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Two myths concerning Cream's 'Crossroads'

Poppa Stoppa

Member
Messages
2,224
Just been getting pretty deep into this song for a rock covers gig. Having listened carefully to it I have come to the conclusion that two of the most common comments about it are untrue. What do you think?

1. 'It was edited down from a longer performance'.

The evidence against this is twofold. First, there are no boots of a longer, unedited version. Any boot I have heard is of the song as we know it. Second, there are no clear audible edit points in the recording.

2. Clapton lost the '1' during the solo. He has been reported as saying he thinks he may have done this.

The evidence against this is on the recording. The first solo is perfectly on beat, on time. The second solo gets a bit loose in places, but again the beat is mostly pretty clear, the guitar phrasing is overwhelmingly coherent and locked in with the beat.

Great playing, as we all know, and really educational to get into it in detail after listening to it for the best part of 45 years.
 

dhdfoster

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,124
I don't think he's lost on the beat, meaning he's playing out of time, but I definitely think he's lost within the measure and possibly the chord changes.

I think his statement that he is lost is pretty strong "evidence", but I do hear it.

As for the first myth, I have no evidence either way, and really could not care any less if it was edited or not.
 

GulfportBound

Member
Messages
8,731
Tom Dowd once said he'd heard an audience tape from that concert and the tape showed they'd played the song as you hear it on the album.

He also remembered Ginger Baker almost missing the gig's start when he got caught in traffic on the way to Winterland (he'd rented a car), and he got a police escort to get to the stage door with about three minutes before the band went on . . .
 

seiko

Member
Messages
3,971
Just been getting pretty deep into this song for a rock covers gig. Having listened carefully to it I have come to the conclusion that two of the most common comments about it are untrue. What do you think?

1. 'It was edited down from a longer performance'.

The evidence against this is twofold. First, there are no boots of a longer, unedited version. Any boot I have heard is of the song as we know it. Second, there are no clear audible edit points in the recording.

2. Clapton lost the '1' during the solo. He has been reported as saying he thinks he may have done this.

The evidence against this is on the recording. The first solo is perfectly on beat, on time. The second solo gets a bit loose in places, but again the beat is mostly pretty clear, the guitar phrasing is overwhelmingly coherent and locked in with the beat.

Great playing, as we all know, and really educational to get into it in detail after listening to it for the best part of 45 years.
I have no evidence either way on the edit but a good producer/engineer is not going to leave an obvious cut. The Band of Gypsys live album has a bunch of edits and I would never have spotted 99% of them without hearing the unedited boot.
 

GerryJ

Member
Messages
5,222
The split second from the end of the last solo to beginning of the last verse sounds like an edit to me, because the dynamics (especially the drums) change instantaneously. It's a turn on-a-dime change like a prog-rock band (Yes, Gentle Giant from that era), never heard Cream play that way.
Of course it doesn't matter, it was a great business decision to release as a 'single' , the 3 minute thing for radio.

Like seiko says, a good editor, you won't hear it. Miles Davis's 'Bitches Brew' is probably several hundred edits and tape splices - it's actually documented for the fanatics in one of those late box set releases - by Teo Macero. The jams they played in the studio weren't anything what was released.

Funny, I remember an article waaay back, after Jefferson Airplane had a huge hit with "Miracles", the band said how the song structure was edited and the verses, choruses, and bridge were not what the original order was at all, almost a completely different song. I don't think many could hear that (I certainly couldn't).
 

Wibcs39

Member
Messages
1,464
I always assumed Clapton meant he was playing over the 2 and 4 beat as if it were the 1 and 3 during parts of the solo. And if you think about it while listening, I can certainly see that. Doesn't mean it still doesn't sound awesome.
 

Cream

Not The Brightest Member
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,187
Whether or not he lost the I or the 1, either way, it's a master class all the way through. Clapton is the Rosetta Stone of modern guitar playing. He studied the greats and synthesized the language that every lead player speaks today.
 

wire-n-wood

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,605
Cream's Crossroads is barely contained chaos. As it should be. It was a magic moment where they played a blues song far too fast, and it just worked.
 

Razorface

Senior Member
Messages
993
Whether or not he lost the I or the 1, either way, it's a master class all the way through. Clapton is the Rosetta Stone of modern guitar playing. He studied the greats and synthesized the language that every lead player speaks today.
Absolutely. I recommend anyone wanting to learn to combine maj/minor in blues to study this solo.

I think he did say he lost the 1 near the end of the 2nd solo.
 

'58Bassman

Member
Messages
4,928
Just been getting pretty deep into this song for a rock covers gig. Having listened carefully to it I have come to the conclusion that two of the most common comments about it are untrue. What do you think?

1. 'It was edited down from a longer performance'.

The evidence against this is twofold. First, there are no boots of a longer, unedited version. Any boot I have heard is of the song as we know it. Second, there are no clear audible edit points in the recording.

2. Clapton lost the '1' during the solo. He has been reported as saying he thinks he may have done this.

The evidence against this is on the recording. The first solo is perfectly on beat, on time. The second solo gets a bit loose in places, but again the beat is mostly pretty clear, the guitar phrasing is overwhelmingly coherent and locked in with the beat.

Great playing, as we all know, and really educational to get into it in detail after listening to it for the best part of 45 years.
He wasn't exactly 'lost', but he was definitely not playing straight time. In the second solo after the rest, he bends up from C and holds the A a bit longer than straight time would call for, but all three of them were beating the time signature to death. That's one of the things that makes this version great- they were all playing outside and made it work incredibly well.

This is one of the songs that really grabbed me by the snout the first time I heard it and it's still exciting. I was 11 when it came out- my older brother started high school that year and he brought a lot of great music home including Cream, King Crimson, ELP, Jethro Tull (Stand Up), Moody Blues and others.
 

Steve Hotra

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,191
He wasn't exactly 'lost', but he was definitely not playing straight time. In the second solo after the rest, he bends up from C and holds the A a bit longer than straight time would call for, but all three of them were beating the time signature to death. That's one of the things that makes this version great- they were all playing outside and made it work incredibly well.

This is one of the songs that really grabbed me by the snout the first time I heard it and it's still exciting. I was 11 when it came out- my older brother started high school that year and he brought a lot of great music home including Cream, King Crimson, ELP, Jethro Tull (Stand Up), Moody Blues and others.
It's one of my favorite solos because of the passion, going from major/minor pentantonic, and the timing. And it's a trio... Each member brought someone special to that band.
 

parts

Member
Messages
94
The dynamics..the interplay with Bruce and Baker... As you say..the passion..each pushing the other..yet interplaying..
Some of the best..
 

afterburner

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,551
Great solo. One of my favorites, it grabs me every time I listen to it.

Not so sure why Clapton thinks it's on the wrong beat and not so sure I want to know :)
 

Scott Miller

Member
Messages
7,357
It sounds like he's right on top of the changes all the way through. As for the sudden dynamics at the end of the second solo, it sounds normal to me. Normal for a really good drummer, anyway.
 






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