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Cream: Classic Album Selection / Eric Clapton: Live Album Collection 1970-80

Album Review

Reissues of full catalogue of first ‘supergroup’, plus vinyl editions of Clapton live.

It’s often hard to credit that Cream as an entity never made it to the 70s, as so much about them – their bluesy heaviness, their virtuoso prog digressions – anticipates what became of rock early in that decade. Indeed, they were rock before the abbreviated term had been coined as such. And yet they’re a band who instantly and immediately appealed in their own era, a product of the British blues boom who transmogrified from mere transatlantic copyists into a group who were as right for the times as Carnaby Street.

There were strong similarities with The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Hendrix’s arrival in the UK certainly shocked and energised Clapton. However, whereas Hendrix was dominant in his own group, with Cream the dynamic was more even. Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker never saw eye to eye, with Baker never willing to accept that vocalist and songwriter Bruce was the bandleader. It’s as if their quarrelling powered the rhythm section.

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