Baker Gurvitz Army Newcastle Mayfair 24th November 1975

Baker Gurvitz Army Newcastle Mayfair 24th November 1975
bakergurvitzarmyGinger Baker formed the powerhouse rock band Baker Gurvitz Army with brothers Paul and Adrian Gurvitz (formerly of The Gun and “Race with the Devil” fame), former Shark’s singer ‘Mr Snips’ (I recall seeing Sharks at Sunderland Mecca and they were excellent) and keyboard player Peter Lemer. They recorded their first album ‘Baker Gurvitz Army’ in 1974. The album was very much in the mould of Cream; “This album’s a strong, decisive statement, and if hard rock’s what you crave, you won’t be disappointed.” (Ralph Heibutzki, All Music Guide). In 1975 the band went out on tour. I saw their show at Newcastle Mayfair on 24th November. I’d always regretted missing out of seeing Cream first time round, and had made every effort to see their three members in concert. I’d seen Clapton and Bruce, and this was my first chance to see Ginger Baker. I remember enjoying the concert and that they played “White Room” and “Sunshine of Your Love”; and being delighted that they did so. Ginger had a massive drum kit which took up much of the stage; Adrian Gurvitz was an excellent guitarist and Snips, who I had seen before in Sharks, was a cocky punky character with a bluesy soulful voice.
A 1975 concert at Derby was recorded and released as a live album many years later. The tracklisting is: The Hustler; Space Machine; Remember; White Room; Neon Lights; Inside Of Me; Memory Lane; Sunshine Of Your Love; The Artist; Freedom; Time; Going To Heaven. I would imagine that the set at the Mayfair will have been similar to this. Baker Gurvitz Army were a great and now largely forgotten part of heavy blues rock history.
Chris Salewicz reviewed a gig in Watford on the same tour: “Okay, so there’s no phasing on the drums and he must be one of the only drummers currently working the rock and roll circuit who doesn’t take his shirt off on stage, and occasionally his style may still smack of ’67 And All That, but nevertheless Ginger Baker’s drumming is a positive joy to listen to. Baker’s playing oozes power. As such it blends in with and propels along the sheer energy which the Baker-Gurvitz Army seem to have cornered for themselves. Snips’ singing … is a direct utilisation of the lead singer’s voice as sensual instrument. Adrian Gurvitz, though not perhaps the most athletic lead guitarist around, certainly ain’t no slouch when it comes to the old brain power necessary for searching out those squealing, fleshy guitar notes or those near-psychedelic indented blues runs.”
Baker Gurvitz Army split in 1976 in part because “Adrian’s guitar playing was just too loud” and he was “getting off with every chick that I fancied!” (Ginger)

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