Major Album of the 1960s. Buy It.
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 09/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"`Fresh Cream', the first of, I believe, four major albums by the first and most famous `supergroup' opened the second act of the great British Invasion of ROCK in the 1960s. I still remember running across the original vinyl album in the Johns Hopkins University bookstore as I was dedicating myself to a mastery of knowledge of the rock universe, at the expense of my studies and various other trappings of middle class American civilization. At the time, I was not familiar with the names of the three principles, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker. But, I was pulled in by the blurbs on the album jacket proclaiming these lads to be the cream of the crop of English bluesmen.
On listening to the opening lines of the very first cut, `I Feel Free', I can recall being a bit unimpressed until Clapton's guitar kicks in and sends the track to an entirely different world. From that point on, every track of the eleven (11) on the original American release was scintillating. To my credit, I was convinced that in my limited experience, which included absolutely no skill with any conventional rock instrument, this was an IMPORTANT album.
This opinion was reinforced by my religious reading of such IMPORTANT journals as `Crawdaddy' and the very new `Rolling Stone' magazine. It lead me to search out the principal's precedents which, for Clapton, was primarily a stint with the Yardbirds and the fondly remembered and little listened to `John Mayall Blues Band'. Ginger Baker was an alum of the Graham Bond Organization, a Yardbirds / Spenser Davis Group wannabe which never made a big impression in the states. At least, it made little impression on me compared to other groups of the same period and style. Jack Bruce performed with Manfred Mann, Graham Bond, and John Mayall, although I have yet to find any album done by these groups on which Bruce appears.
While the original U.S. release had eleven (11) tracks, ending with Baker's `Toad' drum solo piece, this CD follows the original U.K. release with two additional tracks. And, both tracks are totally forgetable. Unlike many Beatles and Rolling Stones albums of the same period, the U.S. record distributor (Atlantic, I believe) did us a favor by leaving these two tracks off the original vinyl. This album and its `drum sola' is probably singlehandedly responsible for Frank Zappa's parodying long drum solos on his various Mothers of Invention albums.
The most amazing thing about this album for me is that, being innocent of Clapton's reputation for guitar prowess when I bought this album, I was more impressed by the lyrics and the ensemble performance rather than Clapton's classic electric blues guitar. The quality of the deceptively simple songs, most written by Jack Bruce, made me all the more surprised when Clapton and Baker broke away from Cream and Bruce to form Blind Faith with Steve Winwood, their second `superstar' band.
This album is always on my list whenever I compile my top ten albums of the 1960's, and it is never at the bottom of the list.
Great debut and a sign of things to come
CaptainJack | RockWorld | 02/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Cream was formed in june of 1966. The group consisted of 3 musicans: Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals), who gained experience by side of such greats as The Yardbirds or The Bluesbreakers, Jack Bruce (bass, vocals, harmonica) who earlier jammed with Alexis Korner, John Mayall or Manfred Mann, just to mention a few, and Ginger Baker (drums), who was oryginally a jazz player. The group was young, fresh and inspired, so in december of 1966, just 6 months after the band was formed, their debut album Fresh Cream was released. Although time would show that it was not peak of their ambitions and abilities, Cream's debut album is an excellent effort and a blues-rock classic.
Though the band's songwriting abilities were just evolving at the time, They managed to shell out number of excellent tracks. Major songwriter here appears to be Jack Bruce, who co-wrote about half of the tracks with outside musicans. Ginger Baker also threw in some of his creations. And Eric Clapton, though didn't write any songs for the album, helped with arranging blues covers.
The album kicks off with I Feel Free, one of the band's early hits - this song has that psychodelic groove typical for that era - and You can't help but love it. Excellent opener. Next up there is N.S.U. and it features symilar stylings. Powerful and original psychodelic rocker. Sleepy Time Time is relaxing bluesy jam featuring some amazing guitar work. Dreaming, a rather lame attempt at pop, isn't to par up with other bluesy tracks. My least favourite track on the album. Sweet Wine is a great rocker with some more great guitar work. One of the best songs on the album, and of finest Cream's compositions.
Hands down: here we have the classic Spoonful. This song has become a fan favourite, and for a good reason. The band's jamming on this track is priceless. Especially Clapton's guitar work is outstanding. Definately one of the band's strongest tracks.
Cat's Squirell is a nice instrumental, but pales in comparison with other masterpieces on the album. Four Until Late is another blues jam featuring some great harmonica. Rollin' And Tumblin' is a great fast paced furious rocker. I'm So Glad is more pop-oriented that other tracks, but no less excellent. And the closing Toad is Ginger Baker's five minutes. This song opens with a classic guitar riff and turns into an excellent drum solo. It shows Baker's abilities and is a precursor of all later drum solos.
Fresh Cream is an excellent album, but not the best the band would come up with. It is a good and solid debut, but some of Cream's later works sound more inspired and sophisticated. If You want to get into Cream, this is not the best place to start. Get Disraeli Gears - in my opinion the group's finest record of all. That said, I still recommend Fresh Cream for fans of 60s blues-rock and Cream fans."