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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, timeless debut...
When you set out to be "the best", as Cream did, you'd better be sure you deliver. And, after a very odd start with their first single "Wrapping Paper" - that left those who hadn't seen them live wondering what all the fuss was about - deliver they did with an album that remains one of the most inventive and powerful debuts of all time. Still exciting forty years on (and...
Published on 14 Jun 2009 by nicjaytee

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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is not what Cream deserves to be remembered for
Let's not be sentimental or nostalgic about this, it really does sound very dated, not least because of the very primitive stereo engineering. And of course on the basis of this album you would have to conclude that they hadn't yet found their 'sound' as a band. But already by November '66 the authentic sound could certainly be heard in the BBC recordings except that in...
Published on 18 Mar 2006 by Basilides


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, timeless debut..., 14 Jun 2009
This review is from: Fresh Cream (Audio CD)
When you set out to be "the best", as Cream did, you'd better be sure you deliver. And, after a very odd start with their first single "Wrapping Paper" - that left those who hadn't seen them live wondering what all the fuss was about - deliver they did with an album that remains one of the most inventive and powerful debuts of all time. Still exciting forty years on (and helped by the inclusion of "I Feel Free" which inexplicably was only released as a single in the UK despite being recorded in the same sessions) its combination of driving blues and Eric Clapton's incredible "barrier bending" guitar playing - evidenced to perfection in their stunning interpretation of Skip James' "I'm So Glad" - took the British R&B scene by storm and set a precedent that raised expectations of what was to come beyond all reasonable levels.

There was indeed more to come, but while much of "Disraeli Gears" and parts of "Wheels of Fire" were as good, if not better, "Fresh Cream" is infused with the sheer enthusiasm of a group getting it right for the first time. And, like all similarly brilliant debut albums, that's what shines through and makes it timeless.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, timeless debut..., 16 Jan 2007
This review is from: Fresh Cream (Audio CD)
When you set out to be "the best", as Cream did, you'd better be sure you deliver. And, after a very odd start with their first single "Wrapping Paper" - that left those who hadn't seen them live wondering what all the fuss was about - deliver they did with an album that remains one of the most inventive and powerful debuts of all time. Still exciting forty years on (and helped by the inclusion of "I Feel Free" which inexplicably was only released as a single in the UK despite being recorded in the same sessions) its combination of driving blues and Eric Clapton's incredible "barrier bending" guitar playing - evidenced to perfection in their stunning interpretation of Skip James' "I'm So Glad" - took the British R&B scene by storm and set a precedent that raised expectations of what was to come beyond all reasonable levels.

There was indeed more to come, but while much of "Disraeli Gears" and parts of "Wheels of Fire" were as good, if not better, "Fresh Cream" is infused with the sheer enthusiasm of a group getting it right for the first time. And, like all similarly brilliant debut albums, that's what shines through and makes it timeless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh Cream: Cream - a Spoonful of classic british blues rock, 20 Jan 2012
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Fresh Cream (Audio CD)
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.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seminal., 12 Dec 2000
By 
Mr. Colin Rankin "Colin Rankin" (Braintree, essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fresh Cream (Audio CD)
Two rock albums in my younger days typified to me great rock music......one was the first Led Zeppelin album.....the other was this...which pre-dated Zeppelin by about 3 years.When I first heard this my mind and musical tastes went into overdrive.Until this album I was totally focused on the Beatles and loved them!!!Fresh Cream showed me something else; but it wasn't until Clapton's extraordinary 'Tales Of Brave Ulysses'on Creams next album,'Disraeli Gears' that I really understood the revolution that was going on in music.Fortunately or unfortunately the Beatles have dominated and have set a superb standard.However,there were many other great bands whose influence has waned as a result.Any new band picking up on this will make a HUGE killing!....This album is a great starting point!
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is not what Cream deserves to be remembered for, 18 Mar 2006
By 
This review is from: Fresh Cream (Audio CD)
Let's not be sentimental or nostalgic about this, it really does sound very dated, not least because of the very primitive stereo engineering. And of course on the basis of this album you would have to conclude that they hadn't yet found their 'sound' as a band. But already by November '66 the authentic sound could certainly be heard in the BBC recordings except that in the earliest Bruce hadn't begun to use sustain on his bass. They also evidently had that sound in live public performance in March 1967 as is evidenced by the recordings of 'NSU'(3.53) and 'I'm So Glad'(4.40) made at the Konserthusen Stockholm both of which at one time were available on two different sem-official releases called 'Stepping Out' and 'Eric Clapton's Cream'. It seems obvious therefore that they had the sound from the beginning when they got together to jam at Baker's house in Neasden. So why didn't it get onto this first album?

