CREAM – Fresh Cream Deluxe Edition (3CD + blu-ray audio / out 27 January 2017via Universal Music Group)

CREAM – Fresh Cream Deluxe Edition (3CD + blu-ray audio / out 27 January 2017via Universal Music Group)

British trio and supergroup Cream formed in the mid 60s by guitarist / vocalist Eric Clapton, bassist / vocalist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker, and are one of the most important bands in the history of rock music, whichever side of the Atlantic you look at it. With tracks like ‘Strange Brew’, ‘I Feel Free’, ‘White Room’, ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ and ‘Badge’, Cream have more staples than, well, Staples. Three virtuoso legends who would quite literally thrash it out, reshaping the British Blues Boom in a very metal fashion.

At the height of the British Blues Boom, the three came together with a fair amount of pedigree (a CV taking in The Yardbirds, Graham Bond and Alexis Korner) probably making Cream the first genuine supergroup. They also set a template for the Power Trio band format, with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Nice following in their immediate wake. And, unlike many of their contemporaries, it was as much about technical ability as it was power. The band were productive in their short yet equally tempestuous caree. Baker had already gone at Bruce with a knife in a previous band and their onstage battles now infamous.

This 50th anniversary edition of the band’s legendary debut expands the release to include both mono and stereo versions, with bonus tracks that also include non-album singles that had appeared on the original US LP’s alternate track listing.

The band’s roots can be traced to 1958 when drummer Baker recorded with The Storyville Jazz Men. In 1963 he recorded with Alexis Korner Blues Incorporated before recording three albums with Graham Bond Organisation. With both artists Baker’s path crossed that of Jack Bruce, whose hostility towards each other became infamous; Baker once fired Brice from the latter and chased him away at knifepoint when Bruce continued to show. Upon leaving, Bruce released a solo single and joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, where he worked with Eric Clapton, who had found fame with The Yardbirds, before joining Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. A brief venture with Powerhouse saw Bruce work alongside Clapton again as well as Steve Winwood and Pete York.

Cream formed in 1966, making their debut in July 1966, and soon after jamming with Jimi Hendrix who had recently arrived in London. Building on their original material, the set still included some blues standards.

With Jack Bruce handling most of the lead vocals, the album opens with the classic ‘NSU’, a pounding drum and solid vocal harmonies over some proto hard rock; when Cream turned it up to eleven you certainly knew about it. A far cry from Clapton’s later years, the guitar has a real edge and is almost abrasive in places. In contrast, the mellower ‘Sleepy Time Time’ is much more bluesy, more akin to the Bluesbreakers’ and Yardbirds’ roots.

A standout is the cover of Willie Dixon’s ‘Spoonful’, a dirty blues number and the kind of cover that the three individual members had honed their playing on. Equally the cover of Robert Johnson’s ‘Four Until Late’ showcases the three of them well. Morganfield’s ‘Rollin’ And Tumblin’’ is a harmonica laden blast, very upfront with the jazzy percussion taking a back seat.

 

With touches of psychedelic and acid rock and Bruce and Baker both injecting a little jazz into the blues, this album is at the forefront of the burgeoning British rock scene. It took both the British Invasion and the Blues Boom by the throat and created a new template.

Amongst the plethora of bonuses is the non-album single ‘I Feel Free’, which mixes blues rock and psychedelic pop. It was the first track Cream recorded and became a hit. It was also added to the US album’s track listing, and the single released around the same time as the original LP. The track has been much covered and Jack Bruce would later record it in the 80s, that version was used for an advertising campaign and would be his only big solo hit.

If you’re wondering why both stereo and mono versions are put together here, there’s a lot more to the mix than just separation of channels. Add alternate versions, non-album tracks (including French EPs). Sonically this is everything you’d ever want or need for this rocking and template setting album.

 

The band continued until 1969, tempestuously, split, and have reformed twice (Bakar and Bruce also forming a trio with Gary Moore). All three (most notably Eric Clapton) have had successful careers in their own rights. Jack Bruce sadly died of liver disease in October 2014, aged 71.

A fitting presentation of this fantastic album. 8/10

Joe Geesin

 

Image result for cream - fresh cream deluxe edition

 

CREAM were

Ginger Baker – drums

Eric Clapton – guitars, vocals

Jack Bruce – bass, vocals

Image result for cream - fresh cream deluxe edition

Disc One:

FRESH CREAM Mono Album

1. N.S.U.

2. SLEEPY TIME TIME

3. DREAMING

4. SWEET WINE

5. SPOONFUL

6. CAT’S SQUIRREL

7. FOUR UNTIL LATE

8. ROLLIN’ AND TUMBLIN’

9. I’M SO GLAD

10. TOAD

Session recording – mono mix:

11. THE COFFEE SONG

The Mono Single

12. WRAPPING PAPER

13. CAT’S SQUIRREL

A-side & B-side of Cream’s 1st UK single, Reaction 591007, released 7 October 1966.

