Those Were The Days (Boxset) Best of, Box set
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Specially repackaged 2008 edition of this four CD box set consisting of 63 tracks that divide Cream's short but immensely influential career into two halves. The first two discs feature every studio track the group ever released, plus a handful of unreleased tracks, alternate takes and rarities. The other two discs are devoted to restored live material, which bring to life some of Cream's finest eclectic moments in concert such as Live At Winterland in San Francisco 1968. The power trio of guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker were visionary with their distinctive sound, a unique collision of Blues, Jazz, Folk and Psychedelic Rock that not only defined the band's identity but captured the thrilling heady atmosphere of the late 1960s and set the ground work for rock bands that followed in the 1970s. This remarkably comprehensive collection comes complete with an extensive booklet, rare photographs and digitally remastered recordings. Universal.
Cream was the first of three supergroups spawned by the Yardbirds' three stellar axmen (they preceded the original Jeff Beck Group by a year and Jimmy Page's Led Zeppelin by two). The trio of guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Jack Bruce, and drummer extraordinaire (and band founder) Ginger Baker earned a reputation for fiery live performances rife with improvised blues-based jams (epitomized by Willie Dixon's "Spoonful") that could last half an hour. Two of this set's four discs are devoted to live Cream, showcasing prowess and interplay so powerful as to overshadow its occasional lapses into self-indulgence. Clapton admirers more familiar with his latter-day laid-back persona may be shocked at the incendiary musician showcased on these live cuts. Cream progressed over the course of its three and a half studio records (included here in their entirety). Electric blues evolution was their forte, but they also captured sounds that were moody and acoustic-tinged ("As You Said," "Passing the Time"), music-hall-influenced ("Mother's Lament," "Wrapping Paper"), and progressively poetic ("Deserted Cities of the Heart," "Pressed Rat and Warthog"). --Jerry McCulley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
All the studio tracks have been put together on the first 2 CD's and the live tracks have been grouped together on the other two CD's. For the studio tracks, they have been kept in the same order as they appeared on the original albums.
The first album, Fresh Cream, was released in the early days of stereo, when records were released in both mono and stereo versions. There were rumors that mixing the mono and stereo records and record players could damage the album or your needle. In the early days of stereo, there was a lot of experimentation. The stereo separation on Fresh Cream was severe. Certain vocals or instruments are all on one side. The original stereo sound was faithfully duplicated on the CD. With today's sound systems, the stereo separation just sounds wierd. But, the songs are excellent.
The additional 8 studio tracks are of little value. Some of them, like Wrapping Paper, are not very good. There is a Falstaff beer commercial that is interesting to hear once (Jefferson Airplane had Levi's commercials). If you already own the 6 Cream albums, these additional studio tracks aren't enough to justify buying this boxset. But, it you already own all 6 Cream albums, you are probably such a Cream fanatic, you will buy this boxset anyway.
The live tracks are put in a new order. The versions of Toad and NSU are longer than the original versions that appeared on the LP's.Read more ›
-Every last one of Cream's studio albums can be found in this compilation.
-You will also find rare tracks unavailable elsewhere in this box set.
-In addition to the studio albums, you get a good deal of live material.
-You save money by purchasing this set. If you were to buy all of Cream's albums separately, you would end up spending more than you would for this box set. The price looks steep at first glance, but in actuality, it's a great deal.
-I have only a single complaint with this set - the band's BBC session recordings can't be found here.
One of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time has put together all of their master works, and at long last, you can get all of these works together in one convenient set. Sure, the set isn't quite perfect, but it doesn't have to be - the quality of the band's music more than makes up for it. If you're a rock and roll fan, and this set isn't in your collection, what the hell are you waiting for?
The "Disraeli Gears" rehearsals are fascinating, though, but it would have been equally wonderful to have some outtakes from the "Fresh Cream" sessions (which are out on bootleg, and have excellent sound quality). I have to say, the live version of "N.S.U." on here is no match for the version found on "Live Cream", and it sounds like some of the live cuts from "Goodbye" that appear here have different mixes. I like how the live tracks all seem to flow together, like one whole show.
For some of the live cuts that aren't on here, like "We're Going Wrong", check out the "Fresh Live Cream" video, as it's excellent. A mono vinyl pressing of "Fresh Cream" is also well worth looking for, as it's a little thicker sounding, and a lot less echoey than the stereo mix that we all know and grind our teeth at.
So, all in all, the boxed set is very good, but don't expect a whole lot of surprises, though it's not without a few of them.
But Cream was different, as they pioneered the form. A trio (fairly radical at the time - rock groups typically had 4-6 members), they came out of the Graham Bond Organisation, John Mayall's Blues Breakers, and of course the Yardbirds where Clapton got his start. The percussionist Ginger Baker and Clapton had developed a friendship while the latter played briefly for Graham Bond (as had Jack Bruce, who also played for Mayall, briefly with Clapton). Confused? Sorry. Anyway, Cream’s chemistry was brilliant, despite the trio having different music backgrounds: Baker's was jazz, Bruce had classical training (cello, piano) and EC was (trying to be) a blues purist. Jazz is mostly based on and is a virtuoso form of blues, and often has classical elements (many jazz artists are classically trained), so the synergy within the trio is not unexpected.
This set has 63 selections representing all their studio work from their first four official releases, and most of the important live performances, some of which was previously released on Wheels of Fire, Goodbye, and Live Vols. 1 & 2. The first two albums were entirely studio creations - quite different from each other in terms of sound: the first - Fresh Cream was recorded in England in 1966, released January 1967, and very bluesy, while Disraeli Gears, recorded mostly in New York in 1967, was more psychedelic, although still very much blues-based.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Most pleased with this collection - now I can retire my vinyl versions.Published 8 months ago by Brian
This a great box set, but the songs are not remaster well or even at all. If you want great sound buy the remastered CDs.Published on April 12 2004 by Ruby
It would be hard to identify another band that accomplished as much in as little time as Cream did. This 4 CD box set does perfect justice to them because it contains almost... Read morePublished on Aug. 15 2002 by the dirty mac
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why Eric Clapton was inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame three times? Or why Clapton has at least 4 box sets dedicated to his music? Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2002 by jbembe
I can see how some find the sound to be not as crips, unless it were vinyl, that some folks would like. Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2002 by Eric E. Weinraub
If you are a serious classic rock collector this set must be part of your personal collection. Cream short career of three years was one of the most influencias in rock history by... Read morePublished on Dec 21 2001 by Luis C. Diaz
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of this band. It is often pointed out that Cream was the first and strongest of the Power Trios that would become musical fixtures... Read morePublished on Dec 19 2001 by R. dolce
"Those Were The Days" is a Cream box set containing 2 disks of their complete studio recordings with some unissued tracks and alternate takes, and 2 disks of live... Read morePublished on Nov. 21 2001 by J. E FELL
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