Photos by Louise Uznanski and Richard Uznanski for OnTapBlog
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“Drivin’ in my car,
Smokin’ my cigar,
The only time I’m happy’s
When I play my guitar”……………N.S.U. by Jack Bruce
When Malcolm Bruce, the son of legendary Cream bass player Jack Bruce, opens the Sons of Cream concert at the Levoy Theater by asking if there is a doctor in the house, you start to suspect that you are in for a quirky evening. Breaking into the song N.S.U., the Sons of Cream guitarist Godfrey Townsend utters into the mic that he heard N.S.U. was about urinary disease. Asking for a house doctor, Mr. Bruce didn’t expect one to be in the audience let alone one who could provide a disease that fit the letters NSU. The drummer, Kofi Baker, son of Cream drummer Ginger Baker stayed out of the conversation begging off because his father was probably in on the joke. Going back and forth until Mr. Bruce found the proper disease was humorous and enlightening and not only for those who are medical professionals. And don’t ask about the background for Pressed Rat and Warthog. That’s a real secret.
If you were in to rock music and in your late high school years or an early year in college, you probably would know what N.S.U. meant. I have to admit I did not know the meaning. My partner that evening knew why the title is about a rotary car made in Germany and not a disease since he was inclined to wear out the vinyl on the Cream albums as soon as they hit the music scene. From the song’s lyrics ‘driving in my car, smokin’ my cigar, the only time I’m happy’s when I play my guitar’ leads my partner to think it has always been about a car. We will have to just leave it to the reader’s mind to decipher. The legendary ‘slow hand’, Eric Clapton, was the guitarist in the band called Cream and along with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce, their collaboration changed rock music in the 60′s. Together only three years, the three rock gods were influential in their respective instruments like no other musicians of that era. Those influences live on in the rock bands formed around the world and in the musical performances of the Sons of Cream.
Sons of Cream is composed of bassist Jack Bruce’s son Malcolm and drummer Ginger Baker’s son Kofi. Godfrey Townsend, in for Eric Clapton, is not the son of The Who’s Pete Townsend. I asked. He is a guitarist worthy of the title ‘son’ to Eric Clapton although he would have had to be born when Eric was a child. Bracing ourselves for the ‘Clapton’ solos on Crossroads and Sunshine of Your Love, we found that they were dead on. Bang. He hit it out of the park. My aforementioned partner knows every note. Turning to me after the Crossroads solo, it was a thumbs up all the way. Every note played. No misses.
Kofi Baker has a 15 minute solo during the song Toad. That 15 minutes was worthy of a concert unto itself. Mr. Bruce and Mr. Townsend relinquished the stage at the start of Mr. Baker’s solo. At this point in the show they usually go backstage and according to them they go there to watch the Star Wars Trilogy or Gone with the Wind or both, they joked as they both walked off the stage.
The setlist was familiar territory to the audience who was made up of men with less hair and women with a few more facial lines then they had when they first heard these tunes. But, the young ones in the audience used their iPhones to tape the drum solo and the songs infused with smoke and lights. If they could not see the real Cream, Sons of Cream brought them back to a time when every teenage boy wanted to be in a band and be just like Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce.
NSU, Politician, Badge (partial), Deserted Cities, We’re Going Wrong, I’m So Glad, Pressed Rat and Warthog, Crossroads, Toad, Sleepy Time Time, White Room, Sunshine of Your Love.
Additional photos from Levoy Theater Facebook page.