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Cream - Cream Gold - 2005 - Polydor

Fusing Delta blues, pop and psychedelia, Cream created a sound all its own. During a recording life of just over two years, 1966-1968, the band established the prototypical blues rock power trio, laid the foundation for the hard rock of succeeding decades and redefined the instrumentalist in rock. Yet, at the height of its fame, Cream broke up. Clapton and Baker subsequently formed Blind Faith, and all three eventually went solo, with Clapton achieving one of the most renowned careers in rock. One measure of Cream's impact is that, despite such a short career, in 1993 the trio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Tracks taken from Fresh Cream (1966)
1. "I Feel Free" 1 (Bruce, Brown) – 2:54
2. "N.S.U." (Bruce) – 2:47
3. "Sweet Wine" (Baker, Godfrey) – 3:19
4. "I'm So Glad" (James) – 4:01
Tracks taken from Disraeli Gears (1967)
5. "Strange Brew" (Clapton, Pappalardi, Collins) – 2:48
6. "Sunshine of Your Love" (Bruce, Clapton, Brown) – 4:10
7. "World of Pain" (Collins, Pappalardi) – 3:05
8. "Tales of Brave Ulysses" (Clapton, Sharp) – 2:46
9. "S.W.L.A.B.R." (Bruce, Brown) – 2:31
10. "We're Going Wrong" (Bruce) – 3:29
Tracks taken from Wheels of Fire (1968)
11. "White Room" (Bruce, Brown) – 4:58
12. "Sitting On Top of the World" (Burnett) – 4:59
13. "Passing the Time" (Baker, Taylor) – 4:32
14. "Politician" (Bruce, Brown) – 4:11
15. "Those Were the Days" (Baker, Taylor) – 2:56
16. "Born Under a Bad Sign" (Jones, Bell) – 3:09
17. "Deserted Cities of the Heart" (Bruce, Brown) – 3:41
Tracks taken from Goodbye (1969)
18. "Anyone For Tennis" 1 (Clapton, Sharp) – 2:37
19. "Badge" (Clapton, Harrison) – 2:46
20. "Doing That Scrapyard Thing" (Bruce, Brown) – 3:16
21. "What a Bringdown" (Baker) – 3:57

1. "N.S.U." 4 (Bruce) – 10:12
2. "Sleepy Time Time" 4 (Bruce, Godfrey) – 6:50
3. "Rollin' and Tumblin'" 4 (Waters) – 6:34
4. "Spoonful" 2 (Dixon) – 16:46
5. "Crossroads" 2 (Johnson, arr. Clapton) – 4:14
6. "Sunshine of Your Love" 5 (Bruce, Clapton, Brown) – 7:24
7. "I'm So Glad" 3 (James) – 9:12
8. "Toad" 2 (Baker) – 16:16

Note 1: originally released as a non-album single, but included on later prints of the album
Note 2: previously released on Wheels of Fire (1968)
Note 3: previously released on Goodbye (1969)
Note 4: previously released on Live Cream (1970)
Note 5: previously released on Live Cream Volume II (1972)


Eric Clapton (vocals, guitar)
Jack Bruce (vocals, acoustic guitar, cello, harmonica, piano, organ, bass guitar)
Ginger Baker (vocals, drums, percussion)


George Harrison (guitar)
Felix Pappalardi (viola, trumpet, organ)


There has been no shortage of Cream compilations over the years — as a matter of fact, they far outnumber the group's actual albums, of which there were merely four (true, they were recorded during an insanely productive two-year lifespan) — but 2005's Gold is arguably the best of the lot. Released as part of Universal's ongoing Gold series, Cream's installment spans 29 tracks over the course of two discs, with the first CD being devoted to their studio work (it weighs in at 21 tracks) and the second devoted to live recordings (it runs only eight songs, which illustrates how much they improvised in concert). Not only are all of the usual suspects here — the hits "I Feel Free," "Strange Brew," "Sunshine of Your Love," "Tales of Brave Ulysses," "Badge," "Swlabr," "Crossroads," and "Politician" — but this includes such gems as "World of Pain," "Passing the Time," "Doing That Scrapyard Thing," and "What a Bringdown." While there are a handful of cuts that might have deserved inclusion — chief among them "Four Until Late," "Take It Back," and "As You Said" — everything essential is here, and each disc draws a near-definitive portrait of what the group achieved on-stage and in the studio. As a (relatively) concise overview, Gold can't be beat — it tells you everything you need to know about this legendary supergroup. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic.com


