Pt 2


 How important are the albums you listened to over and over when you were young?  They are indelibly burnt into the neurones and they float up into your mind when you get into your 40years+.  You know every note, the lyrics etc etc.  When Jack’s 1st solo album got released in Australia my mad Cream fan friend got it.  We listened on his family’s lovely hi-fi – we were stunned:

No Guitar solo
No Blues
No Thunderous Drums


I got my copy and I hassled, no harassed, my wonderful mum about getting a new hi-fi .  Mum and Dad did – ooohhh!  At last the bass and loud.  Played over and over plus, of course, the Cream LPs.  They were all on hi-rotation for my friends and I.  They were in the background whenever we had a record player – no parents turn it up! (End of nostalgia trip).

The strength of this album is the radical musical change from the Cream approach yet retaining the underlying technical virtuosity of the musicians.  Jon Hiseman is again on drums and Dick Heckstall-Smith leads the horn section.  Guitar is provided by Chris Spedding who has developed a different approach - away from the single note lead to a chording and rhythmic figure style.  This allows Jack to play lead bass.

The album contains three songs that were proposed for Cream: “Weird of Hermiston” and “The Clearout” were demo’ed for the Disraeli Gears Sessions.  The third, “Theme For an Imaginary Western” was proposed for the Goodbye album but was rejected by Eric as sounding to much like The Band, which still rankles Jack to this day.  One annoying thing about the remaster they have the title as “Theme From an Imaginary Western”.  The song is actually an allegory referring to musicians touring and taking their pioneering music on the roaD:

O the music that they played
O the fires that they started
O the girls with no regret

The arrangements and playing are tight and clean.  At times there is a lot going on but Felix Pappalardi’s production achieves an uncluttered sound.  “Rope Ladder to the Moon” is built up of multi-tracked Jack Bruce but still sounds spontaneous and energetic.  This track also displays a new maturity in Jack’s singing with a strengthened falsetto added to his repertoire. 

 The bass playing and the bass lines are magnificent throughout and are exciting in their own right.  Even after 30 years + I find them fascinating and rewarding listening.  The real revelation when I first heard this was Jack’s keyboard playing – he is very, very good and could have made a comfortable living on those musical skills alone.

 This remaster includes 4 bonus tracks that are only of marginal interest.  The demo of “Ministry of Bag” is slower and jazzier.  The other alternate mixes simply show that the final mixes were absolutely spot-on and that sometimes less-is-more.  It is also nice to at last find out where the title comes from.


This one will always be an early selection for my Desert Island 100 CDs


© 2003, Graeme Pattingale