25 July 2022

Drummers should never lead bands

One of my all-time favourite albums is Disraeli Gears, from Cream. In fact, I think it is probably one of the greatest pop/rock albums ever! What I have never understood, however, is how Ginger Baker could be so magnificent with Cream and so rubbish afterwards. I saw him at Birmingham Town Hall, with his own band Airforce soon after Cream broke up, and it was terrible. I made the mistake of buying the album a couple of years ago, partially recorded at the concert I attended. It wasn’t any better than my memory suggested, in fact because of the appalling recording quality, probably worse. It did remind me of the self-indulgent thrashing around by Baker, though. By and large, drummers should probably avoid leading bands! (Gene Krupa and possibly Buddy Rich excepted.)

I still don’t know the answer to my rhetorical question, but I suspect that it lies in the fact that Cream were a real trio – not a backing group for one musician. Anyway, just as a reminder of Baker at his best, here is White Room, from the reunion concert in 2005. Sadly, we will never see another one, with both Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker now gone.

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