Thursday, August 12, 2021

went down to the crossroads, OOH NO stop messing about

A couple of footnotes to the B-52s post: firstly the nostril-flaring mouth-open pose I caught Fred Schneider in reminded me of something, and it only took a second or tow to work out what it was - our very own Kenneth Williams, of course, in full-blown oooh NOOOOO, matron pose. 

Now back to easily-misheard lyrics (well, not actually lyrics as such, as you'll see) - one of the canonical bits of mystery wording, if you're a guitar rock bore like me anyway, is the outro voice-over at the end of Cream's live blues-rock freakout Crossroads, as featured on their 1968 album Wheels Of Fire (and on innumerable compilations since) and apparently recorded in March 1968 at San Francisco's Winterland, venue for many other seminal live rock events including The Band's Last Waltz concert.

I strongly recommend that you listen to the whole song, obviously, as it's a cracking tune with a couple of blistering guitar solos from Eric Clapton, but the bit we're actually interested here in happens after the song proper has finished, in the last ten seconds or so. In fact I've cut that bit out into its own little audio file which you can listen to here:

What you're hearing there is firstly someone (internet consensus seems to be that it's Clapton) saying "thank you", and then almost immediately someone else (internet consensus seems to be that it's Ginger Baker) saying "Eric Clapton, please", as if inviting audience appreciation. Then there is a very brief pause and a voice (which could be either of the previous two) says something which sounds, to me, without any attempt to apply context or sense to it, a bit like "a bubble" or "a bottle".

This recording is older than me, so as you can imagine there are a few theories knocking around regarding what was said. The principal ones (or, to be more accurate, the ones I've noticed on a quick trawl around the internet) seem to be:
  • Clapton saying "kerfuffle", referring to a bit of out-of-sync playing during the last solo;
  • Baker saying "on vocal", reminding the audience who was singing (Clapton and Jack Bruce were the band's main vocalists)
  • Baker saying "above all", reminding everyone that, presumably, Clapton Is God
To be honest, none of those seems remotely plausible to me, but I guess one of them might be true. Since two of the three members of Cream are now dead, and Clapton is a full-time COVID-19 vaccine "sceptic" (cough) these days, I guess we may never know.

No comments: