If you're thinking of buying 'Disraeli Gears' this is the one to get. The stereo mix on the first disc is far from satisfactory on most stereo equipment because of the way the drums are presented - much too isolated on the extreme right and too lightweight, with the guitar too isolated on the extreme left; unless you have a system with particularly heavy and tight mid-bass clout, then it's probably the mono version on the second disc that works best for the 5 most important tracks on the album (Sunshine, Ulysses, We're Going Wrong, Outside Woman Blues and SWLABR) with the drums much heavier and better integrated into the texture. This Deluxe Edition is the only way of getting the mono mix on CD.
Also on the mono disc you get the live BBC studio versions of all the numbers associated with this album plus 'Politician' 'Sitting on Top of the World' and 'Stepping Out'. These tracks are also found on 'Cream:the BBC Sessions' but here the sound is much improved.
Unfortunately 'Sunshine' from the BBC sessions is not included and so one has to put up with the really bad sound of this track on the earlier album. Why?
But the BBC recordings of 'Tales of Brave Ulysses', 'We're Going Wrong' and SWLABR three of their best numbers, are good alternative versions to the ones on 'Gears' and will help to keep your responses fresh. They are very close to the album versions but they are different enough. 'Outside Woman Blues' has an interestingly different guitar solo.
For those like myself who can't stand 'Strange Brew' in the commercially released version there is the much more 'authentic' live version they did for the BBC with a single solo singing voice instead of the sickening double tracked one. In this form it sounds like what it is: a simple blues. Even better is the original blues it is based on called 'Lawdy Mama', the out-take of which is also included here' If only this had been used for the album as released instead of the atrociously kitsch which is 'Strange Brew'. This crime against good taste should have offended far more people than it has, and unfortunately to this day in this country it is the first thing that comes to mind for the un-initiated when the name Cream is mentioned since it was their only chart success here - in the States, thank god, it was 'Sunshine Of Your Love'.
One of the most interesting things is an ur-version of 'Politician' showing it still in the process of creation with provisional lyrics, later rejected, and played much faster. they were obviously having fun on this one.
SWLABR has much more rhythmic vitality than the familiar version and most enjoyable. The same is true of 'Steppin Out' which is better and faster than the one on Live Cream Vol.2.
In addition, on the first disc, there are some demos of a few other numbers otherwise only available on the over expensive and badly conceived 'Those Were the Days' 3 CD set which doesn't have the mono mix.
But the live albums are more important. See my reviews.