Cream: Gigantes del Pop, Vol. 23 (1981)

Bearing in mind that the sound quality on this cassette curdled years ago, it goes without saying that the “orange” rating applies to the elpee version.* The Gigantes Del Pop series were compilations ostensibly made for Spain that somehow made their way into American (and presumably other) hands. The featured artists were usually superstars, the material culled often less than stellar. While I wouldn’t call this volume the cream of the crop, the selections are whey better than some editions. Instead of the usual pre-star material, there are studio versions of “White Room” and “Sunshine of Your Love” that you’d find on a “proper” greatest hits album. In between are live versions of “I’m So Glad” and “Sleepy Time Time” that presumably come from the official live releases (Goodbye, Live Cream). The problem with tracking these down is the copyright credit, which lists many of the live tracks as dating from 1972. A little detective work for a rainy day, I suppose. Oddly, the cassette closes with “After Midnight,” which was of course an Eric Clapton track. So this compilation is a little sloppy, unnecessarily accommodating of live material (you can imagine how painful that is on an old tape), and ultimately inessential. If you can find it for four bucks on vinyl, grab it, but don’t even think about spending ten bucks for this unless you’re a collector. Even then, it’s probably one of the last Cream compilations you need. *Yes, I used to rank my reviews according to colors. I had even thought of ranking them along the erection hardness scale (out of my disgust for numerical rankings) or along a marxian scale, but chico and harpo proved problematic (while groucho and zeppo are universally established absolutes).

The Songs
1. I Feel Free (Jack Bruce/Peter Brown)
2. Sitting On Top of the World (live) (Chester Burnett)
3. Sunshine of Your Love (Jack Bruce/Peter Brown/Eric Clapton)
4. Strange Brew (Eric Clapton)
5. I’m So Glad (live) (Skip James)
6. Sleepy Time Time (live) (Jack Bruce/Janet Godfrey)
7. Spoonful (Willie Dixon)
8. N.S.U. (Jack Bruce)
9. White Room (Jack Bruce/Peter Brown)
10. After Midnight (J.J. Cale)

The Plastic
Released on elpee and cassette in 1981 in Spain (RSO, 24 79 256/32 15 047).

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