Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Baker Gurvitz Army (1974 -Vertigo)

Ginger Baker's mid-'70s profile took another unexpected turn following Cream's blues-rock blood and thunder and his Afro-beat matchups with Fela Kuti.

He formed this straight-ahead power trio with the guitar- and bass-playing brother team of Adrian and Paul Gurvitz, who'd briefly lit up the '60s U.K. charts as Gun (of "Race With the Devil" fame).
Such a step might have seemed subversively normal for Baker, but he and the brothers had an undeniable chemistry; not surprisingly, their debut album is a self-assured, aggressive affair.

"Help Me" and "I Wanna Live Again" are punchy and succinct; so are the hard-driving instrumentals "Love Is" and its funkier cousin, "Phil 4." The band leavens their hard-hitting delivery with subtle orchestration and piano; the latter instrument works to haunting effect on the introspective "Memory Lane." There's some engaging humor, too; "Mad Jack"'s lyrics about a reckless outback race are silly, but kitschy fun.

The only real clinker is "Since Beginning," which is bogged down from self-consciously "meaningful" lyrics and meandering delivery; its eight minutes could have benefited from judicious pruning.

Naturally, no Ginger Baker album could pass without some drum solos, but they're tastefully done. He's very much a team player here, in contrast to infamous stick-bashing marathons like "Toad." That said, this album's a strong, decisive statement, and if hard rock's what you crave, you won't be disappointed (by Ralph Heibutzki).

01.Help Me
02.Love Is
03.Memory Lane
04.Inside of Me
05.I Wanna Live Again
06.Mad Jack
07.4 Phil
08.Since Beginning

Baker Gurvitz Army:
*Ginger Baker: drums
*Adrian Gurvitz: guitar, vocals
*Paul Gurvitz: bass guitar, backing vocals

BakerGurvitzArmy...The Baker Gurvitz Army75.mustang.rar