Review Summary: Two parts live, one part studio. Lucky enough to just make the mark.
Cream’s final album Goodbye
is fittingly titled, but doesn’t quite feel like a true studio album. Half of the tracks and two thirds of the thin 30-minute running length are live recordings, meaning the actual new original material comes in very little amounts. These three tracks are however the last creative output by the group before Bruce and Baker’s ongoing quarrelling broke Cream apart after merely three years (the album was released after
the split, hence the limited material). Therefore, Goodbye
definitely has something to offer, but is far from the heights the power trio reached with both Disraeli Gears
and Wheels of Fire
The live section that this time makes up the first part of the record (as opposed to Wheels of Fire) is by far not as satisfying as the one on its predecessor. The 9-minute rendition of Skip James’ I’m So Glad
and Wheels of Fire
and Sitting On Top of the World
(which weren’t even some of the best tracks on that album) all suffer from the very same thing: Cream is not playing together, but apart. Clapton tries, but Bruce’s bass is on complete overdrive and Baker seems caught up in his own world as well. The result: three loud jams that only make a lot of noise and don’t really go anywhere.
has a very special trump card. Badge
, which was co-written by Clapton and former Beatle George Harrison (who also contributes rhythm guitar on the track), is not like any other Cream tune, but among the very finest the band has made. The collaboration with Harrison might never have happened under different circumstances, as the idea about Goodbye
was that all three band members would contribute one studio song the album. Clapton didn’t have his written yet, and it was created whilst exchanging some musical ideas with Harrison and Ringo Starr on an occasion. This is definitely notable, as the song is vocally and lyrically quite similar to the sweet tunes of the Fab Four. Badge
is so great it alone almost makes Goodbye
Bruce’s work Doing That Scrapyard Thing
is completely different. With its playful piano and vocals, it sounds positively eccentric, and is also not too similar to Cream’s peak work. The same can be said about Baker’s What a Bringdown
. Whereas his earlier contributions Blue Condition
and Pressed Rat and Warthog
were silly and little-contributing, this song sounds surprisingly tight and dramatic (also thanks to Bruce’s work with the Hammond Organ), and while definitely not a classic, it may be the best and most original track the drummer ever penned for the band.
It is obviously clear that Goodbye
is Cream’s least interesting effort, and should be acquired last of their albums. The live section is terribly disappointing, but on the other hand, Badge
is wonderful, and the all actual studio tracks, be they only a third of the album, are different enough from the group’s earlier work to give the album some added value. Cream has only made four albums. I advise you just get them all, as none truly disappoint.
The Wonderful Trippy Experience Known as Cream Was:
- Eric Patrick ‘Slowhand’ Clapton ~ Guitar, Vocals
- John Symon Asher ‘Jack’ Bruce ~ Vocals, Bass Guitar, Piano, Hammond Organ
- Peter Edward ‘Ginger’ Baker ~ Drums, Percussion, Vocals