The Baker Gurvitz Army (1975)

Kronomyth 1.0: Tales From Toadagraphic Oceans. Baker, the mad beserker, and a pair of hired Guns (the Brothers Gurvitz) storm through seven songs of hard/progressive rock (and one unfortunate ballad), for which the world is (mostly) a better place, if only for forty minutes. Not so much different from what the original Three Man Army set out to do, I suppose, except that Baker’s neverending battle against boredom produces interesting results such as the drum solo on “Memory Lane” or “Mad Jack” (another of Ginger’s odd tales). If pressed for a list of the 70s better guitarists, few of us would find “Adrian Gurvitz” ready on the lips, largely, it appears, because of underexposure in bands like this. He is, in fact, a smart and succinct rock guitarist, a more-than-serviceable vocalist and a songwriter of no small merit. “Help Me,” “Inside of Me” and “Since Beginning” (itself a worthy citizen of Yes’ Topographic Oceans) are as good as anything that the mid Seventies progressive movement produced (with the caveat that many progressive bands were moving to the melodic, short-form fringes of rock at that point in time). Many of Ginger Baker’s experiments were better than they were given credit for, and while time has forgotten The Baker Gurvitz Army, you don’t need to slavishly follow time and its preening ways as it courts the fickle present. Instead, go behind time’s back and dig this one out of the past; it’s worth the effort, particularly if you’re partial to hard/progressive acts (e.g., Uriah Heep, Rainbow).

Original LP Version
A1. Help Me (Adrian Gurvitz) 4:36
A2. Love Is (Adrian Gurvitz) 2:47
A3. Memory Lane (Ginger Baker/Adrian Gurvitz) 4:46
A4. Inside of Me (Adrian Gurvitz) 5:33
A5. I Wanna Live Again (Ginger Baker/Adrian Gurvitz) 4:22
B1. Mad Jack (Ginger Baker/Adrian Gurvitz) 7:54
B2. 4 Phil (Ginger Baker/Adrian Gurvitz) 4:25
B3. Since Beginning (Adrian Gurvitz) 8:05

The Players
Ginger Baker (drums, percussion, vibes, vocals), Adrian Gurvitz (guitar, vocals), Paul Gurvitz (bass, vocals), John “Norman B. Normal” Mitchell (keyboards, synthesizer, vibes) with Madeline Bell (backing vocals on track 5), Martyn Ford (orchestration), Rosetta Hightower (backing vocals on track 5), Barry St. John (backing vocals on track 5), Liza Strike (backing vocals on track 5). Produced by Ginger Baker, Adrian Gurvitz and Paul Gurvitz; engineered by Cyrano; mixed by Anton Matthews.

The Plastic
Released on elpee in 1975 in the UK (Vertigo, 9103 201) and the US (Janus, JXS-7015) with lyric sleeve; reached #22 on the UK charts and #140 on the US charts. Re-released on CD in 1994 in the UK (Repertoire, REP 4163). Re-issued on CD on February 28, 2011 in the UK (Esoteric, ECLEC-2247).

The Pictures
Cover painting by Joe Petagno, who also designed the album covers for The Graeme Edge Band and countless Motörhead covers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *