CREAM: a Deluxe Box Set of the album with rarities

14th April 2017

Title: Fresh Cream

Label: Polydor

This deluxe box set comprises three CDs plus a Blu-ray audio disc that arrives in a gatefold sleeve within a rigid slipcase and includes a 64-page hardback book, featuring new sleeve notes by Rolling Stone writer, David Fricke. The set comprises various alternate and new stereo mixes plus several, previously unreleased BBC sessions.

Specifically, the first disc provides the mono master plus the A- and B-sides of the mono singles, mono French EPs plus a session recording of The Coffee Song. The second disc offers the stereo version of the album plus seven previously unreleased stereo mixes and three session recordings of I Feel Free, Wrapping Paper and The Coffee Song. The third disc looks at early versions, out-takes and alternative mixes of the songs plus BBC sessions from November 1966 to January 1967 for The Saturday Club, Guitar Club and R&B Club. The Blu-ray disc includes the US stereo version of the album, bonus stereo tracks plus the US mono version of the album. The Blu-ray disc files are sampled at 24bit/96kHz. In all, 19 tracks within this box set, of one form or another, are previously unreleased.

The CD masters are excellent in that they are relatively quiet while retaining and open and informative nature. The mids are smoothly implemented with enough elbow room in between instruments to enable the music to flow with ease. There’s never any sense that frequencies are falling over each other to reach your ear. The sonics flow with ease although they tend to flow more successfully via the mono mixes rather than the ‘novelty’ stereo version whose mix sounds rather forced and clunky to these ears.

An informative, detailed and well constructed set that should have something for every Cream fan.