Cream of the Crop
James Douglas | 04/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Trends may come and trends may go in R&R but Creams Disraeli Gears will always remain a masterpiece. As true to the blues as their first effort but with more of a psychedelic flavor, this album should be required listening for any student of guitar, bass, and drums. Not just because of the stellar playing of Clapton, Bruce, and Baker but also their psychedelic interpretation of the blues jazz idiom.
Gears kicks off with Strange Brew which is actually a borrowed riff from an old blues standard Lawdy Mama. You can argue that the riff was borrowed or maybe even stolen but what you cant say is that Clapton cant make this riff his own. Clapton is electrifying on this one as Bruce & Baker anchor the song with a heavy bluesy rhythm that is all their own. Sunshine of Your Love is played with a ballsy acid rock attitude throughout as Claptons solo smokes & scorches. World of Pain is a melancholy number with some nice Wah-pedal by Clapton who harmonizes quite well with Bruce here. The next song Dance the Night Away is sung with such haunting passion by Bruce that it still gives me chills to this day. The instrumental break on this one jumps into an Eastern-raga style that comes out of nowhere and can only be described as brilliant. Blue Condition, a slow blues, is sung drearily by Baker whose flat delivery actually punctuates the sadness of the song to good advantage and is a good choice to pre-empt Tales of Brave Ulysses the song that follows. This song is sung by Bruce with divine majesty just before the whole band tear it up on the acid rock instrumental workout towards the middle and the end of the song. The other songs that remain: Swlabr, We're Going Wrong, Outside Woman Blues and Take It Back are all good examples of searing Blues Rock and are as stunning as the rest of the material on this timeless masterpiece.
Clapton, Bruce & Baker along with their producer, Felix Pappalardi (who would then go on to produce and play bass with Mountain) didnt just make a masterpiece here. They set the standard for which all heavy music would be measured. Outside Jimi Hendrix, their vision of where to take the blues is unprecedented and many rock guitarists past & present said at this point in time Clapton really was God. If youve been sleeping under a rock somewhere and havent heard this legendary recording then you owe it to yourself to purchase this remaster and hear what they were talking about. Essential.