Below is an excerpt of an article that originally appeared in RS 6 from February 24, 1968. This issue and the rest of the Rolling Stone archives are available via Rolling Stone Plus, Rolling Stone’s premium subscription plan. If you are already a subscriber, you can click here to see the full story. Not a member? Click here to learn more about Rolling Stone Plus.
They are the Cream. Baker, Bruce and Clapton: and there’s not many desperados who would hitch up their breeches and roll down the dusty main street to meet the Cream in battle at high noon.
There’s something just formidable about the Cream, maybe it’s the multi-talented Baker, Bruce and Clapton, brimming with musical confidence and religiously slaying their audiences night after night with a bedazzling hurricane of technique, drama, emotion and zooming spirit.
Maybe it’s that hairy satanic aura, the cool hard gaze of Eric Clapton from beneath that underworld of hair, the deep colorful mystery of their flowing robes. Maybe it’s the creamy texture of both the group and their music.
Admittedly, though, one’s fondest memories of the Cream are their stunning live performances. That giant bank of amplification, red indicators shining, make an impressive science fiction-like backdrop of thundering rocket power; Ginger Baker up on his drum rostrum, a flashing angry hobgoblin weaving percussive spells, and stamping his heeled boots until you could hear the earth shake.
Suddenly the gentle voice of Jack Bruce, head cocked to one side, might float through the churning clouds and all the lights would go purple and the scene would change again — but how can the experience of a live group on stage ever be put onto record.
The Cream certainly, have been criticized by quite a few members of the public — fans, at that — on the tricky relationship between live experiences and recorded ones.