Cream – Goodbye (1969)

OriginalFC1Goodbye (also called Goodbye Cream) is the fourth and final studio album by Cream, with three tracks recorded live, and three recorded in the studio. It was released in Europe by Polydor Records and by Atco Records in the United States, debuting in Billboard on 15 February 1969.[3] It reached number one in the United Kingdom and number two in the US. A single, “Badge”, was subsequently released from the album a month later. The album was released after Cream disbanded in November 1968.

Just before Cream’s third album, Wheels of Fire, was to be released, the group’s manager Robert Stigwood announced that the group were going to disband after a farewell tour and a final concert at the Royal Albert Hall in November. Just before the start of their farewell tour in October 1968, Cream recorded three songs at IBC Studios in London with producer Felix Pappalardi and engineer Damon Lyon-Shaw. The songs “Badge” and “Doing That Scrapyard Thing” featured Eric Clapton using a Leslie speaker, while all three recordings featured keyboard instruments played by either Jack Bruce or Felix Pappalardi. The group started their farewell tour on 4 October 1968 in Oakland, California and 15 days later on 19 October the group performed at The Forum in Los Angeles where the three live recordings on Goodbye were recorded with Felix Pappalardi and engineers Adrian Barber and Bill Halverson.

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The original plan for Goodbye was to make it a double album, with one disc featuring studio recordings and the other with live performances much like Wheels of Fire, but with a lack of quality material on hand the album was only one disc with three live recordings and three studio recordings.

The original LP release of the album was packaged in a gatefold sleeve with art direction handled by Haig Adishian. The outer sleeve featured photography by Roger Phillips with a cover design by the Alan Aldridge ink Studios, while the inner sleeve featured an illustration of a cemetery by Roger Hane that had the song titles on tombstones.

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In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, music critic Ray Rezos felt Cream deserved to depart with a better album. He wrote that most of the live songs sound inferior to the original recordings and that the studio tracks are marred by the same flaw as on Wheels of Fire, namely the presence of blues playing on songs whose compositions were not blues in his opinion. Nonetheless, Goodbye was voted the 148th best rock album of all time in Paul Gambaccini’s 1978 poll of 50 prominent American and English rock critics.

Robert Christgau also reacted favourably to the album, citing it as his favorite record from the group. J. D. Considine was less impressed in The Rolling Stone Album Guide (1992), deeming Goodbye an incomplete record with “exquisite studio work” but mediocre live performances.(by wikipedia)

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After a mere three albums in just under three years, Cream called it quits in 1969. Being proper gentlemen, they said their formal goodbyes with a tour and a farewell album called — what else? — Goodbye. As a slim, six-song single LP, it’s far shorter than the rambling, out-of-control Wheels of Fire, but it boasts the same structure, evenly dividing its time between tracks cut on-stage and in the studio. While the live side contains nothing as indelible as “Crossroads,” the live music on the whole is better than that on Wheels of Fire, capturing the trio at an empathetic peak as a band. It’s hard, heavy rock, with Cream digging deep into their original “Politician” with the same intensity as they do on “Sitting on Top of the World,” but it’s the rampaging “I’m So Glad” that illustrates how far they’ve come; compare it to the original studio version on Fresh Cream and it’s easy to see just how much further they’re stretching their improvisation. The studio side also finds them at something of a peak.

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Boasting a song apiece from each member, it opens with the majestic classic “Badge,” co-written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison and ranking among both of their best work. It’s followed by Jack Bruce’s “Doing That Scrapyard Thing,” an overstuffed near-masterpiece filled with wonderful, imaginative eccentricities, and finally, there’s Ginger Baker’s tense, dramatic “What a Bringdown,” easily the best original he contributed to the group. Like all of Cream’s albums outside Disraeli Gears, Goodbye is an album of moments, not a tight cohesive work, but those moments are all quite strong on their own terms, making this a good and appropriate final bow. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Ginger Baker (drums, percussion)
Jack Bruce (bass, vocals, keyboards on 06.)
Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals)
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George Harrison (guitar on 04.)
Felix Pappalardi (piano on 04, mellotron on 04. + 05, bass on 06.)

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Tracklist:
01. I’m So Glad (James) 9.12
02. Politician (Bruce/Brown) 6.18
03. Sitting On Top Of The World (Vinson/Chatmon) 5-ß4
04. Badge (Clapton/Harrison) 2.49
05. Doing That Scrapyard Thing (Bruce/Brown) 3.17
06. What A Bringdown (Baker) 4.02
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07. Anyone For Tennis (The Savage Seven Theme) (Clapton/Sharp) 2.39

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