Cream – White Room

Ginger Baker passed away Sunday, October 6th… Ginger was one of the best drummers in rock history.

Paul McCartney: Ginger Baker, great drummer, wild and lovely guy. We worked together on the ‘Band on the Run’ album in his ARC Studio, Lagos, Nigeria. Sad to hear that he died but the memories never will. X Paul

Mick Jagger: Sad news hearing that Ginger Baker has died, I remember playing with him very early on in Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. He was a fiery but extremely talented and innovative drummer.

John Densmore: A drumming force of nature, Ginger Baker has broke on through. Emblematic of his influence, I put 2 bars of his reverse-beat in “Hello, I Love You.” 

Pete Brown wrote the lyrics and Jack Bruce wrote the music to White Room. He was inspired by a cycling tour that he took in France. The “white room” was a literal place: a room in an apartment where Pete Brown was living. It was not, as some suspected, an institution.

The music was written first. Pete Brown’s first attempt at a lyric was something about a doomed hippie girl – the song was called “Cinderella’s Last Goodnight.” Jack Bruce didn’t like it, so he scrapped that idea and pulled up an eight-page poem he had written earlier, which he reworked into White Room.

Pete Brown: “It was a miracle it worked, considering it was me writing a monologue about a new flat.”

The song peaked at #6 in the Billboard 100 in 1968.

Cream in the 1970s… Pattie Boyd took the photo.

From Songfacts

This song is about depression and hopelessness, but the setting is an empty apartment. The lyrics were written by a poet named Pete Brown, who was a friend of Cream bass player Jack Bruce, the lead vocalist on the track. Brown also wrote the words for “Sunshine Of Your Love,” “I Feel Free” and “SWLABR.”

In a Songfacts interview with Pete Brown, he told the story: “It was a meandering thing about a relationship that I was in and how I was at the time. It was a kind of watershed period really. It was a time before I stopped being a relative barman and became a songwriter, because I was a professional poet, you know. I was doing poetry readings and making a living from that. It wasn’t a very good living, and then I got asked to work by Ginger and Jack with them and then started to make a kind of living.

And there was this kind of transitional period where I lived in this actual white room and was trying to come to terms with various things that were going on. It’s a place where I stopped, I gave up all drugs and alcohol at that time in 1967 as a result of being in the white room, so it was a kind of watershed period. That song’s like a kind of weird little movie: it changes perspectives all the time. That’s why it’s probably lasted – it’s got a kind of mystery to it.”

Upon its release, Wheels Of Fire was given a terrible review by Rolling Stone magazine. They claim that “White Room” has “The exact same lines for guitar, bass and drums” as “Tales Of Brave Ulysses.” If you listen to both songs, they are somewhat similar, but nowhere near the level they claim. 

Eric Clapton used a wah-wah pedal on his guitar. He got the idea from Jimi Hendrix.

Clapton’s solo earned the #2 spot on Guitar World’s greatest wah solos of all time in 2015. The #1 spot? Hendrix’ “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).”

Why are the starlings tired? Because the pollution in London was killing them. Pete Brown also told us: “The ‘tired starlings’ is also a little bit of a metaphor for the feminine in a way, as well. It was women having to put up with rather a lot – too much pressure on them at the time.”

More lyric interpretation courtesy of Pete Brown:

“Goodbye Windows” – “Just people waving goodbye from train windows.”

“Black-roof Country” – “That was the kind of area that I lived in. There were still steam trains at one point around that area, so the roofs were black. It was black and sooty. It’s got that kind of a feel to it.”

On their last tour before the band broke up, Cream opened most of their shows with this song. When Cream did a reunion tour in 2005, they played it near the end of the sets.

Clapton refused to play this after leaving Cream until 1985, when Paul Shaffer urged him to play it while he was sitting in with the band on Late Night With David Letterman. That same year, Clapton played it at Live Aid.

This was released as a single after Cream had broken up. It did better in the US than in England, since Cream had caught on in the States.

In 2000, Apple Computer used this in commercials for their white iMacs. While the song does have the word “white” in the title, the subject matter is not good for selling computers.

Jack Bruce recorded a new, Latin-influenced version on his 2001 album Shadows In The Air. Clapton played on this as well as his new recording of “Sunshine Of Your Love.”

Clapton performed this in 1999 for the album Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live From Central Park. Clapton and Crow were an item for a time in the ’90s.

