Eric is one of the reasons I learned to play the guitar. Yet with all I know and all that I've heard from other blues guitarists, Eric Clapton is one of if not the best. No one to this day can bend a note like he could. Jack Bruce is another Bass player/ composer that over the years is under played in the media. His powerful vocals and driving Bass lines are awesome with adding that touch of the truly creative artistry. Ginger Baker was a madman on drums. Not many know it but there was a lot of discord between Jack and Ginger in the early days. Ginger actually was fond of Jazz and you can hear that independence in a lot of live jams. I'm a novice drum myself and I can appreciate his rhythms and speed. My advice is Buy It, if you like Blues rock, this is it baby!
Initially, I set out to replace my old copy of Strange Brew: The Best of Cream. But after seeing as how this has everything that comp has plus more at a lower price PLUS being remastered, I quickly abandoned that intention and bought this. And I'm glad I did. Sound quality is miles better, and every song on here is killer. But of course: it's Cream. However, I can't argue with the tracks chosen herein. And the booklet provides some very entertaining commentary, which Strange Brew completely lacks.
More dedicated fans of 60s heavy blues and psychedelic rock might be more pleased with a two-disk comp like Gold or even to purchase all four remastered studio albums and the live sets, but for a more casual fan like myself, this is perfect.
Classic British psychedelica - which clearly indicates that some of the lesser known (but still important Cream milestones) are also included. The heavy hitters are also included and the liner notes are interesting. This is a history lesson. I enjoy listening to this era, because I remember this era. Cream may have been groundbreaking, but other outfits were also in contention (i.e. Hendrix, Doors, Stones, Beatles) so the the competition was stiff. That said, one has to realize that this music was introduced during a period when recording engineering was really just coming out of its infancy (when compared to the tools in use today). So, some of the tracks (the early ones) have a cheesy sound. Beatle records of this same period had a much better sound quality due to the fact that the Beatles (corp) was dumping a lot of money into state of the art equipment on which to record... Sgt Peppers was recorded on what... 4 or 8 tracks and THAT was a HUGE step forward technologically. All in all this is a good compilation/retrospect that documents Cream. In that regard it has value. I guess one could say, it's a groovy record... and it did take me back... I started thinking about other groups like Vanilla Fudge, Big Brother, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Moby Grape, and was wondering if it all sound this dated (and yes it did!) oh there were some groups which weighed in heavy, groundbreaking, perhaps the Experience (Hendrix), Cream, Doors but British psychedelica was different than the American version, in some respects a little tamer with only a few exceptions (Hendrix and Cream), the rest of the British scene were hold over "invasion" bands --gettin' heavy-- back then it didn't seem that way, but in retrospect that's what the musical legacy has left the listener with. It was another time, pop bands got groovy and a few newcomers came onto their own or evolved into different groups with much more to say. You have to appreciate that when giving this a listen.
On this one, I was torn between three and four stars. There were the ones I remembered from back in the day that I still love. There were some that I don't remember, and I sort of feel like I can see why; they weren't really something to stand out in a positive way. They were pretty decent 60's British blues, but that stands out about like a big-hair, heavy metal band in the 80's. Tunes like "Sunshine of your Love," "Crossroads," and "White Room" will always be classics to me, but some of the others are just as a curiosity to me.
I loved the band Cream in the late 60s. But I had forgotten just what made their sound so identifiable and appealing: the virtuoso guitar work of Eric Clapton and the drum work of Ginger Baker.
Their best songs are here, and for anyone who knew them then, it's an immediate turn-back to what the late 60s felt like. For me that was a ride into nostalgia. Don't know if younger listeners will be able to identify as much w the tripped-out dynamics of songs like "Strange Brew," but it's worth the experience to try it.