Old Polydor CD "Strange Brew-The Very Best Of Cream" mastered by Dennis Drake. Best sound, cheap!

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Dec 25, 2016.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Merry Christmas, all. The kids and wife have gone down south and I'm up here in LA, lonely so I did something I hadn't done in a long time: Listened to the rock favorites of my youth, on my best Audio Note UK system.

    I felt like hearing some Cream and when I do, I always pull out this old CD that probably is out there for 50 cents now. It's called "CREAM: The Very Best Of Cream" on the label and on the spine it's called "STRANGE BREW - THE very BEST of CREAM."

    Of course this was an early 1980s LP comp. that was converted to CD in the late 1980's I guess. It's Polydor Made in USA 811639-2. I bought it at CD Banzi in LA back in the day. It was the first "natural" sounding Cream CD out there. Mastered by our old "good sound buddy" Dennis Drake.

    And here is the kicker, Bill Levenson told me that Dennis did what I would have done, go back to the original album tracks instead of using a tape Greatest Hits dub.

    It has NO actual mastering compression, just correct levels, correct playback bandwidth. Really, the sound will never win any awards but you can (on a really good system) clearly hear what is meant to be heard and you don't need a pair of old Altecs either.

    Now, I'm sure these songs have been remastered many times since then (some even by me) but the tricky 150-400 cycle range of Jack Bruce's bass is left "as is" here and now I find that pleasing, since I have a system that can truly play it back with total accuracy. I find the sound charming, dated but never harsh but almost lush on some songs.

    One thing I can clearly here on this disk, is that Jack Bruce's bass sound, which I used to find so annoying, is actually pleasing. His bass is NEVER going to sound deep or rich but it can be heard clearly and his weird (used to hate it) out of tune up the neck playing I really dig now.

    In fact, Old Jack seems to be playing slightly sharp on every song here. Listen to Sunshine or Badge. Yikes, SOOOO SHARPPPP!

    Nonetheless, I bet this is a used CD that NO ONE wants anymore so spend a few dollars and here these songs the way the tapes actually sound. If it drives you crazy, just EQ 'em up a bit. But I really dig this now.

    Remember, this is just sort of a sampler, it's missing several crucial songs (like THOSE WERE THE DAYS, etc.)

    Track listing:

    SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE (full length album version)
    CROSSROADS (live, 4:13 concert length, same as the alt. takes)
    WHITE ROOM (Full length album version)
    SAVAGE SEVEN THEME (Anyone For Tennis)
    SPOONFUL (Studio version).

    All songs stereo, mastered post "discovery" of original US Atlantic tapes so it's good to go.

    Grab a copy of this, make sure it's the DENNIS DRAKE mastered version. Don't get the GERMAN Polydor version or the RSO version by mistake. There is only one, this is it, from the right tapes, mastered (for me and other weirdos) the right way.

    Report back.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2021
  2. Myke

    Myke Rock Geezer

  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Boy, if they are saying that 1983 was the CD release date, I'm sure that is wrong.

    Make sure it's the CD version. The LP version pretty much bites.

    Can't go wrong for 99 cents. Heck, I paid that for the dreadful ATCO 45 of CROSSROADS back in the day. The only 45 I ever bought that had no treble and no bass whatsoever.
  4. jamesmaya

    jamesmaya Senior Member

    Mudwest, SoCal
    oldsurferdude likes this.
  5. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    I will have to pick this up and keep the mid 1990s Very Best Of for the key tracks missing from this comp and get more of their albums.
  6. Who mastered Those Were The Days? My copy is in storage.
  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    I'm no expert on CREAM comps. I don't know which one I had, but my CD of it really sucked. Hard, brittle, dreadful, squashed. I listened to 10 seconds of each song in horror and then donated it to my local library where it has no doubt been turning music lovers deaf ever since.

    No idea how many times it was mastered. If yours is post "finding of Atlantic tapes" around 1987 to about 1992, you should be safe, but if Dennis didn't master it, watch out! Some truly dreadful dubs of dubs of dubs with No-Noise on CD out there on CREAM!
    SinnerSaint and Klassik like this.
  8. Myke

    Myke Rock Geezer

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  9. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident

    Las Vegas
    I got this at zias for 2 bucks and have had it for years. I think.I read about it on here ! This is a great sounding CD for the money spent no doubt :)
  10. ricks

    ricks No Title

    The first Cream disc I ever had got it as kid in the late 80's and played it so much the 1 and 0's nearly fell off . Always liked the sound.

    The tray art and disc merely states the compilation creation date which was 1983. The first CD version was either 1985 or 1986. It was once thought due to the 811 series catalog number than a RSO - Polydor "Red Face" exists but given the year it was released on CD and the fact none in 3 decades have shown to be extant the first CD pressing is the "silver face" Polydor WG for US with 01 matrix. The US is the same mastering. Please note there is West Germany pressing for Europe that as I remember does not have the Drake mastering.

    Given these kudos' from Mr Hoffman expect the price of this disc to temporarily go up in price on the internet for the short term :)
  11. Myke

    Myke Rock Geezer

    It was already too high in the Amazon Marketplace, as I checked within 4 minutes of Steve's post.
    Some guy on eBay had 55 copies, selling them for $4.98 each, with free shipping.
    As said above, this isn't the first time it's been recommended in this forum.
  12. ascot

    ascot Senior Member

    I have this disc. :)
  13. Dee Zee

    Dee Zee Once Upon a Dream

    I just bought one for 26 cents on Amazon, hope it's the right one. And will look at the local music store CD Cellar. But I have a 1995 comp very best of with 20 cuts using the "unique new Apogee UV22 process."
    thanks for the tip Steve.
  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Just be aware that anything on CD before 1987 or so was made from the British dubs of the real USA tapes. The Atlantic stash hadn't been rediscovered yet.
  15. Myke

    Myke Rock Geezer

    Apparently the first thing you guys focused in on was the For Sale item, off to the right. It was actually $.99 + $3.50 shipping. I doubt anyone is going to ship a CD for $.99 anymore. :laugh:
    Sneaky Pete and jamesmaya like this.
  16. supermd

    supermd Forum Resident

    San Jose, CA
    Can someone please post the Amazon link for the correct CD version?
  17. Myke

    Myke Rock Geezer

    ecoutez, Klassik, tmtomh and 2 others like this.
  18. fredblue

    fredblue Surrounded by Music

    London, England
    great info thanks! which version is this please?

  19. pool_of_tears

    pool_of_tears Searching For Simplicity

    Eastern Iowa
    jsayers, Baby Driver and eelkiller like this.
  20. tone ded freb

    tone ded freb Forum Resident

    Arizona Snowbowl
    Anyone have the catalog #/UPC? :righton:
  21. Myke

    Myke Rock Geezer

    fredblue likes this.
  22. Myke

    Myke Rock Geezer

    Post # 17.
  23. fredblue

    fredblue Surrounded by Music

    London, England
    Thanks MYKE! So would you say there's a chance it could be the Dennis Drake mastered one Mr.H recommends?

    edit: Referring back to ricks advice on the variations, just checked the matrix in the hub on this one ends in '01' ..looks promising..! Had it for yonks and always enjoyed it.
  24. Myke

    Myke Rock Geezer

    Haven't spent much time on Discogs, have you ? Top left, under the album cover illustration > click on more images > see the rear art ? > enlarge it > note the Dennis Drake mastering credit, and noted UPC code > that should be it, but to be on the safe side, question your chosen seller to be 100% sure.

    Good luck !
    Tommyboy, MLutthans and fredblue like this.
  25. Great CD!

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