White Room

In the white room with black curtains near the station
Black roof country, no gold pavements, tired starlings
Silver horses ran down moonbeams in your dark eyes
Dawnlight smiles on you leaving, my contentment

I’ll wait in this place where the sun never shines
Wait in this place where the shadows run from themselves

You said no strings could secure you at the station
Platform ticket, restless diesels, goodbye windows
I walked into such a sad time at the station
As I walked out, felt my own need just beginning

I’ll wait in the queue when the trains come back
Lie with you where the shadows run from themselves

At the party she was kindness in the hard crowd
Consolation for the old wound now forgotten
Yellow tigers crouched in jungles in her dark eyes
She’s just dressing, goodbye windows, tired starlings

I’ll sleep in this place with the lonely crowd
Lie in the dark where the shadows run from themselves

Eric Clapton – Let It Grow

A song off of Eric Clapton’s classic 461 Ocean Boulevard album. Its a song that doesn’t get a lot of airplay but it’s a good song. Background singers Marcy Levy and Yvonne Elliman join Clapton on the chorus as the song builds. It comes to an instrumental climax at the end.

The album was Clapton’s second album after ending a three-year heroin habit. The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada, and #3 in the UK in 1974.

From Songfacts

In 1970, Eric Clapton released a song with his group Derek & the Dominos called “Keep On Growing,” where he sang about finding fertile ground for love. In his gentle solo track “Let It Grow,” he stays with the garden theme as a metaphor for love, singing, “Plant your love and let it grow.”

Clapton played the dobro on this track. A dobro is a type of acoustic guitar with a raised bridge and resonator cone which produces a moaning sound.

Yvonne Elliman sang backup. Before joining Clapton’s band in 1974, she played Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ, Superstar. She had a disco hit in 1978 with “If I Can’t Have You.”

461 Ocean Boulevard is the address of the house in Miami where Clapton and his band lived while they were making the album.

Let It Grow

Standing at the crossroads, trying to read the signs
To tell me which way I should go to find the answer,
And all the time I know,
Plant your love and let it grow

Let it grow, let it grow,
Let it blossom, let it flow
In the sun, the rain, the snow,
Love is lovely, let it grow

Looking for a reason to check out of my mind,
Trying hard to get a friend that I can count on,
But there’s nothing left to show,
Plant your love and let it grow

Let it grow, let it grow,
Let it blossom, let it flow
In the sun, the rain, the snow,
Love is lovely, so let it grow, let it grow

Time is getting shorter and there’s much for you to do
Only ask and you will get what you are needing,
The rest is up to you
Plant your love and let it grow

Let it grow, let it grow,
Let it blossom, let it flow
In the sun, the rain, the snow,
Love is lovely, let it

Let it grow, let it grow,
Let it blossom, let it flow
In the sun, the rain, the snow,
Love is lovely, let it grow

Eric Clapton – Let It Rain

Let It Rain peaked at #48 in the Billboard 100 and #42 in Canada in 1972. It was on Eric’s self-titled album released in 1970 but this song was released on a single in 1972.

Clapton wrote this with the help of Bonnie and Delaney Bramlett. They put most of it together while they were touring together in 1969; Clapton with Blind Faith, and The Bramletts supporting them with their group Delaney & Bonnie. Blind Faith broke up after their first tour, and Clapton formed Derek and the Dominos with Delaney & Bonnie’s backup group, who Clapton became friends with on the tour.

From Songfacts.

This was the last track on Clapton’s first solo album. Delaney Bramlett produced it.

Organist Bobby Whitlock, bass player Carl Radle and drummer Jim Gordon were part of Clapton’s backing band on his first album and played on this track. After recording the album, these four formed their own group, Derek and the Dominos, and released the classic album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

Jim Gordon wrote the piano part for “Layla” and later suffered terrible mental illness and bludgeoned his mother to death.

Jerry Allison and Sonny Curtis sang backup on this track. They were former members of The Crickets, Buddy Holly’s backup band. The female backup singers were Bonnie Bramlett and Rita Coolidge.

This wasn’t released as a single until 1972, two years after the album came out. This was done to capitalize on the success of “Layla,” which became a hit that year when it was re-released as a long version and after people figured out that Derek and the Dominos was Clapton’s group.

This was one of the few Eric Clapton solo tracks Derek and the Dominos played when they toured. At one point, they used it to teach drummer Jim Gordon a lesson. “Jim Gordon was going on about how he never got a drum solo, so we fixed his little wagon,” Bobby Whitlock said in his Songfacts interview. “We gave him a drum solo in ‘Let It Rain’ and it lasted for nine-and-a-half minutes. And he kept going – you could hear it in the solo. He would stop and he was looking at Eric. We were on the side of the stage behind the curtain smoking a cigarette and having a drink, and we wouldn’t come back out, so he had to keep going and keep going. Okay, Mr. Drummerman, you want a solo? Take your solo.”

