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BAKER GURVITZ ARMY

Baker Gurvitz Army

Heavy Prog


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Baker Gurvitz Army Baker Gurvitz Army album cover
3.08 | 17 ratings | 3 reviews | 18% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Help Me (4:36)
2. Love Is (2:47)
3. Memory Lane (4:46)
4. Inside Of Me (5:33)
5. I Wanna Live Again (4:22)
6. Mad Jack (7:54)
7. 4 Phil (4:25)
8. Since Beginning (8:05)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Ginger Baker / Drums
- Paul Gurvitz / Bass
- Adrian Gurvitz / Guitars, vocals

Releases information

Vertigo Records Vinyl 1974

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Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
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BAKER GURVITZ ARMY Baker Gurvitz Army ratings distribution


3.08
(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
18%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(18%)
18%
Good, but non-essential (53%)
53%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)
6%

BAKER GURVITZ ARMY Baker Gurvitz Army reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Attention!

In 1974, legendary drummer Ginger Baker (ex-Cream) got together with brothers Paul and Adrian Gurvitz to form the quasi-super group Baker Gurvitz Army. The Gurvitz Brothers had enjoyed fleeting success with The Gun ("Race with the devil") and would later join up with Graeme Edge of the Moody Blues. Aridan also enjoyed solo success with the hit single "Attic".

Adrian takes on the role of principle songwriter here, with Ginger helping out on a few tracks, and the trio assuming collective production duties. This, their début album, was released on the Vertigo label, but was unfortunately too late to be blessed with the legendary swirl logo.

The album consists of eight tracks, roughly split between five shorter ones on side one and three longer ones on side two. The overall mood is of an upbeat rock album with strong pop influences. The opening "Help me" features the synthesisers of guest John Norman B Normal Mitchell (sic) (presumably the unidentified fourth horseman on the front cover illustration) which help to swell out the guitar driven sound somewhat.

Baker's drumming is naturally well forward in the mix, with the frantic instrumental "Love is" being a cross between a drum solo and a dramatic orchestral piece. "Memory lane" is slightly harder with Arthur Brown like echoed vocals and solid guitar riffs. Unfortunately Baker decides to slip in a drum solo to this otherwise mildly exciting song.

Adrian Gurvitz slows things down for "Inside of me", a sort of power blues with some of the best guitar work on the album. This extraordinarily long side (for an LP) closes with the mushy orchestrated soul ballad "I want to live again", complete with female vocal chorus. It is not as bad as it sounds, but somewhat out of place on the album.

The first of the three tracks on side two is the 8 minute "Mad Jack", a fairly prosaic hard rock number with an extended lead guitar jam at its core. There is also a sort of "Hare who lost his spectacles" type spoken section for no apparent reason! The two extended songs on this side are split by "4 Phil", a lighter lead guitar instrumental which, while impressive, doesn't really go anywhere.

The final track is the longest at a shade over 8 minutes. "Since beggining" (that's how it is spelled on the sleeve!) offers some more intricate vocal harmonies to complement a stronger melody. Adrian's characteristic guitar tones are more in evidence here than they are throughout much of the album. For me this is the most accomplished track on the album, a bit muddled at times but pleasingly ambtious.

Overall, a reasonably enjoyable début from the trio, which offers promise more than it actually delivers. At the time of its release, this album would probably have been seen as hard rock rather than prog, but our ever widening definition of our genre means that it now sits comfortably within these confines.

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Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars East London-born brothers Adrian(guitar) and Paul Gurvitz(bass) may not be household names yet their contribution to the overall canon of 1970s rock cannot be over-estimated. Starting out during the late-sixties, the brothers would release two albums with their muscular, proto-metal outfit Gun - as well as a surprise hit-single called 'Race With The Devil' - before transforming into the similar-sounding but equally-adept Three Man Army. After another two albums, neither of which managed to make much of an impact, the brothers dissolved Three Man Army and were essentially head-hunted - or the musical equivalent - by ex-Cream sticksman Ginger Baker, eventually making up two-thirds of the drummer's prog-tinged outfit Baker Gurvitz Army. Along with the oddly-named vocalist Mr Snips(?) Baker Gurvitz Army would produce three excellent albums worth of dreamy rock - again to little genuine fanfare - before the brothers would again be on the move, this time to join up with Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge, playing on both of his proto-prog themed Graeme Edge Band albums during the mid-to-late-seventies. Right from their Gun origins, Adrian Gurvitz's superb guitar playing has been a feature of every album he has played on, and his work is the outstanding part of this debut release. Although inferior to follow-up album 'Elysian Encounter' - the Baker Gurvitz's strongest - this self-titled debut is the perfect tonic for those who find the complex noodling of Yes and ELP a bit too much and the hard-riffin' rock of Black Sabbath and Trapeze a bit too simple. Alongside Gurvitz, Ginger Baker's drumming often takes centre- stage, sometimes to over-elaborate effect, yet that's almost the point, the refined rock sound allowing the musicians to stretch out where necessary. The album's highlights include the raw opener 'Help Me', the soothing semi-balled 'Memory Lane' and, best of all, the eccentric 'Mad Jack', which finds both Adrian Gurvitz and Baker in fine fettle. By no means a classic then, but well worth exploring all the same.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars How can I forget this debut album by Ginger Baker and his band-mates as I grew up with this album! Yeah it was mid seveties at the same time when I got Uriah Heep's 'Return to Fantasy' album, I also got this Baker Gurvitz Army debut. It was so captivating as Ginger Baker's drumming was so dynamic especially when I got the first track 'Help Me'. He proved himself as a great drummer by forming another power trio as follow up of previously established Cream. As I was still teens at that time I enjoyed actually the 'Inside of Me' track which sounded radio-friendly to me at that time.

But this trio is really different. Look at the second track "Love Is" (2:47) which has dynamic orchestration and powerful drumming, combined with stunning guitar work. So is the case with the next track "Memory Lane" (4:46) which has unique composition, played with relatively fast tempo plus jaw dropping drum work by Ginger Baker. It's really nice - especially with the drums solo in the middle of the track. Again, it proves that Ginger Baker is a talented drummer even though he was originally an employe of certain store and quit his work to learn as great drummer. He did.

"Inside Me" is a bluesy track and has become my all-time favorite as the music wascrafted beautifully with great lead vocals and nice guitar as well as basslines. I bet you will like this song as I do. On thing misplaced is the next track "I Wanna Live Again" (4:22) which for me is like a pop song - not even rock. I am not quite sure why they wrote a song something like this. "Phil" is definitely a blues track featuring excellent guitar solo work.

It's really a very good debut album, overall. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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