Celebrated as the first of the great power trios of rock, their sound was characterised by a melange of blues and psychedelia, combining Clapton's mastery of the genre with the airy voice of Jack Bruce and, at times, manic rhythms of Ginger Baker. The drug-addled imagery and ambience of the time abounds. Cream epitomised the high energy sound of the time, anchored in a familiar blues style; from the traditional blues classics such as "Crossroads" and "Born Under a Bad Sign," through more eccentric imagery found in "Strange Brew" and "Tales of Brave Ulysses," and culminating in the protracted indulgences of "Spoonful" and "Toad". Their biggest hits were "I Feel Free", "Sunshine of Your Love", "White Room", and "Badge", co-written by Clapton and George Harrison, who played guitar on the recording under the pseudonym 'L'Angelo Misterioso' for contractual reasons. The late Felix Pappalardi, producer (and later member of Mountain), sometimes called the 'fourth member' of Cream, is featured heavily on the Disraeli Gears album, fondly remembered for its striking design by Martin Sharp. British poet Pete Brown wrote the lyrics to many of the band's songs and was another important contributor. While their studio work and songwriting were therefore relatively formal, in a live setting Cream were almost a completely different band, improvising constantly, with songs regularly surpassing the 20 minute mark. This gained them a reputation as (along with The Grateful Dead) the first jam band. Much of this stemmed from Bruce and Baker's origins as jazz musicians, although during an interview on The South Bank Show in the late 1980s Clapton attributed the extending soloing to their unwillingness or inability to stop playing and because none of the trio was officially the bandleader with the authority to rein in the other two. Considering their jazz roots, it is perhaps ironic that the band is also considered a pioneer of heavy metal music. Bruce has stated that without Clapton's influence the band would more likely have played a kind of jazz, although what they played in concert was indeed jazz-rock fusion, and Baker commented in a 2005 interview (included with the Cream reunion DVD) that he and Bruce consider Clapton a jazz musician, even if Clapton himself doesn't. Cream broke up in November 1968 due to clashing egos and musical visions: Bruce and Baker were notorious for not getting along, and Clapton famously related how he once suddenly stopped playing in concert without either of the others noticing. Inspired by more song-based acts like The Band, Clapton went on to perform much different, less improvisational material with Delaney & Bonnie, Blind Faith, his own Derek and the Dominos, and in a long and varied solo career. (Blind Faith came about immediately after the demise of Cream following an attempt by Clapton to recruit Steve Winwood into Cream in the hope that Winwood would act as a buffer between Bruce and Baker; Cream broke up before Winwood could accept the offer.) On the night that Cream split, Jimi Hendrix was performing live on the Lulu show and cut short his own number, instead beginning an instrumental version of "Sunshine of Your Love" (which had, perhaps unknown to him, apparently been originally inspired by a Hendrix concert) which he dedicated to "the Cream". The three members of Cream didn't play together again until 1993, when Cream was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and played at the induction ceremony. The band reunited in May 2005 for a series of four shows at the Royal Albert Hall, where they had played their final concerts in 1968 (documented on the album Goodbye.) The reformed band also played at Madison Square Garden from October 24 - 26, 2005. Cream made a significant impact upon the popular music of the time, together with The Who providing a heavy yet technically proficient musical theme that foreshadowed the emergence of bands like Led Zeppelin in the later 1960s and 1970s, and contributed to the emergence of most later forms of heavy metal and hard rock music. The band's live performances influenced progressive rock acts and other jam bands such as Phish and The Mods.


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A.O.O.F.C said...

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