I have got to give thanks for the local library system for carrying this album, as it was rocking me all morning long. There are some kick butt liner notes also about BBC broadcasting at the time these were recorded that I hope to find and at least link to, as they are well worth a read.
BBC Sessions is a live album by the British rock band Cream, released on May 25, 2003 on Polydor Records. It contains 22 tracks and 4 interviews recorded live at the BBC studios in London. Between October 21, 1966 and January 9, 1968, Cream recorded eight sessions for the BBC radio network, selected highlights from seven of which are featured in chronological order on this collection. Only the versions of “Steppin’ Out” and “Lawdy Mama” had been previously released, although both were released on Eric Clapton’s Crossroads box set, not by the band itself.
BBC Sessions was later included as the third disc in the “limited edition box set” release of Cream’s 2005 compilation album I Feel Free – Ultimate Cream (also known as Gold).
SWLABR The song was a collaborative writing effort between poet Pete Brown and bassist Jack Bruce, with Brown providing the lyrics and Bruce the music. Bruce sings and plays bass guitar, with Eric Clapton on guitars, and Ginger Baker on drums. The title is an initialism for “She Walks Like a Bearded Rainbow”. Bruce later commented that the W stood for “Was” rather than “Walks.” This alternative title was also referenced by Brown in a 2006 interview.
Please check for “origin story” after the lyrics to SWLABR.
Coming to me in the morning, leaving me at night.
Coming to me in the morning, leaving me alone.
You’ve got that rainbow feel but the rainbow has a beard.
Running to me a-cryin’ when he throws you out.
Running to me a-cryin’, on your own again.
You’ve got that pure feel, such good responses,
But the picture has a mustache.
You’re coming to me with that soulful look on your face,
Coming looking like you’ve never ever done one wrong thing.
You’re coming to me with that soulful look on your face.
You’re coming looking like you’ve never ever done one wrong thing.
So many fantastic colors; I feel in a wonderland.
Many fantastic colors makes me feel so good.
You’ve got that pure feel, such good responses.
You’ve got that rainbow feel but the rainbow has a beard.
Songwriters: Jack Bruce / Pete Brown
OK, I wasn’t able to find any transcriptions of the liner notes online, so I decided to type out the first two pages:
BBC Sessions makes available 22 recordings made by Cream for the BBC over a fourteen month span from November 1966 through January 1968. These unique sessions document the rapid ascension of one of the most influential groups in the history of rock and roll.
As extraordinary as these performances remain, they exist at all because of the unusual regulations that governed the public broadcasting of phonograph records in the UK. Instituted in the 1950’s, these restrictions, which covered all UK radio and TV broadcasters, were originally intended to protect musicians who lobbied that the unregulated broadcasting of phonograph discs would diminish the public’s interest in purchasing them. As a result, an agency known as the Phonograph Performance Limited crafted an agreement with the Musicians Union that strictly governed the amount of hours broadcasters could play phonograph records each day.
To circumvent these regulations, BBC engineers elected to record artists and groups in their own studios. Dedicated BBC engineers for relatively minimal cost made these mono recordings. Artists were recorded live and each session normally allowed for the recordings of 3-5 songs. These performances soon became an integral part of BBC’s programming.
The BBC was and remains a state controlled, publicly financed institution whose mission was to provide its listeners with a full spectrum of ‘popular’ music. Rock and roll had been essentially ignored but with the enormous success of The Beatles, the cultural phenomenon they set in motion gradually encouraged the BBC to broaden its horizons.
By 1966, the BBC faced potent competition as powerful European transmitters like Radio Luxembourg were broadcasting rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues to Britain’s youth. Furthermore, ‘pirate radio’ began to circumvent the staid programming choices of the BBC by broadcasting continuous rock music from ships moored outside Britain’s territorial waters. Through this legal loophole, pirate stations such as Radio London and Radio Caroline exposed a new generation to the full spectrum of music available. To counter this, the BBC created Radio 1, a station dedicated to rock and pop music.
Throughout the Summer and early Autumn of 1966, word of Cream’s extraordinary virtuosity and inventive interpretations of American blues spread rapidly throughout London. Cream was at the forefront of a new movement in popular music – rightly acknowledged as the first power trio – blending rock and electric blues like no artist before them. Much had been expected of the partnership between Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, and Eric Clapton. Baker and Bruce had worked together in the popular Graham Bond Organization while Clapton’s star had emerged during his short but celebrated tenure with The Yardbirds and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.
Enthusiasm for Cream was such that their initial BBC recording session took place prior to the releases of their debut album, Fresh Cream. The group recorded their spirited renditions of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Spoonful,” Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” and “Sleepy Time Time” on October 21, 1966. Sadly, these early recordings are no longer among the vast holdings of the venerable state run broadcasting company. BBC Sessions therefore begins with the group’s November 11, 1966 appearance on the Radio 1 program Saturday Club.
Liner notes say, “Essay by John McDermott.” I was able to find a list of McDermott’s achievements as a producer and/or creator of liner notes here.