Tune in to the Elephant Race section of Spoonful - pretty go
John F. Browning | 07/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sorry, but this is my favorite 'album'of all time. I wore out two vinyl copies of it and still slap on the CD when in doubt about what to listen to. This album is the sixties to me: indeed, when Saturday Night Live lampooned hippie holdovers in a skit, it had them listening to Spoonful from Wheels of Fire.
The Live Disk contains the best stuff you can get- Crossroads in the definitive Clapton treatment, played on a firey Strat above rumbling, volcanic bass lines and precision trip-hammer jazz-rock drumming. The epic treatment of Spoonful still conjures images of Hades, rolling thunder, burning rivers, thundering beasts (the 'elephant race' middle instrumental passage). Also, it features amazing mournful vocals by Jack Bruce, sounding like he is negotiating in blues format for his mortal soul. This rendition is just so doggone inspired. If you listen to it after listening to Cream's studio original from "Fresh Cream" or the Howlin' Wolf original, your mind reels from the comparison. They were really feeling this version. They're playing like the Hell Hounds are really on their trail.
For a time, in the early seventies, I grew tired of the extremely long 'Toad' workout by Ginger Baker, but in recent years, it seems one of the many stellar high points of the proceedings. It's great and it never bores me now. Sure, its drumming for the sake of drumming, but so what? Its effing awesome spectacular unparalleled.
The Studio Tracks
White Room, a big hit for Cream in 1968 is orchestral cum wah-wah mysterious with a spacious sound with vocals by turns ethereal and menacing. It rocks on, I want to say. It was backed on the 45 by Pressed Rat and Warthog (I think), one of Ginger Baker's goof-poetry ditties that always was a favorite of mine. The balance of the songs are amazing. "As You Said", a string piece featuring Jack Bruce on cello and vocal is singular - nothing like it I'm aware of. It has always perplexed, amazed and pleased me when I hear it. The arrangement is super-fine. Deserted Cities of the Heart is a great, underrated track that boils along feverishly. Those Were the Days is an outstanding pop song whose lyrics typify my feelings about That Time (1968)- pure nostalgia written nostalgically at the time. Politician and Sitting On Top of the World are major Cream cuts which most people know. They are essential, bluesy rock classics.
I feel totally at home when I hear this stuff - I always listen to this many times when on a road trip: can't imagine travel without it.
You know, I haven't even mentioned Train Time - blow that harmonica, son!
Can we make this 6 stars?"
I bought this only for one song: Pressed Rat and Warthog.
Tom Brody | Berkeley, CA | 08/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this one only for one song, Pressed Rat and Warthog. I already had Cream's first album Fresh Cream, and a best of album, The Very Best of Cream. Pressed Rat and Warthog is unusual in that the "singing" is a vocal recitative, done in the usual deadpan British vocal style. The British deadpan vocal style can be found, e.g., on any album by the Gang of Four, almost anything by Squeeze, for example, Up The Junction, and in Keith Relf's work with the Yardbirds.
What is more unusual in Pressed Rat and Warthog are the British Isles folk tunes provided by the trumpet and other instruments. I am certain that these melodies also appear in some of Ralph Vaughan Williams' shorter symphonic pieces which, in turn, were copied from folk musicians. There are so many fine British and Irish folk melodies available. It is too bad that these tunes have been popularized only by the Byrds, and by less than a handful of other rock'n'roll bands.
I saw Cream twice, once at the Fillmore in San Francisco where they played with Gary Burton Quartet and the Flaming Groovies. Also, I saw Cream at the Oakland Coliseum, where It's A Beautiful Day was the opening act.
Also, I highly recommend the DVD of Cream live: "Cream - Royal Albert Hall - London May 2-3-5-6 2005 (2005)." This disc, which provides a generous selection of songs performed over a four day period, features plenty of close-ups, sharp in-focus images, and high quality sound. We get to see how craggy faced and wrinkled Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker have become. Aspiring guitar players will be awestruck by close-ups of Mr.Clapton's whizzing fingers, as they dart about the fretboard. We get song after song after song, including a furiously grand performance of Toad. It is well-worth every penny spent."
Exceptional album from Cream receives outstanding digital tr
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 04/05/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Please Note: This review is for the DCC Gold Edition of "Wheels of Fire" NOT for the regular edition.
Double albums were all the craze when Cream recorded "Wheels of Fire". Since this legendary and short lived band didn't have the material for two albums worth of material and their live shows were legendary, the trio of Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, and Ginger Baker elected to have the second disc of this set a live recording (much like The Byrds' "Untitled"). The Gold edition on DCC exists in TWO versions; a small number were initially manufactured in Japan and while the U.S. editions (manufactured later) have THREE secret bonus tracks that were put there by accident.
On disc one we get the original 9 song line up that made up the first disc and Steve Hoffman added "Anyone for Tennis". There are THREE tracks after that one--alternate mixes of "Sitting on Top of the World", "As You Said" and "Passing the Time". The edition that has the three bonus tracks (that were put there by accident it should be added) is the edition that was manufactured in the U.S. YOu'll have to inspect the discs to find out of course because unfortunately the outside packaging for the U.S. edition often had the artwork that says Made in Japan.
The packaging for the Gold edition is superb--the outside box replicates the silver foil colored cover of the original gatefold sleeve. Inside, the inserts for each disc does likewise. There is also a booklet with session dates, etc. and credits for the album.
The sound quality for the gold edition is the best out there and it is definitely worth hunting for!"