18 May 2015 (released)
20 June 2015
If you are of ‘a certain age’ you probably had all of these albums in their original vinyl incarnation. And there seems little point in discussing either the quality of the music or the impact that Cream had on the music scene then and for the rest of modern history.
What we should look at is the quality of these releases which is exceptional.
The transposition onto heavyweight, pristine, vinyl definitely adds to what was already a superb set of recordings. Listening to these copies against my originals it is almost shocking how much more of Jack Bruce’s bass can be heard and how he almost seems to overshadow the mighty Eric Clapton at times.
Baker’s drumming has real snap and punch on the originals but again here there is almost a greater sense of his Jazz origins and the difference between the splashy cymbals on Fresh Cream and the more restrained but ultimately more powerful sound on Disraeli Gears shows up with great clarity here.
Clapton at that time was considered a God of the guitar and these recordings show why – his ability to riff and move seamlessly to the most sublime of solos is almost a statement and the new formats show him in a great light.
The albums are all classics and the complete 'Wheels Of Fire' with the live tracks in all their glory makes it worth having for that album alone but I do feel that the packaging could have been better for a set as important as this.
This isn’t a “shock, horror, they were a great band/rubbish band” moment. They were and are great songs played by three musicians who occasionally hit heights that most others couldn’t even dream of and these new re-issues simply provide a brilliant platform for the music to fly out of.
The silence in the clean vinyl is palpable and the clarity of the playing almost amazing – very worthy reissues indeed.