If you play, or have ever wanted to play, improvisational rock and roll, you must have this album. From a musical standpoint, this ranks as among the handful of most influential rock records ever made. Even now, more than 35 years after its making, it is a breathtaking tour de force of musical power and creativity.
I can't think of any live rock recording that comes close to matching the quality of simultaneous improvisation captured on disc 2 of Wheels of Fire. Many people think of Cream as Eric Clapton's band, but disc 2 proves it was a trio of three equally superb musicians. The 16-minute long "Spoonful" jam features a brilliant interplay of guitar (Clapton), drums (Ginger Baker), and bass (Jack Bruce) that builds to climax after climax.
It's hard to communicate now how revolutionary Eric Clapton's guitar work was in the late 1960s. All I can say is, his live solos on "Spoonful" and "Crossroads" inspired and challenged a generation of rock guitarists. Other guitarists may be faster than Clapton, but no one could match his ability to build melodic climaxes one after another.
Disc 1 consists of nine studio recordings that don't measure up to the intensity of the live performances on disc 2, but there are several excellent cuts. "White Room" is probably the most popular cut, but there are several good blues rock numbers--my favorite is "Politician"--featuring strong vocals by Jack Bruce as well as piercing guitar work by Clapton. Overall, if you are a fan of Cream or of blues rock in general, this is an essential CD of historical as well as musical significance.