Cream – Strange Brew

Great guitar lick and song. The song was based on an old blues song by  Buddy Moss called Hey Lawdy Mama that Cream recorded. Eric Clapton took the lead vocal in this one. They reworked the song and the writing credits went to Felix Pappalardi, Gail Collins and Eric Clapton.

The song didn’t chart in the Billboard 100 but made it to #17 in the UK charts. A great classic Cream song.

From Songfacts.

When Cream performed the early version of this song as “Lawdy Mama,” Clapton and bass player Jack Bruce would share lead vocals. The band recorded both “Lawdy Mama” and “Strange Brew” at Atlantic Studios in New York on April 3, 1967. The band had spent the previous week in the city, performing daily at the “Music In The Fifth Dimension” show at the RKO Theater. These shows were organized by the influential disc jockey Murray the K, and provided great exposure for Cream in America. Other acts on the bill for some of these shows: The Who, Wilson Pickett and the Lovin’ Spoonful. Cream would complete the Disraeli Gears album when they returned to the United States the next month.

The lyrics refer to a female, which could mean drugs or be a more literal reference to a woman. Either way, she is “killing what’s inside of you.”

Cream had a very psychedelic sound, and this song was released in the Summer of Love, where it fit in quite well.

To craft “Strange Brew,” producer Felix Pappalardi added Eric Clapton’s vocal to a take of the band’s recording of “Lawdy Mama,” which appears as a bonus track on the 2004 re-release of Disraeli Gears, but didn’t make the original album. Jack Bruce wasn’t happy about this, especially since he wasn’t able to re-record his bassline. To keep the tenuous peace in the band during Cream’s reunion concerts in 2005, “Strange Brew” was omitted from their 19-song playlist, despite being one of their best known and loved songs.

Clapton got the idea for the album title after a roadie named Mick Turner told him about the derailleur gears on his bicycle. Derailleur, pronounced “Di-rail-yer,” are the kind of gears commonly found on 10-speed bikes. The roadie pronounced it “Disraeli,” which led to the title.

On Eric Clapton’s Crossroads boxed set, this is placed next to “Lawdy Mama,” the Blues song it is based on.

Strange Brew

Strange brew, kill what’s inside of you.

She’s a witch of trouble in electric blue,
In her own mad mind she’s in love with you.
With you.
Now what you gonna do?
Strange brew, kill what’s inside of you.

She’s some kind of demon messing in the glue.
If you don’t watch out it’ll stick to you.
To you.
What kind of fool are you?
Strange brew, kill what’s inside of you.

On a boat in the middle of a raging sea,
She would make a scene for it all to be
And wouldn’t you be bored?
Strange brew, kill what’s inside of you.

Strange brew, strange brew, strange brew, strange brew.
Strange brew, kill what’s inside of you

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

27 thoughts on “Cream – Strange Brew”

    1. You said it right…they were great…Aggressive band on every song.

      Off Topic…. I ran across this today and thought of what we talked about the other day. Its the uncut Band Last Waltz. You may already have seen it. I thought I would pass it along.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you very much for the link. I *think* that’s what I have on the blu-ray that I got with the boxed set a year or two ago. I just recorded how mine starts on my phone and will have a youtube link for you soon. I think where the link you gave me starts is on #3 of the film.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ok cool. I wasnt sure where it came from but that would make sense. It’s odd how one concert over 40 years ago people are still talking about.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Live Aid of course in 85… that is a good quesiton…The big festivals like Woodstock but that might be a different category.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Adding these two to the list. I have the album for Woodstock but need the movie also. I’d want to see Live Aid again to see if it was one I wanted. Here’s the link to where Last Waltz starts on the movie. I think you have it, so if you do you can just delete…

        Liked by 1 person

      5. It really fits. I watched it this year a little before… It gets me in the mood. It’s a great tradition to start…can’t go wrong watching it.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It really does. This one classic radio hasn’t worn out. I can’t believe it didn’t chart in America. I love the tone of the guitar.


      1. Me too… I always preferred Claptons gibson/Marshall tone… Was it an sg here? Think so on this album. Great band… Jack Bruce really could change the feel of a song. Just listening to this track, the way he plays such interesting lines adds something other bands just didn’t have

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Totally agree with you. When they reunited in 2005 or 04 I was angry because Clapton was playing a Strat. You can’t do these songs on a Strat. I love Fender Strats but not with Cream.

        Jack Bruce was a great bass player and often gets overlooked…why I don’t know. I grew up playing bass and playing along with John Entwistle and Jack Bruce. Their tones were great. Jack would play counter melodies at times with Clapton…just great

        Sorry I didn’t mean to turn this into bass talk lol .


      3. Yes this is what I was talking about. I love the songs…but Eric…use a SG or a Les Paul…please


      4. You know for some reason that guitar was out of my mind. My friend had one many years ago and it got stolen….fantastic guitars.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: