The Guitar Solosby Jeffrey Aarons
Rollin' and Tumblin'
This is the first tune Cream played at the Electric Factory show and will be indelibly printed on my memory as the intro to an unforgetable experience.
On the Fresh Cream version (as well as all others), Clapton's roll is mainly supportive, allowing Bruce to have the spotlight with his harmonica gymnastics and complimenting Bakers beautiful and energized brush work.
Eric features very strong straight vibratos playing in a restricted set of positions in the key of G, between the third position and 6th position (the central note that Eric digs his vibrato into is mostly the G note on the eighth fret, second string). Right before the end of each verse, as Eric plays the theme in unison with the harmonica (as in Cat's Squirrel), he pulls off his "whip" sound, which is just a quick left hand slide up the third (G) string. On the Fresh Cream outtake and Live versions, Clapton employs the whip more often and during the main theme and verses.
This is a classic example of controlled, yet powerful support in a delta style blues format featuring harmonica. Clapton as usual, is a very generous player and does not attempt to steal the show from Bruce by lashing out some monster riffs which he could have easily done. Clapton shows the remarkable ability to perform as a true professional even at the early age of 21. Usually, only a seasoned pro can restrain themselves so easily and in Claptons case it was also a show of respect for his two elder band members.
© Jeffrey Aarons, 1999