(1990) Purchased new at Rhino Records Westwood. Cellophane inner sleeve. On the Axiom label, an Island Records Company. My sense is this album was playing when I walked in and a track must have caught my ear. That happens frequently. I hear something I like, I will purchase on impulse.
Words often used to describe Ginger Baker include: legendary, founding member, virtuoso, world traveler, English, musician, wild, and for the sake of this post, drummer. As founding member of the rock triumvirate known as Cream, watch footage of Ginger Baker behind the kit. Long skinny arms akimbo and fluidly hitting the skins, seemingly effortless. Look closer and you see the streams of sweat rolling down his temples– he’s working and it is magical.
Middle Passage is an exploration of Middle Eastern music melded with a late 1980’s sensibility: think Phil Collins in Morocco.
Track one on Side one: Mektoub is Arabic meaning “It is written”. That fatality is the drum track of any song. Drums provide the groundwork, the earth from which the rest of music grows. That certainty, that confidence, translates to arrogance and danger when describing Ginger Baker the man. Take the time to watch the documentary “Beware of Mr. Baker” and you will see what I mean. If dementors ever dropped their hoods, Ginger Baker’s face is what you would see.