50 Essential Albums of 1967

From the Doors' debut to Aretha Franklin's first smash

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Cream, 'Disraeli Gears'
50
Cream, 'Disraeli Gears'14/50

Cream, 'Disraeli Gears'

Cream's best album distilled their prodigious chops and rhythmic interplay into psychedelic pop that never strayed far from their blues roots. Except for the electricity, "Outside Woman Blues" is nearly identical to Arthur Reynolds' 1930s original. And the riff to "Sunshine of Your Love," written by bassist Jack Bruce, is Delta blues in jab and drive. But Disraeli Gears decisively broke with British blues purism in the ecstatic jangle of "Dance the Night Away," the climbing dismay of "We're Going Wrong" (driven by Ginger Baker's circular drumming) and the wah-wah grandeur of "Tales of Brave Ulysses." Producer Felix Pappalardi and engineer Tom Dowd contributed song sense and studio expertise; lyricist Pete Brown was unique in his union of Dada and confession. When Bruce sang "And the rainbow has a beard" in "SWLABR," you knew that didn't come from Robert Johnson.

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