When you get a good side one of Goodbye you’ll hear exactly why we are calling it one of the Best Sounding Live Rock Albums of all time.
Goodbye has the Big Rock Sound that we go crazy for here at Better Records. The top copies just plain ROCK HARDER than all the others. Yes, they’re bigger. Yes, they have more weight and whomp down low. Yes, they are smoother and more natural up top. But what really sets them apart is the tremendous Energy they contain in their grooves. The music EXPLODES out of the speakers and comes to life on the best copies like practically nothing you have ever heard.
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When we find that kind of power and energy on a record, all other things being equal, we know what to call it: White Hot.
It’s clearly one of Bill Halverson‘s Engineering Triumphs, along with Deja Vu and Steve Stills’ first album (now that’s a trio!). Live Rock Music on record just does not sound better than a White Hot Stamper side one of Goodbye.
When it’s all working, you’re front and center for a fiery Cream concert with these guys delivering one heckuva performance. And where else are you gonna get that these days?
What To Listen For (WTLF)
Side one has two extended songs, with Politician being the standout sonically. It’s got the Big Live Rock sound, very spacious and transparent. The first track, I’m So Glad, is always a bit midrangey.
Badge is a great test for side two. If Clapton’s Leslie-speaker-processed-guitar solo is blasting away right in your listening room and approximately the size of your house, then you have a good copy!
We’ve heard scores of the Cream albums over the last twenty or so years that we’ve been doing our Hot Stamper thing, and it’s clear to us now that their two best recordings are bookends: the first album and the last album, Goodbye.
Don’t get us wrong, there are certainly excellent pressings of Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire, but neither of those two albums at their best can compete with Fresh Cream and Goodbye at their best.
A Big Speaker Record
Let’s face it, this is a BIG SPEAKER recording. It requires a pair of speakers that can move air with authority below 250 cycles and play at loud levels. If you don’t own speakers that can do that, this record will never really sound the way it should.
It demands to be played LOUD. It simply cannot come to life the way the producers, engineers and artists involved intended if you play it at moderate levels.
This is also the kind of recording that caused me to pursue Big Systems driving Big Dynamic Speakers. You need a lot of piston area to bring the dynamics of this recording to life, and to get the size of all the instruments to match their real life counterparts.
For that you need big speakers in big cabinets, the kind I’ve been listening to for more than forty years. (My last small speaker was given the boot around 1974 or so.) To tell you the truth, the Big Sound is the only sound that I can enjoy. Anything less is just not for me.
I’m So Glad [Live]
Sitting on Top of the World [Live]
Doing That Scrapyard Thing
What a Bringdown
After a mere three albums in just under three years, Cream called it quits in 1969. Being proper gentlemen, they said their formal goodbyes with a tour and a farewell album called — what else? — Goodbye. As a slim, six-song single LP, it’s far shorter than the rambling, out-of-control Wheels of Fire, but it boasts the same structure, evenly dividing its time between tracks cut on-stage and in the studio. While the live side contains nothing as indelible as “Crossroads,” the live music on the whole is better than that on Wheels of Fire, capturing the trio at an empathetic peak as a band. It’s hard, heavy rock, with Cream digging deep into their original “Politician” with the same intensity as they do on “Sitting on Top of the World,” but it’s the rampaging “I’m So Glad” that illustrates how far they’ve come; compare it to the original studio version on Fresh Cream and it’s easy to see just how much further they’re stretching their improvisation.
The studio side also finds them at something of a peak. Boasting a song apiece from each member, it opens with the majestic classic “Badge,” co-written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison and ranking among both of their best work. It’s followed by Jack Bruce’s “Doing That Scrapyard Thing,” an overstuffed near-masterpiece filled with wonderful, imaginative eccentricities, and finally, there’s Ginger Baker’s tense, dramatic “What a Bringdown,” easily the best original he contributed to the group. Like all of Cream’s albums outside Disraeli Gears, Goodbye is an album of moments, not a tight cohesive work, but those moments are all quite strong on their own terms, making this a good and appropriate final bow.