Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Cream – The Best of Cream (Atco, 1969)

This was a bargain bin find for me a while back, bringing back memories of all the British 60’s rock that was a staple (along with the Grateful Dead and Bob Marley) of the college dormitories I lived in during the in the early 1990’s. This was the first in a long line of Cream reissues and collections, gathering some of the singles the band released during their brief run and staying clear of the extended jamming they were known for in concert.

By sticking to the hits this record (supplanted on compact disc by any number of compilations) packs quite a punch in a short period of time. Selections from each of their albums is represented, including some excellent blues covers of the Albert King classic “Born Under a Bad Sign” as well as Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” and a manic high-wire version of Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads” with Eric Clapton playing some scalding guitar and singing.

Cream was a very influential band, setting the standard for power trios in rock and roll for everyone from the Jimi Hendrix Experience onward to follow. This record is out of print, but if you are a vinyl crate-digger it can probably be found without much effort and makes for an excellent introduction to the band.

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