Friday, May 30, 2014

1000 SONGS - DAY 316 SONG # 347

DAY  315: A Song that has been covered before its first release
"Theme for an Imaginary Western" - often falsely rendered as "Theme from an Imaginary Western" - is a song by Jack Bruce that had first been played before a public audience at the Woodstock Festival (I stay with that...) by Mountain, a few weeks before Jack Bruce's first solo-album "Songs for a Tailor" on which it is featured as track #2 was released. Roughly a year after the breakup of the "supergroup" Cream, Jack Bruce - to me still the one outstanding musician that was part of this band - released his first solo-album. Rumour has it, that "Theme" was originally offered by Bruce to Cream, but Eric Clapton did not have the right feeling, so Bruce gave the song to Leslie West, guitarist of Mountain. I could not find any evidence supporting that story, but I found rather nice words by Old Slowhand on that one in an interview with UNCUT:
"Jack has always had the most beautiful melodies. That man’s solo albums after Cream were amazing, too. Songs For A Tailor – what great writing that was, with stuff like 'Theme For An Imaginary Western'. Just fantastic."
For the whole interview, klick HERE; will give some impression of what Cream really was about. Back to the Leslie West story, I think that it must have been Felix Pappalardi (bass player with Mountain, producer  of Cream) who took the song with him to Woodstock. Be that as it may, the song's lyrics are by Pete Brown, who also wrote the lyrics for those hits by Cream that Jack Bruce wrote the music to, like "Sunshine of Your Love" or "White Room" (btw, "Strange Brew" was written by Clapton, Pappalardi and his wife GAIL COLLINS who allegedly shot him later on). The song has been covered by many an artist or band. There are 3 versions featured here: The original by Jack Bruce (with Jon Hiseman on drums), the studio-version from Mountain's  debut LP "Climbing" and a nice version done by Jack Bruce and Leslie West. Listen to the guitar on the rendering by Mountain (Leslie comes in at 2:48) and don't say, Clapton could have done it - at least he hasn't.  I also think, that Pappalardi does better vocals than Bruce.

When the wagons leave the city
For the forest and further on
Painted wagons of the morning
Dusty roads where they have gone
Sometimes travelling through the darkness
Met the summer coming home
Fallen faces by the wayside
Looked as if they might have known

O the sun was in their eyes
And the desert that dries
In the country town
Where the laughter sounds

O the dancing and the singing
O the music when they played
O the fires that they started
O the girls with no regret
Sometimes they found it
Sometimes they kept it
Often lost it on the way
Fought each other to possess it
Sometimes died in sight of day

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