Personnel: Eric Clapton (vocals, guitar); Jack Bruce (vocals, harmonica, piano, bass guitar); Ginger Baker (vocals, drums, percussion).
Liner Note Author: Scott Schinder.
Recording information: Atlantic Studios, New York (03/15/1967); Ryemuse Studios, London (03/15/1967); Atlantic Studios, New York (04/03/1967); Ryemuse Studios, London (04/03/1967); Atlantic Studios, New York (04/1967-05/1967); Ryemuse Studios, London (04/1967-05/1967).
Photographers: Chuck Stewart; Don Paulsen.
Arranger: Robert Stigwood.
Cream's first album, 1967's Fresh Cream, was still very much a blues-based affair filtered through rock's emerging power trio format. When the group released Disraeli Gears later that same year, the psychedelic trappings of the new album's lyrics disguised the fact that it was still very much blues-based, and this rarities collection (which consists of the mono mix edition of Disraeli Gears plus a handful of outtakes and demos) makes that point clear. The group took a couple of stabs at a version of "Lawdy Mama" during the Disraeli sessions, and the main riff in the song became the central riff of "Strange Brew," which, lyrics aside, is "Lawdy Mama" dressed up in new clothes. Both versions of "Lawdy Mama" are included here, along with a couple of alternate versions of "Blue Condition." The mono mix of the album brings out the vocals a little more but doesn't differ markedly from the more familiar stereo mix. It's fun to hear the outtakes and alternates, but this set is really for die-hard Cream fans only. Casual listeners should probably just stick with the stereo version of the original album. ~ Steve Leggett