Last Albums: Cream - Goodbye (1969)

Cream was another victim of the infighting and creative differences that frequently plague and bring an end to many renowned bands, yet Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker managed to go out the way they began - by playing virtuosic rock that is still listenable today.

Cream's last record, Goodbye, is brief by their standards. It clocks in at just over thirty minutes and to their credit it lacks the excessively long jams that were the trio's specialty and sometimes their Achilles heal. There are no side-long, fifteen minute drum solos, like Baker's "Toad," that will either bore or annoy you.

The three live tracks from side one show the group to be at their blues-rock best with all three of them playing stupendous stuff. Clapton is his usual God-like self, but the real star is Bruce whose bass work is so dazzling that he proves to be more than a supporting player. On the 9:12, live take of "I'm So Glad" he's in the forefront as much as Clapton and their interplay during the instrumental mid-section rocks hard. Unfortunately, the other two live tracks, "Politician" and "Sitting On Top Of The World" suffer from muffled production, but even on those songs you can hear how good these players are together and how much Bruce contributes, especially in a live setting.

The studio tracks on side two are quite different. For the most part Cream sheds their blues-rock personality for songs that remind the listener of poppier British Invasion bands.

To close out the record each member was instructed to bring one song into the studio. The best one is "Badge," the Beatlesque, Clapton - George Harrison cowrite that secured its deserved spot on classic rock radio a long time ago. Bruce's "Doing That Scrapyard Thing" is hindered by his forced, campy lead vocal that is too cute for it's own good. Much better is Ginger Baker's "What A Bringdown." It's a real rocker that exists outside the power trio format that Cream helped make famous and includes Bruce playing keyboards.

The CD version of the album adds "Anyone For Tennis," a Clapton, acoustic track that was originally released as a non-album single and in the 1968 film, The Savage Seven.

Goodbye is the only Cream LP to use outside musicians. Producer Felix Pappalardi contributes keyboards on three tracks and Harrison (billed as L'Angelo Misterioso in the liner notes) plays rhythm guitar on "Badge."

Goodbye is uneven, but it's worth hearing if you're a fan of the band.


In the majority of cases recording artists' most revered and famous albums are made early in their careers. However, because there are also some noteworthy final records out there it's time to discuss some of the really good ones. To qualify as a "last album" the songs must have been recorded as new material that was intended to be released to the public as a complete set but not necessarily the last one.