Cream Releases "Disraeli Gears"
Disraeli Gears is the second album by British blues-rock group Cream.
It was released in November 1967 and went on to reach #5 on the UK album chart. It was also their American breakthrough, becoming a massive seller there in 1968, reaching #4 on the American charts. The album features the two singles "Strange Brew" and "Sunshine of Your Love". By this time, the group was veering quite heavily away from their blues roots to indulge in more psychedelic sounds.
The title of the album was taken from an inside joke. Eric Clapton had been thinking of buying a racing bicycle and was discussing it with Ginger Baker, when a roadie named Mick Turner commented, "it's got them Disraeli Gears", meaning to say "derailleur gears", but instead alluding to 19th Century British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. The band thought this was hilarious, and decided that it should be the title of their next album. Had it not been for Mick's turn of phrase, the album would simply have been entitled Cream.
Clapton, Baker, and Jack Bruce all contributed songs with the help of lyricist Pete Brown and producer Felix Pappalardi. The track "Blue Condition" was unusual in that Baker, although not well known for his singing, took the lead vocal. The album was recorded in New York by their American label, the Atco division of Atlantic Records during the band's stay in the United States.
The psychedelic cover art was created by Australian artist Martin Sharp, who lived in the same building as Clapton at the time of the Chelsea artists colony The Pheasantry. At their first meeting in a London club, Clapton mentioned that he had some music that needed lyrics, so Sharp wrote out a poem he had composed on a napkin and gave it to Clapton, who recorded it as "Tales of Brave Ulysses."
When interviewed on the episode of the VH1 show, Classic Albums, which featured Disraeli Gears, Bruce stated that when writing the song "Take it Back", he had been inspired by the contemporary media images of American students burning their draft cards and wrote the song in that spirit of rejecting militarism.
In 2004, the album was released as a 2-disc Deluxe edition including the complete album in both mono and stereo, demos, alternate takes and tracks taken from the band's live sessions on BBC radio. In 2003 the album was ranked number 112 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. VH1 also named it their 87th greatest album of all time the same year.
1. "Strange Brew" (Eric Clapton, Felix Pappalardi, Gail Collins) – 2:46
2. "Sunshine of Your Love" (Clapton, Jack Bruce, Pete Brown) – 4:10
3. "World of Pain" (Felix Pappalardi, Collins) – 3:03
4. "Dance the Night Away" (Bruce, Brown) – 3:34
5. "Blue Condition" (Ginger Baker) – 3:29
6. "Tales of Brave Ulysses" (Clapton, Bruce, Martin Sharp) – 2:46
7. "SWLABR" (Bruce, Brown) – 2:32
8. "We're Going Wrong" (Bruce) – 3:26
9. "Outside Woman Blues" (Blind Joe Reynolds, arr. Clapton) – 2:24
10. "Take It Back" (Bruce, Brown) – 3:05
11. "Mother's Lament" (Traditional, arr. Clapton, Bruce, Baker) – 1:47