Fresh Cream, I remember when it came out in 1966 of December of that yea. Fresh Cream represents so many different firsts, it's difficult to keep count. Cream, of course, was the first supergroup, but their first album not only gave birth to the power trio, it also, was instrumental in the birth of heavy metal and the birth of jam rock. That's a lot of weight for one record and, like a lot of pioneering records, Fresh Cream doesn't seem quite as mighty as what would come later, both from the group and its acolytes.
Fresh Cream was a remarkable shift forward in rock upon its 1966 release and it remains quite potent. Certainly at this early stage the trio was will grouded heavily in blues, only fitting given Eric Clapton's stint in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, which is were he first played with bassist, Jack Bruce, but Cream never had the purist bent of Mayall, and not just because they dabbled heavily in psychedelia. The rhythm section of Bruce and Ginger Baker had a distance jazzy bent to thier beat, ths isn't hard and pure, it's spongy and lastic, giving the musicians plenty of room to roam.
Disraeli Gears: Cream teamed up with producer Felix Papplardi for their second album, Disraeli Gears, a move that helped push the power trio toward psychedelia and also helped give he album a thematic coherence missing from the debut. This of course, means that Disraeli Gears gets further away from the pure blues improvisatory troupe they were intended to be, but it does get them to who they truly are, a massive, innovative power trio.
Yes, its psychedelic trappings tie it forever to 1967, but the imagination of the arrangements, the strength of the compositions, and especially the force of the musicianship make this album transcend its time as well.
Wheels Of Fire: If Disraeli Gears was the album were Cream came into their own, its successor Wheels Of Fire, finds, the trio in full flight, capturing every side of their personality, even hinting at the internal pressures that soon would tear the band asunder.
I love all of their music.