Although music historians may contest this, the Derek and Clive fan's amongst us know who Ginger Baker is. Ginger Baker went to Africa to 'teach the blacks how to drum'. So as inventor of tribal rhythm and it seems drumming itself the man has a lot to live up to.
Well much of his career was spent sporting a very fucking brave ginger beard, the kind that (gingerness aside) many a Hoxton hipster would shoot their mum for right now. So cool beard -Brownie points. Same points deducted for Cream. I have tried and tried with this band and despite the sleeve of 'Disraeli Gears' being nothing short of a full blown corker, I've never made it all the way through. My passionate distaste for the boy Clapton doesn't help but that aside, electric blues, it seems is just not my thing, especially at the hands of a bunch of London? dandies who couldn't be further removed from the root reason of Blues if they tried.
So why buy the above? You might ask. Well Fela Kuti's on it and if Fela Kuti's on it, according to the poker faced used record shop masses, it must be good. On this occasion they aren't wrong. If I could get the theme from Italian daytime cartoon 'Mr Rosi' out of my head the opener would be huge. As it is, even with the silent overtures of said cartoon theme tune it is utterly enjoyable.
Track two opens with a Graham Bond sounding organ groove that stays for the entirety of the track. Although the drums are obviously the focal point they don't suffocate the proceedings as you might expect. The same echo of backing singers features on this track as the opener, I have no idea what they are singing, I don't really care, musically it works for me.
Anyway, I picked this up from my weekend bolt-hole Nuremberg's 'Copacabana' records. I will have to ask Mauritzio why he named his shop after a Barry Manilow song... a good Manilow song admittedly. It's in insanely good condition and if it weren't for the cut out on the sleeve I would have guessed it was a repress or bootleg. Luckily that and the smell convinced me otherwise. You can actually smell the year 1972 on it and not in a bad way either, none of this over tones of 'damp cellar' or 'from a smoking home', it really smells like 1972. Besides the records bouquet it sounds brand new.
And so the electric blues guitar wankery begins, Carlos Santana might as well be in the fucking building. I remember being in a motel bar in Jackson Mississippi many years ago. Minding my own business, I nodded in the general direction of the duke box.
'You know what the greatest album ever recorded is?'
'The greatest album ever recorded... You know what it is?'
'No.' (At the time the answer was Love - Forever Changes but I wasn't about to die in a bar brawl for Arthur Lee)
'Abraxas. Abraxas is the greatest album ever made. Santana man, great fucking band. Abraxas is...Abraxas is... Abraxas.'
'Damn straight, Abraxas.'
I'd been under the impression that it was fucking hideous Hispanic blues funk excrement but he seemed very passionate about it all so I bought the next copy I saw.
The man at the motel bar was an idiot.
Anyway, back to our friend Ginger. Carlos Santana is gone and the drums are OWN! I wonder if his military style flourishes are the reason for his post Cream band names? Wow, these drums just keep coming. I wonder if his arms hurt? I wonder if he's bored yet? I don't mind it, it kind of settles into a slowly speeding hypnotic groove. I wonder what the longest drum solo ever is? The track 'Blood Brothers' over 'Coda' the albums parting shot begins with an inaudible vocal sample and something playing backwards. It's great. Nice bit of piano, what sounds like somebody hitting glass containers filled with water randomly, this is where it's at. And all too soon it is gone.
Yeah, not a bad album at all this, fuck of a lot better than Abraxas or anything else that hat wearing ponce ever did.