lördag 30 april 2016

Bakerloo - S/T (Progressive Blues-Rock UK 1969)

260:- (SHM-CD Limited Remaster Edition. Liten utgåva från ett litet japanskt skivbolag. Lär ta slut snabbt. Rekommenderas.)

Bakerloo originally formed around 1968 under the moniker 'Bakerloo Blues Line' in the Birmingham area. The line-up then was Dave 'Clem' Clempson on guitar and vocals, Terry Poole on bass and John Hinch on drums. Initially they stuck to a largely blues based set, yet like so many of the innovative acts of the era grew tired of the formula and began to experiment.

They attracted Black Sabbath's future manager Jim Simpson, and attracted a considerable following- enough to win them a slot on John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show 'Top Gear'. However, there was a touch of Spinal Tap syndrome with drummers as Hinch was replaced with a multitude of players until they finally settled on Keith Baker. They also decided to drop the 'Blues Line' and became the shortened Bakerloo, and were put on a package tour called 'Big Bear Ffolly' (which inspired Bakerloo's song of the same name) with other local bands Tea and Symphony, Locomotive (another highly innovative proto prog combo) and Earth, who would of course later evolve into the massively successful Black Sabbath.

They recorded their album prior to getting a record deal under the aegis of legendary, recently deceased producer Gus Dudgeon yet eventually, Simpson secured a deal with the new 'progressive/underground' imprint Harvest Records, which housed the likes of Pink Floyd, Edgar Broughton Band and aforementioned fellow Brummies, Tea and Symphony.

Though the album received very enthusiastic reviews and the band had a sizeable cult following, it sold little. This was a shame, because it remains a genuinely 'progressive' album with blues, jazz, classical and heavy rock meeting head-on, yet seamlessly.

However, internal ructions ripped the band apart anyway and despite some line-up reshuffles, with noted rock drummer Cozy Powell joining the band. That line-up lasted a small amount of time before Jon Hiseman, who had been impressed with Clempson's guitar prowess, invited him to join the legendary jazz rock combo Colosseum. Keith Baker joined Uriah Heep for their classic 'Salisbury' album and Terry Poole turned up on blues/jazz rock innovator Graham Bond's albums of the era.

Clempson, after Colosseum split, went on to work with heavy rockers Humble Pie who were a massive success, and Rough Diamond with ex-Uriah Heep singer David Byron, who were not. Clempson continued to work with a variety of artists. However, the other members seemingly fell off the radar after the 1970s.
Still, Bakerloo's one and only album (a real collector's item in original vinyl format) is a definite underrated classic and has a lot to offer fans of the genre.

This 1969 release is the only album from UK band Bakerloo, their existence cut short by guitarist Dave 'Clem' Clempson jumping ship to John Hiseman's Colosseum. A band in the classic power trio tradition aka Cream, they played powerful Blues Rock with a Jazzy edge clearly evident on opening track and instrumental Big Bear Ffolly. From Clempson's dextrous playing it's clear why he was soon to be sought by Hiseman for Colosseum.

Bring It On Home is the Willie Dixon number brought to wider attention by Led Zeppelin's bombastic version on their second album. Bakerloo play a more restrained and no doubt more faithful to the original rendition, though I must admit to preferring the explosive qualities brought to the piece by Zeppelin.

Drivin' Bachwards treads the same territory as Bouree by Jethro Tull being based on a piece as the title suggests by composer Johann Sebastian Bach, though with a faster tempo than Tull used.

Last Blues' restrained beginnings soon give way to more dextrous instrumental interplay before returning to where we started to close. Despite the main appeal of the band lying in Clempson's guitar work, bassist Terry Poole and drummer Keith Baker make up a fine rhythm section, clearly evident in Gang Bang which some may be put off by it being a vehicle for a Baker drum solo.

This Worried Feeling is a typical laid back formulaic blues number which is good enough, though not spectacular but as expected Clempson rises to the occasion.

The album closes with the 15 minute Son Of Moonshine, a driving bluesy rocker, the type of track that lends itself to endless jamming that goes on forever..and it almost does!

Overall a decent enough though not spectacular album largely forgotten about today, though no doubt still retaining affection by the largish cult following the band had in the late sixties, in the main down to Clempson's fine guitar playing. [Source: progarchives.com]

 Dave 'Clem' Clempson / guitars, piano, harpsichord, harmonica, vocals
 Terry Poole / bass guitar
 Keith Baker / drums

01. Big Bear Ffolly (3:55)
02. Bring It On Home (4:16)
03. Drivin' Bachwards (2:06)
04. Last Blues (7:04)
05. Gang Bang (6:15)
06. This Worried Feeling (7:03)
07. Son Of Moonshine (14:52)

Bonus Tracks
08. Once Upon A Time (3:40)
09. This Worried Feelings (5:45)
10. Georgia (Unreleased Outtake) (4:00)
11. Train (2:37)
12. Son of Moonshine, Part 1 (8:37)