This album with its highly artificial studio production is really only of some minor historical interest because of its prominence at the time for commercial reasons, which unfortunately has led to it being of undue interest to 'academic' rock historians of the blues and its new white exponents or 'appropriators. The pity is that this album was made so early and in the Soho of 'Tin-Pan Alley' - even though 'early' here means a matter of months. It saddens me still to see this album referred to in popular discophile reference books, and academic discographies and footnotes, where mention of this 'Spoonful' is made but no mention of the 'Spoonful' from 'Live at the Filmore' or the live numbers on 'Goodbye Cream'. Every time I see this sort of misdirection and misemphasis I know they haven't understood the nature of Cream's (white) 'appropriation' of the blues at all. Similarly when I read the same old complaints about self-indulgent improvisations in their concerts. It is clear from all the bootlegs I've heard that they were always trying and experimenting with the structure of their improvisations. On the more positive side though I have begun to notice these mistakes are being rectified in more recent publications.
What the 'academic' historians should have focused their attention on is not the commercial product but the way that Cream were performing the same repertoire when playing live, in public concerts or live in the BBC studios. If they bothered to consider the first album at all it should have been by way of comparison, where it would not have fared well

Nearly all the numbers on this 1967 first album suffer from extremely unnatural and artificial sounding stereo separation and the artificial studio production. This is particularly damaging in the case of the most important tracks on the original album, which are 'NSU', 'Sweet Wine' and 'I'm So Glad'. In the first two of these the bass and drums are placed on the extreme right on top of one another so that it is often difficult to tell the bass and bass drum apart. Vocals and guitar tend to be on the left and extreme left. This is the sort of stereo engineering one associates with the early 60s. They both sound much better when heard in mono but nothing can save the vocals of 'I'm So Glad' from the production. By the time they recorded it for the BBC they had solved the problem of 'Glad' by using two voices instead of the over-exposed and forward-sounding voice of Bruce on his own and in such an unnatural accoustic. Strangely, the drums are more centrally placed in the stereo mix on this track and if only they had used the two voices and recessed them a bit in the mix it would have sounded quite convincing.

'Spoonful' also sounds too artificially produced for a blues number but the other blues tracks fare less badly as the production is more basic. All of them however have the rather naff quality of white-boy blues which may be a little surprising when you consider that the Stones had been demonstrating at least one way to avoid this kind of pitfall for some years. The reason for this failure on Cream's part, however, can be put down to the unsure beginnings of the very thing that was to become their unique strength when they worked out how to solve the problem through live performance. Their unique solution and major contribution to rock music was to transform the blues into the fully appropriated and impressively strong, passionate and heroic form which they became known for on their American tours in '67 and '68. On this first album we can hear them, and Bruce in particular, showing the first signs that this was the way they would have to go and how it would involve a transformation of the way that Blues can be understood and presented. Here it is already presented differently but it makes no sense, and would not do so until they had taken it much further with more conviction and passion. But to do this they needed to discover how to give their SOUND more density and power, and they only ever achieved this in the end in performance and not in the studio.

Only 'I Feel Free', which was not on the original vinyl album, comes across as a fairly successful product of what studio recordings were capable of at the time in producing good and valid commercial pop music - which is just what this album fails to do with NSU and Sweet Wine.

