winter release of 1967 features the seminal Cream Top 10 single, “Sunshine Of Your Love,” as well as “Strange Brew,” “Tales Of Brave Ulysses,” and “SWLABR” alternately known as “She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow.” And I'll bet she was! Disraeli Gears, which takes its title from a mispronunciation muttered by a Cream roadie, finds all the pieces of the puzzle functioning at their peak. Next to Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton was everyone’s favorite guitarist (he was way past the God stage at this point). The Jack Bruce and Pete Brown songwriting team was just beginning to take flight. Ginger Baker was incorporating blends of ethnicity into his jazz-flavored percussional style. And producer Felix Pappalardi and engineer Tom Dowd provided the ambience, musicality and proper motivation to bring it all together. Recorded in New York, Disraeli Gears is a recent recepient of Universal’s Deluxe Edition series, which has expanded the album to two CDs, including both mono and stereo mixes of every song, outtakes, demos, and nine live performances from a couple of BBC sessions. Even if much of the bonus material can be found on other compilations, the day-glo packaging is still too cool to pass up.

~ Shawn Perry

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