Cover: Modified
Disreali Gears by
Martin Sharp

Those Were The Days
(Polydor 'Chronicles' 4 CD Boxed Set [Sept 1997])

This boxed (wallet?) set contains the complete released studio recordings, alternate takes, new material (2 CDs), live recordings (with some variations as described below) (2 Cds), and an extensive essay with lots of great photographs. They have been re-mastered and the live recordings also re-mixed. I will only review the new or variant material.

The re-mastering has cleaned up the Fresh Cream recordings and sharpened up Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire (Studio). Felix’s production work has not been altered. They’ve done a good job and retained the original sound – though I’m sure some will disagree with me.

The Live recordings have been seriously renovated for the best. The balance between instruments is now fairly uniform across all the recordings with the imbalance and channel swap of the Goodbye tracks corrected. It’s the drums that really benefit – sharper and higher in the mix (aaah, modern technology!) and the bass guitar is also cleaner. Yes, a great improvement with the Winterland recordings definitely having the sonic edge.

Second Opinion (11th Dec. '97): While listening to the Grande Ballroom bootleg Jack's fuzzy/buzzy bass sound is obvious like the vinyl and original CD's (also check out Jack Bruce Live at the BBC, a 1971 recording not '77 as credited). November Guitar World has a photo of his original EB3 (now owned by Bruce Gary) but the interesting thing is that it states that it has a special diode installed by Dan Armstrong, the guitar designer, which gives it that trademark fuzz but this was after Cream. Also the EB3 is a short scale bass (30" vs 34" standard) which also contibutes to his sound. On the live tracks they seem to have cleaned up the bass too well and significantly reduced that fuzzy tone. That's too much of updating the past to suit modern ears!

Being presented within a concert context strengthens all the live recordings. However it should be recognised that Cream did sets of around an hour so these are not really accurate portrails. But it works well as you can imagine going to the Winterland for the 1st Show (plus bonus encore!) and then coming back for the 2nd(plus bonus encore!) - BLISS.

Two released recordings are not included: NSU from Live Cream which is replaced by a longer alternative and Politician from Goodbye Cream. These and other alternatives from the March and October recordings do open the potential for another possible release.

Compilation Produced by Bill Levenson
Mastered by Joseph M Palmaccio & Suha Gur

CD Art: Detail from
WHEELS inner
sleave by Martin Sharp


CD1 Track 13 Lawdy Mama
This is the alternate version to that on Live Cream and is also on The Alternative. It is the same arrangement as the BBC recording on Crossroads. Clearly it was Cream’s preferred arrangement that Ahmet tried to make into a more traditional blues which, ironically, got renovated into Strange Brew. Its good but hardly spectacular even with multi-tracked lead guitars and vocals. It sounds like Felix remixed and mastered this version even though he's not credited. That might explain why the other version was released as Felix probably didn't touch that after reworking it into Strange Brew, where with this one he could claim production rights, but he's dead now.

CD2 Track 3 Passing The Time
This is the version previously available on the Gold Disc release. It has an additional 90sec of jamming and very good it is! The edit was probably to make the song more pop sounding.

CD2 Track 16 You Make Me Feel (Jack Bruce)
Jack and Eric working up one of Jack’s songs in the early days. Ginger is barely interested! Better quality than the Alternative release.

The following tracks were recorded in early 1967 in London and are called the "Lost Session". They are demos/work ups of 5 of Jack and Pete’s songs. Ginger is now enthusiastically working on Jack’s material!

CD2 Track 17 We’re Going Wrong
Working up the song that would appear on Disraeli Gears. Ginger is just beginning to develop the basic drum pattern.

CD2 Track 18 Hey Now Princess (Bruce/Brown)
A fast tempo that really has Eric playing frantically with a very different style of solo – very Hendrix influenced. Jack recorded a version of this with Ginger on his "Question of Time" CD.

CD2 Track 19 SWLABR
A bluesy version including live harmonica and harmonica overdub (from Jack).

CD2 Track 20 Weird of Hermiston (Bruce/Brown)
Destined to appear on Jack’s brilliant "Songs for a Tailor". Really the bare bones at this stage, including prompts, requiring a lot of work but the potential is clearly there!

CD2 Track 21 The Clearout (Bruce)
Another that appeared on "Songs for A Tailor" (and I always thought it was a Cream song!) but this is purely instrumental (and that is why I’ve left Pete off the song credits). Bare bones but Ginger really gets behind it as Jack’s songs are written with his drums in mind. With a feed back ending and scream -they could have really worked this up into a monster.