Stephen Stills played the guitar solo in the middle of the song.

 

 

Let It Rain

The rain is falling through the mist of sorrow that surrounded me
The sun could never thaw away the bliss that lays around me

Let it rain, let it rain,
Let your love rain down on me
Let it rain, let it rain,
Let it rain, rain, rain

Her life was like a desert flower burning in the sun
Until I found the way to love, it’s harder said than done

Let it rain, let it rain,
Let your love rain down on me
Let it rain, let it rain,
Let it rain, rain, rain

Now I know the secret; there is nothing that I lack
If I give my love to you, you’ll surely give it back

Let it rain, let it rain,
Let your love rain down on me
Let it rain, let it rain,
Let it rain, rain, rain

Let it rain, let it rain,
Let your love rain down on me
Let it rain, let it rain,
Let it rain, rain, rain

Robert Johnson – Crossroad Blues

My introduction to Robert Johnson came from Eric Clapton while playing with Cream. Johnson was a great blues guitarist that supposedly sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads to be able to play the blues. Some of the songs he wrote played into this myth. He only cut 29 songs that he recorded in a two year period of 1936 and 1937.

I’m not a blues expert, nor do I play one on tv, but I love these old blues recordings. Johnson wasn’t the only one but they influenced everything I’ve liked since. They are also historical documents of the time.

Robert Johnson’s slide playing was so complete that he sounded like two guitar players instead of one on some songs. The atmosphere of those recordings is incredible to me and something that you can’t duplicate. Johnson’s influence is huge. Keith Richards, Eric Clapton,  Bob Dylan. Duane Allman, and too many more to list.

Movies such as the 1980’s film Crossroads brought Johnson many more fans. My friend Ronald was one of those people and went out and bought everything he could find of Johnson in the 80s. Many people have searched out Johnson after listening to artists that were influenced by him. His voice will haunt you after you listen to his recordings. His songs are pure and timeless.

Some quotes on Robert Johnson

Keith Richards – Brian Jones had the first album, and that’s where I first heard it. I’d just met Brian, and I went around to his apartment-crash pad, actually, all he had in it was a chair, a record player, and a few records. One of which was Robert Johnson. He put it on, and it was just-you know-astounding stuff. When I first heard it, I said to Brian, “Who’s that?” “Robert Johnson”. I said, “Yeah, but who’s the other guy playing with him?” Because I was hearing two guitars, and it took me a long time to realize he was actually doing it all by himself.
Eric Clapton – His music is like my oldest friend, always in the back of my head and on the horizon. It’s the finest music I’ve ever heard.  I’ve always trusted its purity. And I always will.’ I don’t know what more you could say….”
Robert Cray – He is a perfect example of what anybody should listen to if they want to get an understanding of the blues… and American history.’

Below is Robert Johnson and down below is Cream’s version.

Cross Road Blues

I went down to the crossroad
fell down on my knees
I went down to the crossroad
fell down on my knees
Asked the lord above “Have mercy now
save poor Bob if you please”
Yeeooo, standin at the crossroad
tried to flag a ride
ooo ooo eee
I tried to flag a ride
Didn’t nobody seem to know me babe
everybody pass me by
Standin at the crossroad babe
risin sun goin down
Standin at the crossroad babe
eee eee eee, risin sun goin down
I believe to my soul now,
Poor Bob is sinkin down
You can run, you can run
tell my friend Willie Brown
You can run, you can run
tell my friend Willie Brown
(th)’at I got the croosroad blues this mornin Lord
babe, I’m sinkin down
And I went to the crossroad momma
I looked east and west
I went to the crossroad baby
I looked east and west
Lord, I didn’t have no sweet woman
ooh-well babe, in my distress

Supergroup…The Dirty Mac – Yer Blues

Maybe the first “”Supergroup”…In 1968 John Lennon, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and Mitch Mitchell got together and played the Beatle’s Yer Blues. The Rolling Stones were taping a Television special featuring The Who, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, called “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” but was shelved for 28 years.

Yer Blues was on the White Album and had only been released 3 weeks before this December 11th recording. John Lennon came up with the band name “Dirty Mac” from a play on words of the hot new group at the time…Fleetwood Mac.

The show did not see the light of day until 1996. The Stones were not happy with their performance which would be the last with Brian Jones. The Who had just returned from a tour and were really tight and some thought upstaged the Rolling Stones.

