Friday night beauty: Cream, “Crossroads”

Every blues aficionado knows the Robert Johnson classic, “Crossroads”. Personally straight blues isn’t my thing, but Cream’s live version of this song, as it appears on the “Wheels of fire” album, ranks among the most mind-blowing live rock performances ever recorded. During the two solo sections, Eric Clapton’s guitar and Jack Bruce’s bass play what amount to simultaneous solos that perfectly fit each other — one of a few rare instances of polyphony in straight rock music. (I remember Jack Bruce once saying in an interview that, to him, the best bass lines ever were written by J. S. Bach. Unlike the self-taught Clapton, Bruce majored in cello and composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, eventually dropping out when told to choose between his classical studies or playing jazz. Ironically, in 2007 he returned to play at the dedication ceremony for a new rehearsal hall, named in his honor, at the academy.)

The video is just a static cover image, but the audio makes up for that sevenfold.

Below is a video of Cream’s performance of the track during their 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The vibe here is quite different.


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