Baker Gurvitz Army

Liner Notes

Mr. Snips a.k.a. Steve Parsons - lead vocals; Adrian Gurvitz - guitar, vocals; Paul Gurvitz - bass, vocals; Peter Lemer - keyboards; Ginger Baker - drums

Following legendary stints as the drummer for Cream, Blind Faith, and his all-star Airforce project, Ginger Baker next teamed up with Paul and Adrian Gurvitz, who had long been mainstays on the UK club scene, first with Gun (in the late '60s), and later with the power trio Three Man Army, along with drummer Tony Newman. When Newman left Three Man Army to pursue working with David Bowie, the Gurvitz Brothers went looking for a new drummer. After connecting with Baker at a London Speakeasy, the Baker Gurvitz Army was born. They soon expanded their trio format into a five-piece by recruiting former Sharks singer Steve "Mr. Snips" Parsons and Seventh Wave keyboardist Peter Lemer. In 1974, they recorded the self-titled debut of the Baker Gurvitz Army at the Who's recording studio in London. Featuring a dynamic mixture of heavy rock, the album was well received but sold only modestly. Through touring, the band developed a relatively large following, particularly in Europe. Their sophomore album, Elysian Encounter showed even more promise by exploring broader musical boundaries. Here Baker was at his best, and Adrian Gurvitz was proving to be a tremendously talented guitar player.

While touring to promote Elysian Encounter, the group was reaching its performing peak, and during that time, the BBC thankfully recorded the band several times. Part of the BBC/King Biscuit Flower Hour content exchanges that occasionally occurred in the late 1970s, these two Baker Gurvitz Army tracks were broadcast on the KBFH in late 1976, unfortunately following the band's demise. Recorded at the Guildhalle in Portsmouth, England, on the aforementioned Elysian Fields tour, these two tracks provide a fine example of the band in their prime.

The first number, "The Hustler" is a fine funky rocker with great bluesy vocals from Mr. Snips. Baker plays both creatively and intricately, and he and the Gurvitz brothers prove quite adept at dynamic exchanges. The frenetic version of "People" that follows is a furious syncopated rocker that has Baker delivering a virtual non-stop solo throughout. This is also a remarkable example of Adrian Gurvitz, both in terms of passion and technical proficiency.