In 1966 Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton were well known and well respected musicians who had each earned a reputation working in a variety of outfits. They decided to get together and form the first supergroup in the shape of Cream. Based on the British blues of the early `60s that they had each done so much to make popular, this new group harnessed their great talents to take the form to a new level, with infusions of rock and almost jazz like experimentation.
Clapton especially was never better than here. Each of the three had a tremendous ego, and a desire to shine brighter than the other two. This really pushed all three to make some of the best music in their careers. I don't know how it came across to audiences when it was first released, but I know that when I first heard it the album was a complete revelation. Having grown up in the `80s with parents who only ever listen to Cliff Richard, when someone first played me this record it was as though the doors had been opened and I realised there was a world of really good music out there, worth getting excited about. It was fresh, exciting, music that reached into the soul and jangled the nerves. Full of pounding drums, inventive bass lines, Clapton's searing guitar, Bruce's vocals this was the music that got me into music and thus holds a special place in my heart.
Hyperbole and personal feeling apart, this is a classic slice of British blues, fusing the worlds of blues, rock and jazz into a coruscating whole that makes this one of the best albums to come out of the genre. Classic stuff, 5 stars.