Music Throwback Saturday: Theme from an Imaginary Western

Theme from an Imaginary Westerns was never recorded by Cream because Eric Clapton is said to have hated it.

mountain climbingI started getting reinvested in Disraeli Gears, the classic second LP by the group called Cream, when I came across this 48-minute video on the making of the album from 2012 a few months ago. It includes interviews with the band members Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and the late Jack Bruce.

Clapton talks about how the album’s producer Felix Pappalardi took him to a New York City music shop to buy his first wah wah pedal in April of 1967, which he then played on Tales of Brave Ulysses. Felix was like a fourth member of the band.

Subsequently, Pappalardi produced an album by guitarist Leslie West titled Mountain. Then Pappalardi and West formed a band called Mountain, described by Rolling Stone magazine as a “louder version of Cream.” The band’s best-known song was probably Mississippi Queen [LISTEN].

Another song from that 1970 album Climbing! was Theme for an Imaginary Western, written by the aforementioned Jack Bruce, and Pete Brown. The song was never recorded by Cream because Eric Clapton is said to have hated it.

Some of the LYRICS:

When the wagons leave the city
For the forest and further on
Painted wagon of the morning
Dusty roads where they have gone

Sometimes travelin’ through the darkness
At the summer comin’ home
Foreign faces by the wayside
Look as if they hadn’t known

All the sand was in their eyes
And the desert that’s dry
In the country town
Where the life was found

When Pappalardi, who died in 1983, left Mountain, West and Bruce were in various groups together over the years.

LISTEN to various versions of Theme for an Imaginary Western, a/k/a Theme from an Imaginary Western:

Jack Bruce, Songs for a Tailor album, 1969, produced by Felix Pappalardi.

Mountain, at Woodstock, 1969, Felix Pappalardi on vocal; it’s on the Woodstock 2 album that was released in 1971.
Mountain, 1970, Felix Pappalardi on vocal. This is the first version I heard.

Leslie West’s Theme album, with Jack Bruce on vocals, 1988.

Jack Bruce on piano, n.d.

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