Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cream, "I'm So Glad" (1966)


I don't hear much about Cream these days. Maybe I'm traveling in the wrong circles. As a key prototype for the super-session super-group at least, it seems they might come up more often. Maybe people want to forget that. Not to mention authors of "White Room" and some other nice '60s moods. Not to mention "Eric Clapton is God"—that idea came and went fast. "I'm So Glad" is from the debut album Fresh Cream, which I got to almost last. It's a good tuneful album, before they started stretching out and making rote long live tracks a big part of the albums. The "Cream" trio had a big reputation to live up to, after all, but I'm more indifferent to the playing now, as the nine-minute live version of "I'm So Glad" from Goodbye quickly reminded me (and yes, it also makes me mostly indifferent to Cream too). What I like most about "I'm So Glad" are things like Jack Bruce's vocal, which was always a little underrated, the long-face, ringing harmonies they reach in the climax, with all the rest dropping out, and the loopy way they play off the lyric. Written and recorded originally by Skip James in 1931, Cream treats the song less as a blues and more as a music hall entertainment, with little instrumental gestures and flourishes. Bruce's carnival barking of the title, the basic lyric, does indeed sound glad in its monotonous way but also mocking, turning the song in a funny direction. I always think of it as a short pop song, but it is nearly four minutes, stretched out by the break and a typically lyrical guitar solo taken by Eric Clapton midway, which routes it back into the Cream mainline momentarily. Something for everyone.

1 comment:

  1. In general, I agree that Cream's long live stuff is inferior to their studio work. But I love the live "I'm So Glad", think it's one of their best live tracks, never loses me for its entire length.