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Rock - Verschenen op 1 november 1967 | Polydor Records

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Cream teamed up with producer Felix Pappalardi for their second album, Disraeli Gears, a move that helped push the power trio toward psychedelia and also helped give the album a thematic coherence missing from the debut. This, of course, means that Cream get further away from the pure blues improvisatory troupe they were intended to be, but it does get them to be who they truly are: a massive, innovative power trio. The blues still courses throughout Disraeli Gears -- the swirling kaleidoscopic "Strange Brew" is built upon a riff lifted from Albert King -- but it's filtered into saturated colors, as it is on "Sunshine of Your Love," or it's slowed down and blurred out, as it is on the ominous murk of "Tales of Brave Ulysses." It's a pure psychedelic move that's spurred along by Jack Bruce's flourishing collaboration with Pete Brown. Together, this pair steers the album away from recycled blues-rock and toward its eccentric British core, for with the fuzzy freakout "Swlabr," the music hall flourishes of "Dance the Night Away," the swinging "Take It Back," and of course, the old music hall song "Mother's Lament," this is a very British record. Even so, this crossed the ocean and also became a major hit in America, because regardless of how whimsical certain segments are, Cream are still a heavy rock trio and Disraeli Gears is a quintessential heavy rock album of the '60s. Yes, its psychedelic trappings tie it forever to 1967, but the imagination of the arrangements, the strength of the compositions, and especially the force of the musicianship make this album transcend its time as well. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Verschenen op 1 augustus 1968 | Polydor Records

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Verschenen op 9 december 1966 | Polydor Records

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Fresh Cream represents so many different firsts, it's difficult to keep count. Cream, of course, was the first supergroup, but their first album not only gave birth to the power trio, it also was instrumental in the birth of heavy metal and the birth of jam rock. That's a lot of weight for one record and, like a lot of pioneering records, Fresh Cream doesn't seem quite as mighty as what would come later, both from the group and its acolytes. In retrospect, the moments on the LP that are a bit unformed -- in particular, the halting waltz of "Dreaming" never achieves the sweet ethereal atmosphere it aspires to -- stand out more than the innovations, which have been so thoroughly assimilated into the vocabulary of rock & roll, but Fresh Cream was a remarkable shift forward in rock upon its 1966 release and it remains quite potent. Certainly at this early stage the trio was still grounded heavily in blues, only fitting given guitarist Eric Clapton's stint in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, which is where he first played with bassist Jack Bruce, but Cream never had the purist bent of Mayall, and not just because they dabbled heavily in psychedelia. The rhythm section of Bruce and Ginger Baker had a distinct jazzy bent to their beat; this isn't hard and pure, it's spongy and elastic, giving the musicians plenty of room to roam. This fluidity is most apparent on the blues covers that take up nearly half the record, especially on "Spoonful," where the swirling instrumental interplay, echo, fuzz tones, and overwhelming volume constitute true psychedelic music, and also points strongly toward the guitar worship of heavy metal. Almost all the second side of Fresh Cream is devoted to this, closing with Baker's showcase "Toad," but for as hard and restless as this half of the album is, there is some lightness on the first portion of the record where Bruce reveals himself as an inventive psychedelic pop songwriter with the tense, colorful "N.S.U." and the hook- and harmony-laden "I Feel Free." Cream shows as much force and mastery on these tighter, poppier tunes as they do on the free-flowing jams, yet they show a clear bias toward the long-form blues numbers, which makes sense: they formed to be able to pursue this freedom, which they do so without restraint. If at times that does make the album indulgent or lopsided, this is nevertheless where Cream was feeling their way forward, creating their heavy psychedelic jazz-blues and, in the process, opening the door to all kinds of serious rock music that may have happened without Fresh Cream, but it just would not have happened in the same fashion as it did with this record as precedent. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Verschenen op 1 januari 1969 | Polydor Records

