Yet More...

Not, in other words, the sort of thing you’d be discussing with the missus, and the other half of the writing credit for Sleepy Time Time goes to Mrs Bruce (Janet Godfrey). It’s a slow blues, again nothing too flash in the lyrics but plenty of sting in Clapton’s solo that went on to become one of the mainstays of the band’s live set.

If you were going to label anything on the set as filler, the most obvious candidate would be Bruce’s Dreaming, which definitely points towards a need for someone with a bit of a gift in the lyrics department. The vocals (Clapton and Bruce) are nicely layered, pleasant enough listening but nothing that’s going to excite.

Sweet Wine, on the other hand, credited to Ginger Baker and Janet Godfrey, mightn’t have the greatest set of lyrics you’ve ever run across but provides a perfect platform for extended improvisation and exploration (the Live at Winterland version elsewhere in the Those Were the Days box runs to fifteen minutes). Here, at 3:17 it’s a clear hint of what was to come, something that was equally obvious to the Townsville outfit named Vintage, who were inclined to spin it out to great lengths well before Live Cream appeared on the market.  Great song in the studio version, considerably better than what’s come before and one of the highlights of the album.

Side One of the vinyl version winds up with Willie Dixon’s Spoonful, another candidate for the lengthy workout in a live setting. At six and a half minutes cut live in the studio with Bruce’s harp introduction overdubbed later you can definitely see where they were headed. Sweet Wine roared along nicely as a slice of pop rock, but here we’re talking blues. Bruce’s impassioned, spine-tingling vocal and the swirling three way instrumental interaction combine to deliver a definite pointer towards a future where Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Led Zeppelin and company would evolve towards heavy metal thunder.

Spoonful is the point where you can take that earlier comment: Fresh Cream. It all changed here - for better or worse and stand and point to an actual spot where the change occurred. There’d been hints earlier, but Spoonful, I reckon, marked the actual turning point, and it’s just as well it was right at the end of Side One of the vinyl because following it was always going to be tricky.


B© Ian Hughes 2012