Even as a Cream fan from right back in 1966,I'm amazed at how good they still sound now.
Even better,I'm gobsmacked at how well this compo is put together. It scores heavily by lumping the life stuff to one side ie CD2. Cream were astounding live,most nights,BUT they could also ramble on,and they were never made for very long tours,but the live disc happily captures energetic and challenging efforts.
In the studio, they were 2 different bands. As a heavy clue,their 1st record,the single Wrapping Paper was more like the bloody New Vaudeville Band! But,as the subsequent studio albums showed,all that proved was their ear for a good pop tune and they had a decent number of chart hits to show for it.
They also knew how to hammer something we'd never heard of before out of one old blues tune after another. This was mainly on the 1st LP Fresh cream, but was still there on the 3rd,Wheels of Fire in Born Under a Bad Sign.
That album also revealed a new drift into descant tunes across Pete Brown's surrealist lyrics in numbers like As You Said,and that part doesn't get a look in here, although Politician isn't that far removed from the genre, ditto Deserted Cities of The Heart.
In fact,the choice of tracks is excellent-it genuinely goes right across each album AND picks up another flop comparative flop of a single in Anyone for Tennis. It DOES commit one unforgiveable sin in ignoring that 45's B-side,the Incomparable Pressed Rat & Warthog,but you can still get that,as you always could,on Wheels of Fire,so we'll let it off!
So,essential is the word-without this,about 95% of decent Rock music 1968-2008 would never have happened. Get a copy now & let it inspire your own creative juices,too!