Rock trailblazers Cream will have their BBC Sessions album released in a 2LP deluxe vinyl edition by UMC/Polydor on 22 November. First issued in 2003, it’s a remarkable record of the live sessions performed for the British broadcaster between 1966 and 1968 by Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.
Cream recorded eight sessions for the BBC between 21 October 1966 and 9 January 1968, and the album contained highlights from seven of them, in the first-ever commercial release of all but two of the tracks. BBC Sessions stood as a fascinating, alternative history of Cream’s all-too-brief reign, and was then also included as the third disc in the 2005 limited edition box set of their I Feel Free – Ultimate Cream compilation.
The collection features live versions of some of Cream’s best-known hits such as ‘I Feel Free,’ ‘Strange Brew’ and ‘Sunshine Of Your Love,’ and other well-known album tracks including ‘N.S.U.,’ ‘Tales Of Brave Ulysses,’ ‘We’re Going Wrong’ and ‘Politician.’ The sessions also saw the band digging deep into their admiration for traditional blues numbers such as the traditional ‘Cat’s Squirrel’ and ‘Lawdy Mama’ as well as Blind Joe Reynolds’ ‘Outside Woman Blues.’
The BBC Music review of the album in 2003, by Chris Jones, enthused: “There’s a lesson to be learned by the likes of Spiritualized, Lambchop and the Polyphonic Spree here. With Cream less really was more. Who needs three bassists and a marimba player when you can make as sophisticated and joyous a noise with just three musicians?”
Adam Williams, writing in Popmatters, noted: “The release of BBC Sessions adds to the band’s legacy by showcasing its capacity for brilliance even in spartan confines. Recorded over a period of 14 months and seven separate gigs, BBC Sessions provides glimpses of the band in its developmental stages, and evidences its incredibly rapid coalescence into the ultimate heavy virtuoso group.”
BBC Sessions is released in a 2LP deluxe vinyl edition on 22 November. Buy it here.