14. I FEEL FREE

15. N.S.U

A-side & B-side of Cream’s 2nd UK single, Reaction 591011, released 9 December 1966.

16. SPOONFUL Part I

17. SPOONFUL Part II

A-side & B-side of Cream’s 3rd US single, ATCO 45-6522, released September 1967.

The Mono French EPs:

18. WRAPPING PAPER alternate mix

19. SWEET WINE alternate mix

20. I’M SO GLAD

21. CAT’S SQUIRREL alternate master

FRENCH EP, Polydor 27 791, released November 1966.

22. I FEEL FREE alternate mix

23. ROLLIN’ AND TUMBLIN’ alternate master

24. N.S.U.

25. FOUR UNTIL LATE

FRENCH EP, Polydor 27 798, released November 1966.

Disc Two:

FRESH CREAM Stereo Album

1. N.S.U.

2. SLEEPY TIME TIME

3. DREAMING

4. SWEET WINE

5. SPOONFUL

6. CAT’S SQUIRREL

7. FOUR UNTIL LATE

8. ROLLIN’ AND TUMBLIN’

9. I’M SO GLAD

10. TOAD

Session recordings – stereo mixes:

11. I FEEL FREE

12. WRAPPING PAPER

13. THE COFFEE SONG

New stereo mixes:

14. I’M SO GLAD (NEW STEREO MIX)

15. N.S.U. (NEW STEREO MIX)

16. WRAPPING PAPER (NEW STEREO MIX)

17. THE COFFEE SONG (NEW STEREO MIX)

18. ROLLIN’ AND TUMBLIN’ (FIRST VERSION – NEW STEREO MIX)

19. SPOONFUL (FIRST VERSION – NEW STEREO MIX)

20. TOAD (NEW STEREO MIX)

All new stereo mixes previously unreleased.

Disc Three:

FRESH CREAM Early versions, outtakes and alternate mixes:

1. THE COFFEE SONG early version

2. YOU MAKE ME FEEL session outtake

3. BEAUTY QUEEN session outtake

4. WRAPPING PAPER early version

5. CAT’S SQUIRREL early version

6. I FEEL FREE early version

7. I FEEL FREE mono mix with no lead vocal

8. I FEEL FREE alternate mono mix

9. SWEET WINE early version

10. ROLLIN’ AND TUMBLIN’ early version

11. TOAD early version

All tracks previously unreleased except “You Make Me Feel” which was first released

on the box set Those Where The Days, Polydor 314 539 000-2, in September 1997.

THE BBC SESSIONS (November 1966 – January 1967):

BBC Light Programme “Saturday Club” session

Recorded at the Playhouse Theatre, London, 8th November 1966:

12. SWEET WINE

13 ERIC CLAPTON INTERVIEW

14. WRAPPING PAPER

15. ROLLIN’ AND TUMBLIN’

16. SLEEPY TIME TIME  previously unreleased

17. STEPPIN’ OUT

BBC Home Service “Guitar Club” session

Recorded at BBC Studio 2, Aeolian Hall, London, 28th November 1966:

18. CROSSROADS

19. STEPPIN’ OUT  previously unreleased

BBC World Service “R & B Club” session

Recorded at BBC Maida Vale Studio 4, London, 9th December 1966:

20. CAT’S SQUIRREL

21. TRAINTIME

22. I’M SO GLAD

23. LAWDY MAMA

BBC Light Programme “Saturday Club” session

Recorded at the Playhouse Theatre, London, 10th January 1967:

24. ERIC CLAPTON INTERVIEW 2

25. I FEEL FREE

26. N.S.U.

27. FOUR UNTIL LATE

Disc Four (Blu-Ray Audio Disc)

FRESH CREAM US Stereo Album in 24/96 Hi Resolution Audio:

1 I FEEL FREE

2. N.S.U.

3. SLEEPY TIME TIME

4. DREAMING

5. SWEET WINE

6. CAT’S SQUIRREL

7. FOUR UNTIL LATE

8. ROLLIN’ AND TUMBLIN’

9. I’M SO GLAD

10. TOAD

Stereo bonus tracks:

11. SPOONFUL

12 WRAPPING PAPER

13 THE COFFEE SONG

FRESH CREAM US Mono Album in 24/96 Hi Resolution Audio:

14. I FEEL FREE

15. N.S.U.

16. SLEEPY TIME TIME

17. DREAMING

18. SWEET WINE

19. CAT’S SQUIRREL

20. FOUR UNTIL LATE

21. ROLLIN’ AND TUMBLIN’

22. I’M SO GLAD

23. TOAD

Mono bonus tracks:

24. SPOONFUL

25 WRAPPING PAPER

26 THE COFFEE SONG

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CREAM – Fresh Cream Deluxe Edition (3CD + blu-ray audio / out 27 January 2017via Universal Music Group)