CD2 Track 22 Falstaff Beer Commercial (Baker/Bruce/Clapton)
A decent quality master of the ad. Different to the one on Alternative as it includes the voice intro over of the completed advert. A variation on the Sunshine riff recorded in Chicago during October '68 (according to Jack).


CD3 Track 1 NSU
A new version from March 9 Winterland shows! At the bass break before the final vocal chorus it sounds like Ginger bounces a drumstick resulting in Jack and Eric laughing as they start singing. This reassures me that there should be some other great alternates from the March live tapes.

CD3 Track 7 Sunshine of Your Love
This is the same version as on Live Cream Vol 2. I depreciated it in that review but, with the new mix and in the concert like context, it is a lot stronger then I thought. On further listening, its the drums clearer and higher in the mix that improve it. Ginger is really powering along - he's doing lead!

CD4 Track 1 White Room
I had to repeatedly listen to this to convince myself that it wasn’t a different version to that on Live Cream Vol 2. They botched the mix on this with the bass being muddy, guitar too far back, Ginger’s drums too high and, worst of all, the high-hat left. It is possible that the bass was doctored for the original release. A pity, but the only bad effort of the lot.

CD4 Track 2 Politician
This is the Live Cream Vol 2 version where I would have preferred the one from Goodbye.

CD4 Tracks 3,4 I’m So Glad, Sitting on Top of the World
Corrected the imbalanced mix of Goodbye and corrected the channel swap ie now bass left and guitar right. Its definitely the Firebird I on these and you can now hear Jack say "allright" to start jamming when he's finished singing on "Sitting on Top of the World".

CD4 Track 7 Toad
Includes an edited in extended group jam, from the March 8 Winterland show, after the opening riffs and before the original guitar/bass/drums lead into the solo.

CD4 Track 9 Sunshine of Your Love
The Glen Campbell show performance without the ending instrumental coda, much like the version on Fresh Live Cream video.

Fresh Cream Sessions:
1 Wrapping Paper
2 I Feel Free
3 N.S.U.
4 Sleepy Time Time
5 Dreaming
6 Sweet Wine
7 Spoonful
8 Cat's Squirrel
9 Four Until Late
10 Rollin' And Tumblin'
11 I'm So Glad
12 Toad
Disraeli Gears Sessions:
13 Lawdy Mama - (previously unreleased, version 1)
14 Strange Brew
15 Sunshine Of Your Love
16 World Of Pain
17 Dance The Night Away
18 Blue Condition
19 Tales Of Brave Ulysses
20 Swlabr
21 We're Going Wrong
22 Outside Woman Blues
23 Take It Back
24 Mother's Lament
Wheels of Fire Sessions:
1 White Room
2 Sitting On Top Of The World
3 Passing The Time - (unedited version)
4 As You Said
5 Pressed Rat And Warthog
6 Politician
7 Those Were The Days
8 Born Under A Bad Sign
9 Deserted Cities Of The Heart
10 Anyone For Tennis
Goodbye Cream Sessions:
11 Badge
12 Doing That Scrapyard Thing
13 What A Bringdown
Various Sessions:
14 Coffee Song, The [Fresh Cream Sessions]
15 Lawdy Mama - (vers 2 [Disraeli Gears Sessions
previously released on Live Cream])
16 You Make Me Feel -
(previously unreleased, demo version
[Fresh Cream Sessions])
17 We're Going Wrong -
(previously unreleased, demo version
[Lost Session])
18 Hey Now Princess -
(previously unreleased, demo version
[Lost Session])
19 Swlabr -
(previously unreleased, demo version
[Lost Session])
20 Weird Of Hermiston -
(previously unreleased, demo version
[Lost Session])
21 Clearout, The -
(previously unreleased, demo version
[Lost Session])
22 Falstaff Beer Commercial -
(previously unreleased incl voice intro)
March 1968 Live Recordings (Fillmore, Live, Live II):
1 N.S.U. - (previously unreleased alternate)
2 Sleepy Time Time
3 Rollin' And Tumblin'
4 Crossroads
5 Spoonful
6 Tales Of Brave Ulysses
7 Sunshine Of Your Love
8 Sweet Wine
March & October 1968 Live Recordings
(Fillmore, Goodbye, Live II):
1 White Room (not a good remix!)
2 Politician (Live Cream Vol II version)
3 I'm So Glad
4 Sitting On Top Of The World
5 Stepping Out
6 Traintime
7 Toad - (Wheels of Fire - Live at the Fillmore + edit)
8 Deserted Cities Of The Heart
9 Sunshine Of Your Love ("The Glen Campbell Show")
(previously unreleased)

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Loaded 14th October 1997, Modified 4th May. 1998

Since 31st oct 1997