The best thing to come out of the film to me is this performance…and The Who performing “A Quick One, While He’s Away.”

The Dirty Mac performed two songs…Yer Blues and “Whole Lotta Yoko” with Yoko…uh…”singing” so we will stick with this one.

A DVD of this event was released in 2004…It’s worth buying.

Yer Blues

Yes, I’m lonely, wanna die
Yes, I’m lonely, wanna die
If I ain’t dead already
Woo! Girl you know the reason why
In the morning, wanna die
In the evening, wanna die
If I ain’t dead already
Woo! Girl you know the reason why
My mother was of the sky
My father was of the earth
But I am of the universe
And you know what it’s worth
I’m lonely, wanna die
If I ain’t dead already
Woo! Girl you know the reason why
The eagle picks my eyes
The worm he licks my bone
I feel so suicidal
Just like Dylan’s Mr. Jones
Lonely, wanna die
If I ain’t dead already
Woo! Girl you know the reason why
[Instrumental Break]
The black cloud crossed my mind
Blue mist round my soul
Feel so suicidal
Even hate my rock and roll
I’m lonely, wanna die
If I ain’t dead already
Woo! Girl you know the reason why
[Instrumental Break]
Wanna die, yeah, wanna die
[Instrumental Break]

Derek and The Dominos – Bell Bottom Blues

I like this song just as much as Layla. The song was written by Eric Clapton and Bobby Whitlock. This song and “I Looked Away” are my favorites on the album. This song peaked at only #91 in the Billboard 100 in 1971.

Yet another song that was written about Pattie Boyd.

From the American Blues Scene site

In 1970, Eric Clapton was experiencing emotional anguish at the hands of lover Pattie Boyd. His romantic agony inspired an entire album worth of songs, “Bell Bottom Blues” being one of them. In Eric Clapton: The Autobiography, he recounts writing the song for Boyd after she asked him to get her a pair of bell-bottom jeans while he visited the US.

Bell Bottom Blues

Bell bottom blues, you made me cry
I don’t want to lose this feeling
And if I could choose a place to die
It would be in your arms

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I’d gladly do it because
I don’t want to fade away
Give me one more day, please
I don’t want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

It’s all wrong, but it’s all right
The way that you treat me baby
Once I was strong but I lost the fight
You won’t find a better loser

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I’d gladly do it because
I don’t want to fade away
Give me one more day, please
I don’t want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I’d gladly do it ’cause
I don’t want to fade away
Give me one more day, please
I don’t want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

Bell bottom blues, don’t say goodbye
I’m sure we’re gonna meet again
And if we do, don’t you be surprised
If you find me with another lover

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I’d gladly do it ’cause
I don’t want to fade away
Give me one more day, please
I don’t want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

I don’t want to fade away
Give me one more day please
I don’t want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

I don’t want to fade away
Give me one more day please
I don’t want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

Eric Clapton – I’ve Got a Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart

A very smooth Eric Clapton song. He had a very clean guitar tone on this single. The single was released in 1983 and peaked at #18 in the Billboard 100, #83 in the UK and #17 in Canada. The song was off of Clapton’s Money and Cigarettes album. The song was written by Troy Seals, Eddie Setser, Steve Diamond and produced by Tom Dowds.

This certainly is not the “screaming guitars” of Clapton long ago. I know many Clapton fans that did not like it but it fit in with the times…

I’ve Got A Rock and Roll Heart
I’ve got a feeling we could be serious, girl;
Right at this moment, I could promise you the world.
Before we go crazy, before we explode,
There’s something ’bout me, baby, you got to know,
You got to know.
I get off on ’57 Chevy’s
I get off on screaming guitar.
Like the way it gets me every time it hits me.
I’ve got a rock and roll, I’ve got a rock and roll heart.
Feels like we’re falling into the arms of the night,
So if you’re not ready, don’t be holdin’ me so tight.
I guess there’s nothing left for me to explain
Here’s what you’re gettin’ and I don’t want to change,
I don’t want to change.
I get off on ’57 Chevy’s
I get off on screaming guitar.
Like the way it gets me every time it hits me.
I’ve got a rock and roll, I’ve got a rock and roll heart.
I don’t need to glitter, no Hollywood,
All you got to do is lay it down and you lay it down good.
I get off on ’57 Chevy’s
I get off on screaming guitar.
Like the way it gets me every time it hits me.
I’ve got a rock and roll, I’ve got a rock and roll heart.