Lyrics: "Cream" articles |
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“Cream” articles

In the early 1970s I wrote a set of articles for the glossy yet obscure, lively yet doomed semi-monthly magazine Cream. It was the kind of publication that never solves the problem of transferring the bulk of its stock from the editor’s garage into the hands of the public, but the general shiftiness of its managerial ambience favoured an insouciant approach from its contributors. What did it matter how you said it, if nobody was listening? I’m afraid I rather overdid the privileges traditionally associated with that approach, and when writing about those rock lyricists whom I regarded as considerable I signalled their putative importance with my elevated tone, occasionally — more than occasionally — sounding as if I was up on stilts. From that angle I never wrote worse, but I was consumed by the subject. Perhaps the passion got through to the tiny readership. Nothing ever meant more to me — it still doesn’t — than my participation in popular music, and there was a whole attitude behind my lyric writing that I was burning to see registered in print. The written evidence might have attracted more attention had I spray-painted it on the side of a bus depot at dead of night, but some of the future Midnight Voices must have noticed what I was up to, because thirty years later the articles began to crop up again on the Pete Atkin website. I give links to a few of them here. There were more, but their resurrection might have to wait until the day when I go through my papers — I mean the real papers, the papers under the papers, the original city of Troy that every writer has in the house somewhere, darkly containing his early thoughts like one of those archaeological trenches full of shards. It could be said that the stuff is best forgotten: and then you remember the urgency with which you wrote it, hammering every word into the ramshackle typewriter as if you were composing a visa application for Parnassus.

Articles for Cream:

The Highway is for Gamblers (on lyrics in Rock)
Robbie Robertson — in the Shadow of The Band
Bob Dylan — Bringing Some of it all Back Home
Randy Newman — The Hoarse Foreman of the Apocalypse
The Beatles — A Cavern in Arcadia
John Sebastian — Tie-dyed in Gaza
Van Morrison — Hard Nose the Highway

For Let It Rock:

In a Lonely Moment (Sandy Denny)

For Ink:

Almost Cut My Throat (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young)
Rainy Day Woman (Joni Mitchell)