Cream are not one of my favourite bands. In fact, when I set aside their influence and importance in rock history, I'd consider Cream to be highly over-rated.
For despite being comprised of three of the best musicians of the 1960's (rolling and tumbling Ginger Baker on drums, nimble fingered Jack Bruce on bass, and the incomparable Eric Clapton doing his thing on guitar), Cream were notorious under-achievers throughout their short lifespan.
A thorough examination of the Cream discography will reveal several things. First and foremost, Jack Bruce was a terrible singer. Not only is his voice unpleasant, he often sings off-key! And it doesn't help that the material he sings is unforgivably inane and ridiculous.
Cream albums also sound amateurish - not in the playing, but in the production. Baker's drums sound like biscuit tins, and Bruce's sprawling basslines often disappear in the mix. Lastly, Cream didn't possess a first-rate songwriter. While all three members did manage to come up with some strong material, every Cream record is loaded with filler and blues covers.
That said, Cream are still an exciting band to listen to. A single listen to Strange Brew: The Very Best of Cream
will leave you begging for more. So it's worth acquiring a couple of their albums.
I was really looking forward to bashing Fresh Cream
- I wrote that harsh opening paragraph and was ready to dig my teeth in and attack. And when I first listened to the entire Cream discography, I thought with this album that I'd found the sacred cow that I was ready to slaughter.
But after absorbing Cream's albums over time, my feelings towards the band have softened. Probably because I realized that while the majority of their material is certainly not in the same league as some of their contemporaries - Led Zeppelin / Hendrix / The Who - their music was relatively harmless. Even with their worst offences - such as Baker's drum solo "Toad" - rather than cringe and be disgusted, I just let the track pass.
by Reviewer: Marco Marco