Monday, April 29, 2013

101. Fresh Cream- Cream in Blue



Album: Fresh Cream
Artist: Cream
Year: 1966
Genre: Rock

Tracks
  1. N.S.U.
  2. Sleepy Time Time
  3. Dreaming
  4. Sweet Wine
  5. Spoonful
  6. Cat's Squirrel
  7. Four Until Late
  8. Rollin' And Tumblin'
  9. I'm So Glad
  10. Toad

Fresh Cream is the debut album by the English supergroup and according to Rolling Stone Magazine it's their finest moment. Which is odd because it's got none of their best songs.

Unlike later Cream albums which contained some great original compositions (Strange Brew, Sunshine of your love, White Room, Badge etc), their debut focused more on their mutual love of old blues tunes. Clapton's reverence for Robert Johnson (Four Until Late) got an early hearing (he would later record entire albums of Johnson covers) and other blues greats like Skip James, Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon get the cover treatment which helped to popularize the expression White Boy Blues, a derogatory term for music of the American black working class played by white English middle class boys.

The originals on Fresh Cream are all lesser efforts which range from the forgettable Dreaming to the annoying Sleepy Time Time which has one word too many in the title and two minutes too many in the running time time. Toad is an excuse for a drum solo which assumes there is such a thing as an excuse for a drum solo when in reality there is no excuse for a drum solo. At least on the album it's limited to five minutes and eleven seconds, Ginger Baker could stretch it out for close to half an hour in a live performance.

But while the songwriting might be lacking, the playing on Fresh Cream certainly isn't. Clapton might be a middle class English white boy but that doesn't mean he can't play guitar. Bruce was better on his bass than any blues bassist ever needed to be and Ginger Baker is almost as good on the drums as he is bad at personal interaction. The three of them would later fall apart onstage but early in their career they improve each other's playing rather than take away from it.

Personally I'd be happier if they'd dropped all the originals from the album and thrown in some more blues covers instead. It might not be original and they might be ripping off the greats but they played so well I wouldn't care in the least. Besides, it's worth pointing out that the original blues masters who wrote the songs the white boys played weren't complaining, they were cashing their royalty cheques and enjoying the fact that a whole new generations of young people was being turned onto their music.

Highlight: Spoonful
Lowlight: Dreaming

Influenced by: Blues
Influenced: Hendrix

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Grea"

-That's the entire review right there. What does it say about your opinion if you can't even bother to type the final letter of a one word review?

So do you enjoy your Cream Fresh or are you dieting? Let me know below.

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