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Baker Gurvitz Army - Live

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 20 / 7 / 2011

Baker Gurvitz Army - Live


Carl Bookstein finds worth viewing a 1975 live DVD from Ginger Baker's then band Baker Gurvitz Army, which after his more experimental post Cream work saw him returning to mainstream rock

If you are a Ginger Baker fan from his legendary Cream days, Baker Gurvitz Army‘s ‘Live 1975’ is a DVD worth viewing. This DVD is a live recording filmed in a German television studio for broadcast in February of 1975. The recording features a vintage performance of famed Cream drummer Ginger Baker, who has joined together with Paul and Adrian Gurvitz, along with Peter Lemer and vocalist Steve Parsons. The band Baker Gurvitz Army marked a return to mainstream rock for Baker following his more eclectic and experimental post Cream directions with his bands Ginger Baker’s Airforce and Salt. Baker Gurvitz Army released three studio albums between 1974 and 1976. ‘Inside of Me’ starts the DVD off with a soulful vocal and stirring blues rock instrumentals. Ginger Baker is a force with a jazz like drumming technique. The lead guitar is moving and the band is in synch, rounded out by keyboards and bass. The lyric “There’s something wrong to what we see” is heard as the band gels together with an impressive blues based rock performance. ‘Whatever It Is’ features classic 1970s jam rock and first rate musicianship. ‘The Gambler’ starts with a soaring lead guitar intro and succeeds as a musically evocative number: “You, you are a blind man and a blind man cannot see/You, you are a gambler… no mistake can be made.” ‘Mad Jack’ is a high energy extended composition with some novel vocal assistance from Ginger Baker. This DVD truly works as a fascinating time capsule of Baker in the 1970s. ‘Freedom’ is pure blues and on ‘Remember’, Baker’s drums are positively in the zone. This is likewise on ‘Memory Lane’, where Baker explodes with a super solo. ‘People (Like You and Me)’ closes the DVD with one of the recording’s absolute high points. The lyric “Now is the time to put it all together” offers a fine conclusion. With Baker’s cascading drums, the band jams out to the hilt as we see five musicians fully in a symbiotic groove. The recording closes with the lyric “We know what it’s like to be free… people like you and me.” If you are feeling nostalgic for the work of Ginger Baker, Baker Gurvitz Army‘s ‘Live 1975’captures some natural and appealing interplay amongst musicians.

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