Still More...

On the surface you might think there’s nothing sinister about Take It Back, a fairly good time harmonica-driven romp that rocks along merrily, but there’s apparently a fairly significant anti-Vietnam message lurking under a song that was apparently inspired by media images of American students burning their draft cards.

Reading the Clapton autobiography, where he has the band locked away in the RKO Theatre from 10:30 in the morning till 8:30 at night while Wilson Pickett, the Young Rascals, Simon & Garfunkel, Mitch Ryder and The Who went through their paces five times a day in the Murray the K Show, I suspect that rousing singalongs around a backstage piano in between brief appearances on stage to play I Feel Free explains the decision to wind up proceedings with Mother's Lament. The old music hall song probably provided cover in between incidents Clapton describes as all manner of pranks like flooded dressing rooms, and flour and smoke bombs.

That was right before the Disraeli Gears sessions, and while the three part accapella harmony has nothing to do with what had gone before, their contemporaries had a habit of providing incongruous endings to albums, and this one, delivered with great gusto was another one. 

While Disraeli Gears has its weak points here and there, Cream's second album has, by and large ironed out the issues that emerged on Fresh Cream (notably the writing, Blue Condition notwithstanding) and the result was a polished package that set one of the benchmarks for what followed. The Bruce/Brown writing combination demonstrated an ability to deliver quality material that took some of the weight off Clapton and Baker, Clapton's playing, driven by technology (multitrack recording), gadgets (the ubiquitous wah wah pedal) and sympathetic engineers (the mighty Tom Dowd) moves up several notches and the rhythm section drives proceedings most magnificently.

They might have hated each other’s guts, but what a combination!

 An album of classic proportions that, in many ways, laid out the ground rules for the power trio, helped define psychedelic music in the late sixties and thereafter by a stellar trio at the height of their considerable powers. 

And that title. A malapropism. A discussion between Clapton and Baker (there are various versions, but this seems to be the consensus version) that had something to do with a racing bicycle with derailleur gears allegedly produced a comment from roadie Mick Turner along the lines of it's got them Disraeli Gears...

B© Ian Hughes 2012