“What a Bringdown.” The last title of (probably) the final Cream album serves as a capsule summation of Goodbye and, indeed, the whole Cream mess. Certainly Jack, Eric, and Ginger deserved a better fate.
Goodbye is not a very worthwhile album. Critics will probably tear it apart, while even bonafide Cream Freaks will have to be a little disappointed. It’s like the once-famous tycoon who dies an anonymous pauper; it’s just a bad way to go out.
The studio version of “I’m So Glad” from Fresh Cream is far superior to the live one. What melody the song had is lost as Jack and Eric get involved in a shouting match. “Politician” wasn’t an overly brilliant song in the first place, and the live recording doesn’t improve upon the original version. “Sittin’ on Top of the World” is the best of the live cuts; it is dominated by Jack with a convincing vocal and a creaky bass. Eric comes in with a flash of guitar at the end; it all fits together tightly.
As for the studio cuts, they are plagued with the same fault which hindered Wheels of Fire. Cream was best at playing blues; however, none of the stuff they wrote was blues. Hence, whether or not they work depends largely upon the taste of the individual. If you’re a fan of pure, simple blues you won’t like these; however, if you can appreciate a few studio effects, they’ll be quite listenable.
A double-tracked vocal helps Eric on “Badge,” while a guy named L’Angelo Misterioso adds rhythm guitar. Felix Pappalardi plays piano and mellotron on “Doin’ That Scrapyard Thing.” And Jack Bruce abandons his bass guitar for piano and organ on “Bringdown.”
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There’s a little nostalgia here; buy the record, listen to it, and hang the poster on your wall. And shed a quiet tear — not for Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, or Ginger Baker, but for Cream.