PROMOTING THE NEW ALBUM

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French EP included the next US single as well & a very dated photo.

At the end of the recording sessions, Cream flew out to Germany. On the 19th May they recorded for Beat Club TV program. They mimed "Strange Brew" and the performance is available on the "Cream of Eric Clapton" video. It was the next single and was promoting the album.

They returned to Britain and on the 22nd mimed to a pre-recorded "Strange Brew" for 'Dee Time'. This version has the 'corrected' bass line that Jack would have liked to have had recorded for the record. On the 23rd they previewed some songs from the new album at the Marquee club. The performances were clearly under-rehearsed and it is questionable whether they had clear recollections of the finished recordings. "Tales of Brave Ulysses" is rough with Jack forgetting the lyrics, "World of Pain" credible, "Outside Woman's Blues" lacking the polish of real familiarity but "Dance the Night Away" is surprisingly strong for such a complex song (indicating that it was the last song and that they put a lot of work into it). They then returned to their Fresh Cream repertoire and to much greater audience response. They play aggressively with the most notable moment occurring in "Sweet Wine" when Eric kicks in (actually plugs in and kicks in) the Wah-Wah during his lead break..

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"Strange Brew/Tales of Brave Ulysses" was released on the 25th. The Pembroke College May Ball on the 27th saw some more album tracks pre-viewed and appropriately "Dance the Night Away" was featured and, as far as is known, never played again. On the 29th they played the notorious Barbecue '67. Equipment problems resulted in an inadequate "Sunshine of Your Love", with no back beat from Ginger. Things improved enough to achieve a quite excellent performance of "We're Going Wrong". Then on 30th May they recorded "Strange Brew", "Ulysses" and "Wrong" for the BBC. In the interviews the new album was promoted. Strange Brew is another solid performance but it was not growing with the familiarity of performance unlike "Tales of Brave Ulysses" and "We're Going Wrong".

An appearance at the '1st Festival of Pop Music" in Paris on 1st June was broadcast on TV and appears on the "Fresh Live Cream" video. "We're Going Wrong" as well as "I Feel Free" were performed and probably so was "Strange Brew" as it was a pop promotion style of show. On the 14th July they played "Ulysses" and "Take it Back" live on the "Joe Loss Show" on BBC radio. For most of June and July they generally took a break except for a few shows and a visit to Scotland.

 

Cream had done some solid promotional work for the new single and album but its release was not in sight. In frustration they started to take control, as Stigwood was clearly more interested in promoting the Bee Gees.

A comical error by their roady Mick Turner, provided the album title. On the way to a gig they were discussing bicycle riding and Mick refered to "disraeli gears" instead of derrailier gears and Eric immediately grabbed it as the album title. Clapton got his artist flat-mate, Australian Martin Sharp to design the cover. Martin was one of the main players in the production of the radical underground magazine "Oz", transplanted from Sydney in early '67. Sharp brought on board Oz photographer Robert Whitaker who proceeded to shoot many, many rolls during June and July.

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Martin Sharp

In early July Felix Paparlardi arrived from New York to do some more recording. It can only be surmised that Ahmet was still not happy with Gears and wanted some real blues. They began "Sitting on Top of the World", which was already a performance staple and started working up "Born Under A Bad Sign". Felix had brought this song with him, as Albert King had just recorded it. Stigwood got the European song publishing rights for the Booker T. Jones/William Bell penned song. Clearly the release of the album was far from imminent and this left Cream without any effective rejoinder to Hendrix in the UK and Europe even though Ulysses had garnered significant critical approval.

An American tour was scheduled to promote "Fresh Cream" and the next US single was "Spoonful" pts1&2. Recording sessions were also scheduled. They were well into recording their next album before "Disraeli Gears" was released. Their frustration was evident in a BBC radio interview on 24th October after their return from the U.S. They promoted the next 'potential' single "Born Under a Bad Sign" and 3 album tracks ("Outside Woman Blues", "Take it Back" & "Sunshine of Your Love").

Finally Disraeli Gears was released in early November in UK and late November in the U.S. The delayed release reduced its musical impact but, never-the-less, it is hailed as one of the classic albums in Rock Music. Its combination of rich songs and instrumental prowess was a benchmark for mid '67. By November Cream had  advanced well beyond and had already had a revolutionary impact on the US rock scene.

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The cover was a montage of photos taken by Robert Whitaker and overlayed by Sharp's idiosynchratic art.  The front cover used a great photo that captured the immediacy and strength of Jack & Ginger and a brooding, looking to the future Eric.

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The insensitivity of the U.S. record company extended to the cover art work. One of the great album covers was vandalised for the US issue:

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2001, Graeme Pattingale