Classic Albums: ‘Disraeli Gears’ (DVD)
By David Chiu
Because Cream set the standard for accomplished musicianship and invented power rock, one forgets that the trio of Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, and Eric Clapton was also a brilliant pop act that placed the occasional single on the charts.Rolling Stone editor David Fricke, who appears on this documentary of the making of Cream’s classic 1966 second album Disraeli Gears, made a great point: that a track like “Sunshine Of Your Love” found an unlikely place on pop radio along with the Supremes. The documentary explores the Disraeli Gears album track by track with the original members fresh off the spectacular reunion shows from last year along with lyricist Pete Brown and legendary Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. Tracks such as the aforementioned Sunshine, “Tales of Brave Ulysses,” and “Strange Brew” have since become staples of classic rock radio, but the documentary also revisits the rest of the album, each number an amalgam of both old-time American blues and ‘60s psychedelia (The program even goes to describe the story behind the album’s famous day-glo cover). Obviously Clapton became the superstar of the group, but thankfully the documentary gives equal time to all three principals who provide insightful commentary and perform acoustic performances of “Sunshine,” “Outside Woman Blues,” and “We’re Going Wrong” You can see and hear why on this program there has been so many bands influenced by Cream—a band who has been widely imitated but never duplicated.