|CREAM-Wrapping Paper/Cat's Squirrel UK Reaction 591007 1966|
Cream have been touted as the first "power trio" (not true) and the first "supergroup" (possibly true). Cream was formed when former Graham Bond Organization drummer extraordinaire Ginger Baker approached blues aficionado/ guitar hero Eric Clapton who was then playing with John Mayall's Bluebreakers. Clapton agreed but on the condition that they add Baker's former Graham Bond Organization band mate, bassist Jack Bruce who was at that time playing in Manfred Mann. The move was interesting because Baker had sacked Bruce from the G.B.O. and as legend has it threatened him at knife point when he failed to get the message.
Seeing as there was an intense blues/r&b pedigree within all three members musical preference and CV it was rather astonishing that their debut 45 (issued in October 1966 on Robert Stigwood's new Reaction label) was not even remotely bluesy.
|British TV debut "Ready Steady Go!" November 4, 1966|
"Wrapping Paper", penned by Jack Bruce and Pete Brown, would have been better suited for the M.O.R. pop filed of The Merseys or the Mike D'Abo Manfred's not Britain's first power blues trio! That said it's not a terrible number, just not remotely what the music scene expected. To me it's always a perfect book end to Manfred Mann's reading of Randy Newman's "So Long Dad" or The Alan Price Set's "The House That Jack Built".
The "real" Cream comes through on the B-side, "Cat's Squirrel", a traditional blues jam where each member gets to show their chops with Bruce blowing some wild harp while Clapton does his "God" thing on his Les Paul and Baker's driving drums bring it all down. Strangely the version on this U.K. 45 is an entirely different take than the album version and is far superior in my book.
"Wrapping Paper" was been issued on the deluxe version of their debut album "Fresh Cream", but the version of "Cat's Squirrel" has yet to surface anywhere to my knowledge.
Hear "Cat's Squirrel":