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After a mere three albums in just under three years, Cream called it quits in 1969. Being proper gentlemen, they said their formal goodbyes with a tour and a farewell album called -- what else? -- Goodbye. As a slim, six-song single LP, it's far shorter than the rambling, out-of-control Wheels of Fire, but it boasts the same structure, evenly dividing its time between tracks cut on-stage and in the studio. While the live side contains nothing as indelible as "Crossroads," the live music on the whole is better than that on Wheels of Fire, capturing the trio at an empathetic peak as a band. It's hard, heavy rock, with Cream digging deep into their original "Politician" with the same intensity as they do on "Sitting on Top of the World," but it's the rampaging "I'm So Glad" that illustrates how far they've come; compare it to the original studio version on Fresh Cream and it's easy to see just how much further they're stretching their improvisation. The studio side also finds them at something of a peak. Boasting a song apiece from each member, it opens with the majestic classic "Badge," co-written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison and ranking among both of their best work. It's followed by Jack Bruce's "Doing That Scrapyard Thing," an overstuffed near-masterpiece filled with wonderful, imaginative eccentricities, and finally, there's Ginger Baker's tense, dramatic "What a Bringdown," easily the best original he contributed to the group. Like all of Cream's albums outside Disraeli Gears, Goodbye is an album of moments, not a tight cohesive work, but those moments are all quite strong on their own terms, making this a good and appropriate final bow. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Verschenen op 30 september 2005 | Reprise

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Rock - Verschenen op 1 januari 1995 | Polydor Records

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Rock - Verschenen op 6 maart 2020 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - Verschenen op 1 april 1970 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Cream was a band born to the stage, a fact that the band and their record label realized the public fully understood by the number one U.S. chart placement for Wheels of Fire, with its entire live disc, and the number two chart peak for Goodbye, the posthumous release that was dominated by concert recordings. And in response to those success, we got Live Cream, Vol. 1 (originally known simply as Live Cream) in the spring of 1970, nearly 18 months after the trio's breakup. This could well be their most consistently brilliant album for sheer musicianship, though it is also a peculiar one on a couple of counts, some of which probably prevented it from reaching quite as wide an audience as it might have otherwise. Released in April 1970 and derived from tapes made at three May 1968 California shows, all of the live tracks here consist of songs originally featured on the group's least ambitious and most rudimentary album, Fresh Cream, dating from 1966 -- and as it happens, there's not a hit represented among the five songs, a fact that probably made this release seem more appealing to hardcore fans than to casual and curious listeners (who didn't know what they were missing). The performances here show how far the group had come in the nearly two years since laying down the studio originals -- take side one of the original LP, where they stretch out their playing, as well as boost it to new levels of intensity, on "N.S.U." and "Sleepy Time Time," so that the renditions here are the definitive ones, and by themselves should have made this album an essential acquisition back in 1970. But that brings us to the original side two and the 15-minute rendition of "Sweet Wine," an excursion by all three players that is worth the quarter-hour time commitment of the listener. The live portion of the album ends with their searing, rollicking high energy rendition of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' and Tumblin'." And then, for reasons not clear -- except perhaps simply that it was there, in the vaults, and seemed like a valuable piece of property, which it was (and what else were they going to do with it?) -- the producers close Live Cream with a studio cut, "Lawdy Mama," an Eric Clapton-inspired take on a traditional tune that subsequently evolved into the hit "Strange Brew" during what became the Disraeli Gears sessions. It's not a match for everything we've heard, but in the spring of 1970 no one was exactly complaining over being handed a previously unissued studio track by the Cream, as a bonus to the concert performances here. As it turned out, there were more live tracks from some of these same shows to draw on in future releases and reissues, which would include a couple of the group's hits; but Live Cream offers the overall highest quality, both in terms of clarity and fidelity, and the performances, which, in addition to the essential great playing (better in some ways than what was heard on some of the much-vaunted live tracks from Wheels of Fire), include excellent vocalizing by Clapton and Jack Bruce. Not that vocalizing looms that large here -- the live tracks are all given extended jazz-based treatment, and the dialog among the three musicians as the jams develop is fascinating. Foreground and background seem to dissolve as all three musicians take charge, using the full range of their instruments. And where Bruce goes with his bass, especially on "Sweet Wine," is every bit as rewarding as the places that Clapton's guitar takes us; and Ginger Baker's playing is a trip all its own. Performances like this single-handedly raised the stakes of musicianship in rock. © Rob Bowman & Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Verschenen op 8 december 1972 | Polydor Records

