Yesterday’s piece about London’s Chalk Farm Studios omitted the fact that this recording facility had actually begun life as Rayrik Sound – established in 1964 by Bruce “Ray” Rae and Caro “Rick” Minas. And although Eric Clapton & Cream’s debut album had been recorded at Rayrik two years later, the studio would be close its doors in 1968, only to re-open that same year as Chalk Farm.
Rick Minas, who had begun his musical career as part of a songwriting partnership with Mike Banwell, would strike out in the mid-60s for a solo career. Minas – using the alias, Sasha Caro – would release a pair of singles in 1967 and 1968 that found none other than Cat (“I’m Gonna Get Me a Gun“) Stevens sitting in the producer’s chair. In a cheeky move, Caro would select (ironically perhaps) “Never Play a B-Side” for the second single’s B-Side — summon the courage to play it, if you dare:
Rick ‘Sasha Caro’ Minas “Never Play a B-Side” 1968
Cream’s Inaugural Single: Doo-Doo
American audiences are largely unaware that Cream’s UK debut single – recorded at the Chalk Farm sessions – would be excluded from their 1st album (except in Sweden, oddly). “Wrapping Paper” would be the A-side of their first 45 released in the UK, Germany, and Australia. Ginger Baker, in a 2007 interview, would denounce “Wrapping Paper” as “the most appalling piece of [poo] I’ve ever heard in my life!” and express more than a little frustration that the song was merely a vehicle to generate publishing royalties for the emerging songwriting “club” of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown.
Rare [mimed] Performance of “Wrapping Paper” 1966 French TV
[Is Jack Bruce playing a 6-string bass during this televised performance?]
45Cat contributor, BiffBamPow, would hilariously describe “Wrapping Paper” as “the most ridiculous debut single by anybody” and point out that B-side “Cat’s Squirrel” is much more representative of the band’s sound.