Played in MONO, or if it were re-engineered with a more convincing sound stage, I could give it 4 stars for its genuine freshness and energy, but I wouldn't recommend this as somewhere to find some exciting guitar playing from Clapton. His playing here is simplified and submerged under the attempts of the producer to create something psychedelic - this was 1966 - and, to make it worse, that was before a convincing way of evoking the 'psychedelic' had been discovered or created. More impressive playing is to be found on Clapton's earlier work with John Mayall but, unfortunately, from a rhythmic point of view it's just conventional urban blues. What has not been sufficiently understood by any of the commentators or pundits is how different Cream turned out to be - because of their different use of rhythm and stress - from any other blues bands or rock bands. This arose partly from the material, much of which was new of course, partly from the drummer, and partly from the contrapuntal bass. But even with the material they adopted from old blues artists it is clear that Cream had a completely different conception of what it could be.
But on this first album the clue to the new rhythmic approach comes mainly from the new material, more specifically 'NSU' and 'Sweet Wine'.

If anyone wants to know what Cream's real achievement was they should listen to the best of their live recordings, especially those on 'Goodbye Cream' and 'Live at the Filmore'. But to hear Cream as they were right at the beginning of their short career the only source of real value is the BBC recordings where you can hear NSU, and Sweet Wine and I'm So Glad as they should have sounded on their first official album, as well as excellent live versions of I Feel Free and We're Going Wrong along with various other numbers that were eventually to appear on later albums.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review, 17 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Fresh Cream (Audio CD)
Bought the album when it originally came out & loved it & everything else Cream have done, Bought the CD so I can play it in the car, excellent CD with bonus tracks. Recommended to any Cream / Clapton / Baker / Bruce fans.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and enjoyable..., 15 Jun 2001
By 
Top Cat (Up, Down, All Around) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fresh Cream (Audio CD)
Cream's first effort was a very varied but uneven effort. In here you will find great sixties pop ("I Feel Free"), sixties pop ("Dreaming"), hard blues ("Rollin' And Tumblin'"), harmless blues ("Sleepy Time Time"), cool dark menacing blues ("Spoonful"), as well as some charming blues ("From Four Until Late") and even the proto-heavy-metal type drum solo ("Toad"). You may not like all of the songs but what you can't deny is this record has a great production with a clear and crisp sound and good, good guitar solos courtesy of Mr. Clapton, especially on the blues covers but even more so on "I'm So Glad" where, if you are also a Deep Purple enthusiast, will find the foundations of early Blackmore's technique. Plus, Jack Bruce's bass is also a highlight with a thick and fuzzy sound. Ginger Baker doesn't get to shine as much as his companions on this, I'm afraid.
If you want to get into Cream and don't know where to start, start here and if you like it continue with Disraeli Gears and be blown away as you witness the evolution of one of the most ground breaking, adventurous and influential bands of the sixties.
I love you, Esther.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cream's best record?, 17 Sep 2008
By 
G. E. Harrison (Cheltenham, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Fresh Cream (Audio CD)
'Fresh Cream' was Cream's first release, recorded within a few months of them getting together. It was probably one of the first 'progressive blues' records and as such sounded different to anything else around in 1966, apart from perhaps Jimi Hendrix. Looking back now it seems to contain a slightly odd mix of melodic pop - "I Feel Free", "NSU" "Sweet Wine", updated country blues - "Four Until Late", "I'm So Glad" and harder-edged blues workouts - "Spoonful", "Cat's Squirrel" and "Rollin' And Tumblin'". As time went on it was these workouts that would come to dominate their set as extended jams but here they are relatively concise and in my opinion all the better for that.

Although Clapton's guitar is very much to the fore, the exceptional rhythm section of Bruce and Baker is very much an equal part of the overall sound, perhaps the first time in rock that the bass had been used in such an upfront way. Bruce's powerful and emotional baritone vocals were also a major and very distinctive element in their sound. I was never very keen on the drum solo "Toad" - not one for repeated plays.

