Eric Clapton Isolated Guitar: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

After posting an article a few weeks ago focusing on the isolated guitar tracks from Layla, I thought I’d do the same with another song featuring another one of Eric Clapton’s most recognisable guitar solos, While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Before Eric was asked by George to record the solo, George himself had recorded multiple takes himself which included a backwards guitar solo (like in I’m Only Sleeping). However George wasn’t satisfied with the results and managed to convince Eric to come to the studio and record the solo. The guitar Eric used was actually one he had given George roughly around August 1968, a beautiful red 1957 Gibson Les Paul. Lucy.

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BOOTLEG SERIES #12: Cream – Winterland, San Francisco, CA. 10th March 1968.

Winterland was one of the most well known and legendary venues of the late 60’s and early 70’s. All of the major bands of the time played there, just like they did at the original Fillmore Auditorium, Fillmore West and Fillmore East. What did these venues have in common? The late great Bill Graham. From 1966 he rented Winterland as it could hold more people than the nearby Fillmore Auditorium, and he needed it for the larger concerts he was putting on. Originally the venue was called the New Dreamland Auditorium when it opened in 1928 and it was used for ice skating and concerts, as the venue could be easily changed between the two. However it wasn’t until 1971 that the venue was just a music venue, after Bill Graham had it fully converted to one. But in 1968 the venue certainly rivalled the nearby Fillmore Auditorium as one of the premier venues in the United States. Other acts that graced the stage included The Allman Brothers Band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and The Doors to name just a few. Basically, rock royalty.

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BOOTLEG SERIES #11: Cream – Live at Memorial Auditorium, Dallas, TX. 25th October 1968.

“Here they are! The Cream!”, says the announcer right before Cream launch into White Room. You don’t really get band announcers anymore, bands now tend to come out and start playing whenever they feel like it. But back then gigs were almost like an art form and Cream were one of the best around.

The best thing about White Room is the delicious playing by Clapton through a wah peddle. It’s infectious. In many cases during 1968 Cream opened their set with this song however you can’t help but notice the band sound a little too laid back or tired during this particular performance. Just this song though as they would pick up massively after this, starting with Sunshine Of Your Love. Sunshine Of Your Love is hands down the most well known Cream song, in fact you’d find it hard pressed to find any music fans that don’t know that gorgeous intro. It’s one of those songs that you know instantly when hearing it. The only fault here is how short this version is considering at some shows they played it for over 10 minutes, in some cases close to 20 minutes. I mean 6 minutes is probably considered long for most other bands but for Cream that’s barely any time at all! I’m So Glad comes next, a Skip James song that Cream first recorded on their debut album. It is the first song of the set where they really open up the taps and give it everything. The performance lasts just over 10 minutes and you’re reminded why Cream were considered one of the best live bands of the late 1960’s and why Clapton was nicknamed ‘God’.

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BOOTLEG SERIES #2: Cream – Live At Back Bay Theatre, Boston. 5th April 1968.

Only one word can be used to describe this bootleg: awesome.

Cream were at their live peak in early 1968 and this show at Back Bay Theatre in Boston still blows you away 46 years later. The band open with a 17 minute version of Sunshine Of Your Love which sets the pace for the rest of the show. It’s without a doubt one of the most energy driven versions of this song ever played or recorded and the band are in their element. Even now you can hear how involved with the song they are and it’s just fantastic. When they finish the song (17 minutes and 12 seconds later) Bruce or Clapton tell the crowd that they enjoy getting warmed up. That’s one hell of a warm up! They didn’t finish there though as the second song, a great version of the Howlin’ Wolf song Spoonful, clocks in at 17 minutes and 32 seconds. That’s over half an hour for just two songs. Incredible!

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