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An oft-overlooked curio, Live Cream, Vol. 2 appeared at a very odd time, with very little warning, almost two years after its predecessor -- and at virtually the same time as the related (though not overlapping) History of Eric Clapton. And both showed up, not coincidentally, at a point when Clapton, unbeknownst to most of the public, was sidelined with a crippling heroin addiction -- this album helped keep him in the public eye, as a singer as well as a guitarist. On its face, Live Cream, Vol. 2 is a more ambitious album that its predecessor, offering more songs and including concert versions of two of the group's AM radio hits (as opposed to the album tracks that comprised the repertory on Live Cream, Vol. 1). And it is just about essential listening for anyone who wants to understand what Cream was about, which was live performance. Utilizing -- for the time -- state-of-the-art mobile recording equipment, it was a significant achievement at the time in capturing the genuine sound of a high-wattage power trio on-stage, playing away at full volume, and the overall sonic excellence here must surely be credited to engineers Tom Dowd and Bill Halverson. The feeling that you are in the front row is very much in evidence, and this is largely due to their ability to capture the band's live fury with clarity and intimacy, down to every nuance of Ginger Baker's playing. As for the performances, this record does capture the band at their peak, though perhaps not at the very best moments of that peak -- the group made their reputation as a live act with epic, lengthy jams that verged on jazz, but the repertory represented here (as opposed to that on Live Cream, Vol. 1) is more focused on their pop/rock efforts, such as "White Room," "Sunshine of Your Love," "Tales of Brave Ulysses," etc., which don't lend themselves as easily (or at all) to opening out in extended jams, in the manner of, say, "N.S.U." or "Sweet Wine," or the legendary "Spoonful"; additionally, numbers such as "Sunshine of Your Love" and, in particular, "White Room," require more vocal dexterity than Clapton and bassist/singer Jack Bruce could muster in this kind of concert setting -- their singing, especially on "White Room" comes close to breaking down ("Sunshine of Your Love" fares better), whereas their playing holds together, almost better than perfect at times. "Deserted Cities of the Heart" -- which opens the album -- comes off exceptionally well as a concert piece, the bass and guitar actually combining to overcome the absences of swooping cellos, acoustic guitars, and other accompanying instruments from the studio rendition. And there is one priceless example of Cream in a full-tilt jam, on the 13-plus-minute closing cut "Steppin' Out" -- the band's sheer energy overcomes what minor deficiencies there are in the overall sound quality. And coupled with the compact, four- to five-minute versions of "Deserted Cities of the Heart" and "Tales of Brave Ulysses," among others, the album is a vital, intense, and enjoyable listen that is ultimately rewarding. © Matthew Greenwald & Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Verschenen op 1 november 1967 | Polydor Records

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Cream teamed up with producer Felix Pappalardi for their second album, Disraeli Gears, a move that helped push the power trio toward psychedelia and also helped give the album a thematic coherence missing from the debut. This, of course, means that Cream get further away from the pure blues improvisatory troupe they were intended to be, but it does get them to be who they truly are: a massive, innovative power trio. The blues still courses throughout Disraeli Gears -- the swirling kaleidoscopic "Strange Brew" is built upon a riff lifted from Albert King -- but it's filtered into saturated colors, as it is on "Sunshine of Your Love," or it's slowed down and blurred out, as it is on the ominous murk of "Tales of Brave Ulysses." It's a pure psychedelic move that's spurred along by Jack Bruce's flourishing collaboration with Pete Brown. Together, this pair steers the album away from recycled blues-rock and toward its eccentric British core, for with the fuzzy freakout "Swlabr," the music hall flourishes of "Dance the Night Away," the swinging "Take It Back," and of course, the old music hall song "Mother's Lament," this is a very British record. Even so, this crossed the ocean and also became a major hit in America, because regardless of how whimsical certain segments are, Cream are still a heavy rock trio and Disraeli Gears is a quintessential heavy rock album of the '60s. Yes, its psychedelic trappings tie it forever to 1967, but the imagination of the arrangements, the strength of the compositions, and especially the force of the musicianship make this album transcend its time as well. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Verschenen op 28 september 2004 | Universal Records

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Rock - Verschenen op 1 augustus 1968 | Polydor Records

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Rock - Verschenen op 9 december 1966 | Polydor Records

