Tuesday, October 28, 2014

ace of bass

Just a quick and slightly belated (since he died on Saturday) RIP for Jack Bruce, singer, songwriter and musician of many hats over the years but most famously singer and bass player (and joint frontman with Eric Clapton) of legendary late-1960s power trio Cream.

As I've said before, the compilation album Best Of Cream (the one with all the vegetables on the front, as pictured above), issued in the immediate aftermath of the group's break-up in 1969, is one of the definitive musical soundtracks of my childhood, probably rivalled only by the 1972 Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits compilation and Book of Dreams by the Steve Miller Band for sheer relentless number of plays over the years.

That particular compilation isn't available any more, but there have been a gazillion others over the years, the ones I own being the 1983 compilation Strange Brew, which duplicates the vegetable album's track listing except for the two extra tracks Politician and Anyone For Tennis (and also has the full version of White Room rather than the single edit), and the more extensive 2005 compilation I Feel Free - Ultimate Cream, which is probably the one to go for. That Wikipedia link suggests there was a second disc of live material with that one, but the version I've got doesn't have it. That's OK, as it happens, since for all their formidable reputation as blues-jazz-rock improvisers in a live setting I think it's the tight little psychedelic nuggets they produced as singles that hold up best: Badge, Tales Of Brave Ulysses and SWLABR are probably my favourites, Bruce's bass-playing on Badge being particularly memorable.

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