The 50th Anniversary Birthday Concerts (2 DVD Set) By Jack Bruce

May 5, 2015


There probably would have never been another Cream reunion but that fact became definite last year when Jack Bruce passed away at the age of 71. The release of The 50th Anniversary Concerts is a fitting eulogy for his life and career.

Before the age of 30, Bruce had been a part of such bands as Blues Incorporated with Alexis Korner, The Graham Bond Quartet, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Manfred Mann, the short lived Powerhouse, West, Bruce, & Laing, and the iconic Cream. His solo career would extend for the next four decades. In celebration of his career, he threw himself a 50th birthday bash with a live concert. He took the stage at the E-Werk in Cologne the evenings of November 2 and 3, 1973, with such luminaries as Ginger Baker, Gary Moore, Dick Heckstall-Smith, and others in tow.

The 34 tracks are from both nights and spread out over two DVD’s and there are no repeats. The songs come from all phases of his career. Gary Moore was only present one night but he is part of a six song highlight as he provides the guitar work for such Cream songs as “White Room,” “Spoonful,” “Politician,” “Sitting On Top Of The World,” and “Sunshine Of Your Love.”

His solo career material may not be as well-known as that of his work with Cream but his 1970’s albums Songs From A Tailor, Harmony Row, and Out Of The Storm all provide material that revolves around his voice and bass.

Bruce is both a well-known bassist and an exceptional one. This is very apparent on his solo work and on stage when he is the center of attention. The live tracks with just saxophonist Heckstall-Smith and drummer Baker have a jazz element and are excellent examples of his creativity and expertise.

This visual document of Jack Bruce in concert is a nice retrospective of his career and a fitting farewell.

Anyone For Tennis 45 by Cream

January 22, 2011

Right in the middle of the singles, “Sunshine Of Your Love” and “White Room,” Cream released this odd single, “Anyone For Tennis.” It would reach number 64 on The United States singles charts.

The song was the theme song from the movie THE SAVAGE SEVEN. Somehow Cream got involved in the soundtrack and their company released the song as a single. It would not appear on any of their studio albums and was a rare release until it started being issued as a part of compilation albums.

It was a pop song and far different from the music Cream was releasing at the time. The movie and and the song have mercifully faded away.

Crossroads 45 by Cream

January 21, 2011

“Crossroads” was and is one of the original blues classic created by Robert Johnson. Legend has it that Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossoads in return for the ability to play the guitar. Unfortunately for Johnson the devil collected the debt at age 27. It remains one of the most covered blues songs of all time.

Cream’s version featured Eric Clapton on guitar. It was a staple of their live act for most of their career.

“Crossroads” was released as a single on January 25, 1969. It was the fourth of five American chart hits for the group, reaching number 28.

While “Crossroads” is more associated as an album track, it did receive considerable airplay and remains one of their signature songs.

After Midnight 45 by Eric Clapton

January 15, 2011

“After Midnight” was released during February of 1970 and was the first solo hit of Eric Clapton’s career. It reached number 18 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Top 100 Singles chart.

It also marked the beginning of his relationship with J.J. Cale which would continue through the rest of his career. Cale’s compositions were a perfect match for Clapton.

While “After Midnight” would be far removed from his Cream days, it would provide evidence of his emergence as a vocalist.

Forty years after its releases, it remains of of his signature songs and formed an important link from his career in bands to that of a solo superstar.

Wille And The Hand Jive 45 by Eric Clapton

January 12, 2011

“Willie And The Hand Jive” was an old Johnny Otis song, reaching number 9 on The American singles chart during 1958. Any Johnny Otis tune is a good and fun song. Otis was inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame during 1994.

Eric Clapton plays the blues, so this may have seemed like an odd cover song for him. It all turned out well as he captured the funfulled spirit of the song and produced one of the more enjoyable singles of his career.

“Willie And The Hand Jive” was released November 2, 1974 and reached number 26 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE singles chart. Its still a great listen over a quarter of a century later.

Wonderful Tonight 45 by Eric Clapton

January 12, 2011

Eric Clapton was getting ready for a night out with Paul and Linda McCartney. His wife at the time, Patti Boyd, was late, so he sat down and wrote this song to her.

“Wonderful Tonight” was released during the summer of 1978 and reached number 16 on the American singles chart. It remains one of his more memorable love songs.

The background vocals are provided by Marcy Levy, and Yvonne Elliman.

Boyd was George Harrison’s wife as well and he wrote “Something” for her. In addition Clapton wrote the great rock song, “Layla” in her honor. Those three songs are a good start on a great album.

I Shot The Sheriff 45 by Eric Clapton

January 7, 2011

When I was in school there was a Sunday Morning, Rhode Island Disc Jockey who would open his show at 9:00 a.m. with “I Shot The Sheriff.” He received alot of complaints but he kept on playing the song week after week.

“I Shot The Sheriff” was Eric Clapton’s only number one single as it topped the BILLBOARD POP CHART during the summer of 1974. He took this Bob Marley tune and fused its reggae roots with his blues/rock orintation into a memorable mix.

I have always liked the fact that the narrator confesses to killing the sheriff but denies killing the deputy.

It remains one of Eric Clapton’s memorable songs.