BAKER GURVITZ ARMY
The Baker Gurvitz Army were formed after a night’s drinking in The Speakeasy, a London club famed as a hangout for musicians. The Gurvitz brothers, Adrian and Paul (ex of The Gun, best known for the track ‘Race With The Devil’), approached Ginger Baker about becoming their drummer in a new band. Baker agreed, after an initially aggressive response, and after a jamming session the next day, the trio decided to work together and the eponymously titled debut album was released in 1974.
Fast forward a year to 1975 and the band found themselves touring with the addition of Peter Lemer on keyboards and vocalist Mr Snips (aka Stephen Parsons). This album is taken from that tour, with the bulk of the tracks (nine) being taken from a gig at The New Victoria Theatre in London, whilst the others seem to be from other shows on the tour (the audience are addressed in Italian at one point).
Most, if not all, of the songs have a very loose structure and are more like vehicles for jamming with extended guitar and drum sections to the fore and vocals kept to the necessary minimum. The best examples of this are ‘Space Machine’ with a sub-psychedelic vibe, ‘Remember’ and ‘People’.
The concentration on instrumental performance and musicianship is taken to the nth degree by the inclusion of an eight-minute drum solo. I recognise that Baker was one of the foremost drummers of his generation and it may please those listeners who understand and appreciate the finer technicalities of drumming but, to my mind, this is just a tad gratuitous.
This release is wrapped up by an excellent, if in the context of the rest of the album rather short version, of ‘Sunshine Of You Love’, which Baker dedicates to Jimi Hendrix. Overall, this isn’t a bad listen but I think it may be more suited to the completist looking to add to their Ginger Baker or Adrian Gurvitz collection rather than to the casual purchaser.
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ON THE ROAD AGAIN (LIVE)
Review by Dave Uphill
20th Sept 2019
1) Inside of Me
2) Love Is; 3) The Hustler
4) Time; 5) Space Machine
6) The Artist; 7) Freedom
8) Remember; 9) People
10) Drum Solo (Bonus Track)
11) Hearts of Fire (Bonus Track)
12) Help Me (Bonus Track)
13) Ginger Intro (Bonus Track)
14) Sunshine of Your Love (Bonus Track)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...may be more suited to the completist looking to add to their Ginger Baker or Adrian Gurvitz collection rather than to the casual purchaser."