TITLE: Fresh Cream
YEAR RELEASED: 1966
CHART ACTION: #39 US, #6 UK
SINGLES: I Feel Free (#116 US, #11 UK) (US Version), Spoonful
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Sweet Wine, I’m So Glad, Toad, probably others
LINEUP: Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Blues band hot shots form a power trio and focused on electrifying the blues on this first release..
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Except for “I Feel Free” (which was not on the original UK release, because you know, singles never being on albums there), not many stations play anything off of this album unless they’re into deep cuts. The reason is that it’s more of a blues exploration than any blues / rock / psychedelic combo that they’d turn to on future albums.
Half of the album are blues covers, and “Sleepy Time Time” is an original that’s definitely rooted in the blues – and “Sweet Wine” could be somewhat a blues tune (it’s got blues and pop elements).
It’s a great album to listen to how the three players play with each other in traditional song settings (whether more rock and pop oriented like “I Feel Free”) or in the blues (“I’m So Glad”, etc.). It’s not commercial for the most part, but that’s also part of its charm – you’re not sick of these songs.
But…there’s a drum solo in “Toad”. Not as long as he’d whip out in concert, but still…
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The original US pressing omitted “Spoonful”, which is odd because that’s one of the songs most identified with Cream (from this era, at least).
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: The Swedish vinyl pressing had their first single “Wrapping Paper” AND a rare track (“The Coffee Song”) appended to the album.
GRADE: B+. The drum solo tips it into the B+ range.