For me this was Cream's best record, combining melody and emotion, with muscular playing that was relatively free but still disciplined and succinct. I think that later on they probably managed to combine the pop and blues elements better into songs like "Sunshine of your love" and "Strange Brew" but the later live extended versions of many of these songs added little to these original versions. Here they sound fresh and agile, and far from the lumbering dinosaur they would later turn into.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better with less primitive stereo engineering and production, 5 Jan 2010
By 
This review is from: Fresh Cream (Audio CD)
Nearly all the numbers on this 1967 first album suffer from the extremely unnatural and artificial sounding stereo separation and artificial production. This is particularly damaging in the case of 'NSU', 'Sweet Wine',and 'I'm So Glad'. The bass and drums are placed on the extreme right on top of one another so that it is often difficult to tell the bass and bass drum apart. Vocals and guitar tend to be on the left and extreme left. This is the sort of stereo engineering one associates with the early 60s. They all sound much better when heard in mono but nothing can save 'I'm So Glad' from the production. Later they solved the problem of 'Glad' by using two voices instead of the over-exposed and forward sounding voice of Bruce on his own on this track, and by singing in a higher register. (This approach can be heard as early as the BBC recording found on 'Cream at the BBC', although unfortunately the improvisation is spoilt when Clapton goes into an irrelevant extended quotation from the 1812 Overture.) Strangely the drums are more centrally placed in the stereo mix on this track and if only they had used the two voices it would have sounded quite convincing.
'Spoonful' also sounds too artificially produced for a blues number but the other blues tracks fare less badly as the production is more basic.
Although I am a great admirer of what Cream became soon after this, even if played in mono or re-engineered with a more convincing sound stage, I could only give it 3 stars against the 5 of 'Goodbye Cream', which of course has the definitive 'I'm So Glad'. Despite, and even because of their brevity and simplicity 'NSU' and 'Sweet Wine', at least when played here in mono or of course when heard live, are something very special. They are amongst the most brilliant pieces of Pop/Rock ever written like 'My Generation','Communication Breakdown' and 'Purple Haze' or 'Penny Lane'. 'I Feel Free' is almost as good. But you have to hear the live version of 'I'm So Glad'. This early studio version won't do at all.

In addition I must also say that I would NOT recommend this as a place where you will find any interesting playing by Clapton. From that point of view it's even less impressive than his earlier album with John Mayall. But the music itself here is better, mainly because of it's rhythmic vitality and freshness. However, if you're really a blues person I don't think you'll like this at all, despite the tracks which are seemingly straightforword blues.
But if you really want to know why Cream are so important you need to hear the best of their live recordings that are found on the 'Live At The Filmore' and 'Goodbye Cream' albums, along with 'Sunshine Of Your Love' on the 'Live Cream Vol.ll' album. There are also some fine tracks on 'Live Cream Vol.l'. Otherwise you need to go to wolfgangsvault.com for fine alternative live performances of 'Crossroads', 'Sunshine', 'Spoonful' and 'I'm So Glad'. There is also another excellent performance of 'Sunshine' by Cream on a rare Clapton EP and an alternative performance of 'NSU' in the 4CD boxed set 'Those Were The Days'.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good start, but the best was yet to come., 16 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Fresh Cream (Audio CD)
Cream's debut album stuck rigidly to their orginal intentions of being a blues based band as is shown here. No less than four blues covers graced the album with a further three bluesy original numbers. On this C.D there are 3 bonus tracks which were not on the original vinyl L.P. These include the classic "I feel free," the ridiculously commercial "Wrapping paper," and the sublime "Coffee song,". The blues covers are all well executed and perhaps the only real let down is the drum based "toad" which is interesting for the first minute until Ginger Baker starts repeating several tedious drum patterns for another five minutes. This album is good but "Disraeli Gears" was to be better.
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