63 tracks, EVERY studio recording they waxed (all newly remastered) with a host of rarities, plus 2 CDs of live material, much of it rare or unreleased. Inside the Disraeli Gears -style day-glo box is a 48-page full-color booklet containing notes and rare photos.
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