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Fresh Cream represents so many different firsts, it's difficult to keep count. Cream, of course, was the first supergroup, but their first album not only gave birth to the power trio, it also was instrumental in the birth of heavy metal and the birth of jam rock. That's a lot of weight for one record and, like a lot of pioneering records, Fresh Cream doesn't seem quite as mighty as what would come later, both from the group and its acolytes. In retrospect, the moments on the LP that are a bit unformed -- in particular, the halting waltz of "Dreaming" never achieves the sweet ethereal atmosphere it aspires to -- stand out more than the innovations, which have been so thoroughly assimilated into the vocabulary of rock & roll, but Fresh Cream was a remarkable shift forward in rock upon its 1966 release and it remains quite potent. Certainly at this early stage the trio was still grounded heavily in blues, only fitting given guitarist Eric Clapton's stint in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, which is where he first played with bassist Jack Bruce, but Cream never had the purist bent of Mayall, and not just because they dabbled heavily in psychedelia. The rhythm section of Bruce and Ginger Baker had a distinct jazzy bent to their beat; this isn't hard and pure, it's spongy and elastic, giving the musicians plenty of room to roam. This fluidity is most apparent on the blues covers that take up nearly half the record, especially on "Spoonful," where the swirling instrumental interplay, echo, fuzz tones, and overwhelming volume constitute true psychedelic music, and also points strongly toward the guitar worship of heavy metal. Almost all the second side of Fresh Cream is devoted to this, closing with Baker's showcase "Toad," but for as hard and restless as this half of the album is, there is some lightness on the first portion of the record where Bruce reveals himself as an inventive psychedelic pop songwriter with the tense, colorful "N.S.U." and the hook- and harmony-laden "I Feel Free." Cream shows as much force and mastery on these tighter, poppier tunes as they do on the free-flowing jams, yet they show a clear bias toward the long-form blues numbers, which makes sense: they formed to be able to pursue this freedom, which they do so without restraint. If at times that does make the album indulgent or lopsided, this is nevertheless where Cream was feeling their way forward, creating their heavy psychedelic jazz-blues and, in the process, opening the door to all kinds of serious rock music that may have happened without Fresh Cream, but it just would not have happened in the same fashion as it did with this record as precedent. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Verschenen op 1 januari 2005 | Polydor

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Rock - Verschenen op 1 januari 2003 | Polydor Records

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Rock - Verschenen op 1 januari 1968 | Polydor Records

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Hardrock - Verschenen op 28 maart 2019 | Play Music

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Dance - Verschenen op 27 maart 2020 | Big Beat Records

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Rock - Verschenen op 1 april 1970 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Cream was a band born to the stage, a fact that the band and their record label realized the public fully understood by the number one U.S. chart placement for Wheels of Fire, with its entire live disc, and the number two chart peak for Goodbye, the posthumous release that was dominated by concert recordings. And in response to those success, we got Live Cream, Vol. 1 (originally known simply as Live Cream) in the spring of 1970, nearly 18 months after the trio's breakup. This could well be their most consistently brilliant album for sheer musicianship, though it is also a peculiar one on a couple of counts, some of which probably prevented it from reaching quite as wide an audience as it might have otherwise. Released in April 1970 and derived from tapes made at three May 1968 California shows, all of the live tracks here consist of songs originally featured on the group's least ambitious and most rudimentary album, Fresh Cream, dating from 1966 -- and as it happens, there's not a hit represented among the five songs, a fact that probably made this release seem more appealing to hardcore fans than to casual and curious listeners (who didn't know what they were missing). The performances here show how far the group had come in the nearly two years since laying down the studio originals -- take side one of the original LP, where they stretch out their playing, as well as boost it to new levels of intensity, on "N.S.U." and "Sleepy Time Time," so that the renditions here are the definitive ones, and by themselves should have made this album an essential acquisition back in 1970. But that brings us to the original side two and the 15-minute rendition of "Sweet Wine," an excursion by all three players that is worth the quarter-hour time commitment of the listener. The live portion of the album ends with their searing, rollicking high energy rendition of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' and Tumblin'." And then, for reasons not clear -- except perhaps simply that it was there, in the vaults, and seemed like a valuable piece of property, which it was (and what else were they going to do with it?) -- the producers close Live Cream with a studio cut, "Lawdy Mama," an Eric Clapton-inspired take on a traditional tune that subsequently evolved into the hit "Strange Brew" during what became the Disraeli Gears sessions. It's not a match for everything we've heard, but in the spring of 1970 no one was exactly complaining over being handed a previously unissued studio track by the Cream, as a bonus to the concert performances here. As it turned out, there were more live tracks from some of these same shows to draw on in future releases and reissues, which would include a couple of the group's hits; but Live Cream offers the overall highest quality, both in terms of clarity and fidelity, and the performances, which, in addition to the essential great playing (better in some ways than what was heard on some of the much-vaunted live tracks from Wheels of Fire), include excellent vocalizing by Clapton and Jack Bruce. Not that vocalizing looms that large here -- the live tracks are all given extended jazz-based treatment, and the dialog among the three musicians as the jams develop is fascinating. Foreground and background seem to dissolve as all three musicians take charge, using the full range of their instruments. And where Bruce goes with his bass, especially on "Sweet Wine," is every bit as rewarding as the places that Clapton's guitar takes us; and Ginger Baker's playing is a trip all its own. Performances like this single-handedly raised the stakes of musicianship in rock. © Rob Bowman & Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Dance - Verschenen op 23 oktober 2020 | Big Beat Records