When I was a young buck, Cream was sort of like your older brother's band.
"Who needs Clapton and Cream when you have Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin" was our general mindset.
When you listen to that first Led Zeppelin record, Page is just playing circles around both Clapton and Hendrix, IMO.
Nevertheless, I dug some of the Cream and Derek & the Dominoes stuff. It was certainly better than EC's later-day, quasi-blues stuff, IMO.