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(Baker, Bruce, and Moore) - Around The Next Dream
Review No: 280
Ginger Baker: Drums
Gary Moore: Guitar, Vocals
Jack Bruce: Bass, Vocals
(Tommy Eyre: Keyboards)
When the Pattaya Mail first unleashed Mott the Dog on an unsuspecting public in 2000, the column was called ‘Forgotten Classics’. But after a short time, Mott let his mask slip and ripped into a couple of well established artists (Elton John, Mettalica, Yes, and The Scorpions, all got a good lickin’, for proof of this please have a look at Mott’s own kennel on his website at www.mott-the-dog.com). It was pointed out that perhaps ‘Forgotten Classics’ was not the correct title for the column, so after a redesign and re-naming by Tony and Ella Crew, Mott had to take the blame for his utterances on his own head.
Two major comments about Mott the Dog have always been: Why so many five star reviews? Where can I buy the albums reviewed? Well, the answer to the first question is mostly Mott the Dog only listens to music he likes, so therefore mainly five star reviews, and most of the music reviewed is only available through such mail order companies such as www.amazon.com or by download. This last fact unfortunately is the world over as there are now fewer and fewer actual music shops as we move ever more and more into the ‘On-Line’ age. But if the column was still called ‘Forgotten Classics’ then ‘Around The Next Dream’ would certainly come into that category.
After the original supergroup power trio Cream broke up in 1968, it seemed that every decade Jack Bruce had a go at recreating the formula with other famous musicians. In the Seventies we were presented with West, Bruce, and Laing, a combination of Leslie West, lead guitar and vocals, and Corky Laing, on the drums, both ex-Mountain, playing with Jack Bruce. They produced two of the worst two albums ever to escape the recording studio in Why Dontcha (1972) and then even worse Whatever Turns you On (1973). How such three talented musicians could come up with such dross is beyond me. Columbia Records should hang their collective heads in shame for allowing the release of this stuff. Even the album covers were amongst the worst ever.
West, Bruce, and Laing did at least release posthumously
a live album called Live ‘n’ Kickin, which showed that they
could produce the goods on stage. Tellingly, of the four numbers on the
live album only one comes from either of the studio albums, and that is
a completely re-worked The Doctor, whilst the other three are a fifteen
minute version of The Stones classic Play With Fire including a fire-eating
drum solo from Corky Laing, a definitive version of Politician before
Jack Bruce is let rip on an extended jam of Powerhouse Sod. The band split
Waiting In The Wings
In the Eighties Jack Bruce tried again, this time with ex-Procol Harum, and axe hero in his own right, guitarist Robin Trower, and drummer Bill Lordan. Two more albums were produced, the excellent BLT (1981) (one cannot help but wonder if Bill Lordan was not chosen just so he could be the lettuce in the BLT), followed by the slightly lacklustre Truce (1982). To be fair to this ensemble they never stood a chance in the apathy faced by real rock musicians in the early Eighties, so this combination rather fell by the wayside due to neglect. Each artist returned to their solo careers.
Then in the Nineties, after an impromptu jam at Jack Bruce’s 50th Birthday celebrations, the seeds for a new power trio were planted. One of the major factors in Cream breaking up was that Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce could not stand the sight of each other; musically the perfect combination as a driving rhythm section, but personality wise, oh dear. As far back as 1963 Ginger Baker had gone for Jack Bruce with a large knife when the two were together in The Graham Band Organization.
But, with great tact and diplomacy, old wounds were healed and it was decided to join forces once more to provide two thirds of BBM with mercurial young guitarist Gary Moore (ex Colosseum 2, Skid Row, Thin Lizzy and a successful solo career). When this trio was announced to the press, most of the comments from knowledgeable journalists at the time were that Baker and Bruce would only last minutes before fists would start to fly. It was like lighting the blue touchpaper and waiting for the fireworks.
Producing themselves, with help from Ian Young, the band secluded themselves in Outside and Samm studios, reappearing six weeks later with a massive fifty two minutes worth of hard rock inlayed with the blues. There is not a filler track in sight; every song stood its own ground. At the time there were many comparisons made with some songs bearing resemblances to Cream classics, but then what did people expect? There were two thirds of Cream playing together for the first time in over twenty five years.
The album mixes great rockers, such as opener Waiting In The Wings and the incendiary I Wonder Why (Are You So Mean To Me), to classic ballads, like Wrong Side Of Town and Naked Flame, which give Jack Bruce a chance to show off his vocal talents.
The album also includes some rock solid mid tempo numbers allowing the band to showcase their individual skills; for example, Why Does Love (Have To Go Wrong) where for the last three minutes of its allotted eight and a half minute duration, Gary Moore is allowed to totally wig out on guitar, bringing the song to an epic climax. Without a shadow of a doubt the best guitar solo Moore has ever laid down in the studio, and yes I have heard Still Got The Blues For You, Black Rose, etc.
Can’t Fool The Blues is probably the choice cut on the platter, combining great lyrics, Ginger Baker’s driving drums, dexterous bass work, and Gary Moore again enjoying himself immensely on guitar.
The guys had cheated a little bit by straying ever so slightly from the power trio formula, by employing the talents of Tommy Eyre on keyboards, who plays some beautifully refined keyboards, filling out each song admirably.
In between Cream’s, Baker and Bruce were never on such a fine album, and this was certainly the pinnacle of Gary Moore’s guitar playing. A bold statement I know, but remember this is a ‘Forgotten Classic’.
Album sales at first were good, and the band headed out on the road to play some warm up dates in Continental Europe, receiving glowing reviews all the way. Once back on British soil they were booked into London’s prestigious Marquee club for a four night residency. On the first night Gary Moore was all over the place, soloing where he should have been riffing, then fluffing his big moments when they came, cursing the other two on stage: Spinal Tap on stage. When they managed to get off stage and back to the dressing room, a quick and violent row occurred with Gary Moore leaving the premises never to speak to the other two again. Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker went back on stage for a perfunctory encore without a lead guitar. Wryly commenting afterwards that it was not the Baker / Bruce combination that had not worked, but the young guitarist that had imploded the band. Such is life in the rock ‘n’ roll circus. But at least this trio did leave behind a true masterpiece in Around The Next Dream.
In the Noughties (stupid name for a decade), Eric Clapton,
Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker put life into perspective and got Cream together
again, and let’s face it, that is the real thing.