And Yet More Again...

They've remastered it and whacked it back out on iTunes for $10.99 with I Feel Free tacked onto the front, so what we’re looking at (or would be if some skinflint hadn’t gone for the Those Were The Days box set for $31.99 is the American version of the album with Spoonful restored to its rightful slot at the end of Side One.

So, after the track by track, back to the significance, which isn’t, I suspect, obvious to someone who wasn’t on the ground and listening at the time.

1966 and the first half of 1967 were definitely interesting times as far as pop music was concerned, though we’re still in the realm of the 45 rpm single rather than the album. A glimpse at the listing here will reveal some very interesting items. Take a gander at the equivalent for 1967  and you’ll see the flood gates opening.

And it’s the sequencing that’s the key issue here, a sense of chronology and influence. Look at Fresh Cream alongside Disraeli Gears and the studio half of Wheels of Fire and we’re talking substantially different ball parks. Look at Fresh Cream alongside albums that came out in December 1966 (notably Buffalo Springfield and The Who’s A Quick One), 

January and February 1967 (The Doors and The Rolling Stones Between the Buttons, The Byrds Younger Than Yesterday, Mayall’s A Hard Road and the Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow) and the contrast isn’t quite as marked.

Cream didn’t quite have things together at this point. There were things that needed to be sorted, particularly in the writing. It was obvious that they needed someone who could provide a decent lyric and the recording facilities in England, though they were quite capable of turning out quality product, didn’t have the sophistication of eight- or sixteen track recording. Get to New York, which they did for Disraeli Gears and you’re looking at the wherewithal to indulge in overdubbing and sonic possibilities that didn’t exist at home.

So while they weren’t the first electric blues band to come out of the British blues boom, they were the first to emphasise virtuosity over authenticity. They weren’t the first guitar bass drums power trio but they were on the ground ahead of most of the opposition, including the Jimi Hendrix Experience (Hendrix landed in London on 23 September 1966). 


B© Ian Hughes 2012