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© Art Kane, 1968
Cream was a new kind of blues band. British of course, but putting their unique stamp on a classic American musical idiom, the blues. And where else to shoot a blues band than traveling, on the mythical rails of American music lore. Art Kane carefully scouted a westward bound railroad track in Chadds Ford, PA, a rural area outside of Philadelphia where Cream was performing.
Photographed for Life Magazine’s "The New Rock” photo essay in April 1968, Kane brought the band out to the location in the late afternoon, in time for a perfect sunset at the apex of the tracks. During the shoot, drummer Ginger Baker, elated at news that morning of the birth of his son in the UK, repeatedly leapt up whooping with joy and rolling down the embankment into the bramble bushes, necessitating Kane’s assistant to wipe him off.
Later, grabbing a bite at a diner in a small country town, Baker was incensed at some local firemen who were laughing and pointing at them. Marching up to them and getting in their grills he exclaimed; “What are you laughing at? Haven’t you ever seen an Englishman before? Look at you in your silly hats!”