Saturday, 2 June 2018
Cream - Fresh Cream (1966)
Released December 1966
Recorded at Rayrik Studios, London
Cream were instrumentally so innovative, and their sound is captured here so well. It is a genuine pleasure to listen to how good they were. All three of them were incredibly talented. Where they fall down, however, just a bit, is lyrically. The phrase “I'm So Glad” is repeated too often for my liking, despite the instrumental brilliance of the track. "Wrapping Paper" and “The Coffee Song” are also pretty silly. No real bother though. Cream’s occasional indulgence can result in dross at times, it happens on all their albums. However, the music is so good it doesn't really matter. Considering it dated from 1966 it is remarkable. "Four Until Late" is lovely though.
The mastering is truly excellent on all versions of the album - mono, stereo remaster and “new stereo mixes”. Personally I much prefer the stereo versions. Just listen to “Rollin’ And Tumblin” in mono then in stereo. The difference is seismic. However, that doesn't mean the mono recordings are not listenable. They are - very much so. They are thumpingly bassy and I love that. The sound comes pumping right of the centre of the speakers and the bass just shakes the room. So, there is still a hell of a lot to be gained from listening to the mono recordings.
The alternative versions and outtakes are of a much higher standard than that type of recording often is and the “live at the BBC” material is excellent, as I have found all such BBC stuff is. A bit ropey in places and in mono as per BBC radio recordings of the time, but they are a fine document of the period.