Jack Bruce – Out Of The Storm (1974)

FrontCover1Out of the Storm is the fourth studio album by Scottish musician Jack Bruce. It was Bruce’s first solo effort in over three years and was recorded and released in 1974, following the dissolution of the power trio West, Bruce and Laing. Originally Bruce had wanted to title the album Into The Storm but, according to Bruce, “we couldn’t find any stormy weather. We gave up and instead we found a little wood”.

The album was largely recorded in Los Angeles and San Francisco at the suggestion of engineer Andy Johns, who felt, according to Bruce, that the problem with Bruce’s previous work was that he “work(ed) with too many British guys and you need to work with some great American session players and you could make an album in ten days”.

Bruce recorded the album while still addicted to heroin (which contributed to the dissolution of West, Bruce and Laing). According to Bruce’s songwriting partner Pete Brown, the band ingested PCP during one session and “they were all holding onto each Out Of The Storm Adother walking across the floor–Bobby Keys, Jim Keltner, Andy Johns and Jack. Someone said, ‘Don’t let go of me or I’ll float off into space'”. The continued and heavy drug use periodically interfered with completion of the album and engineer Dennis Weinreich was brought in to remix specific tracks so as to complete the album in a timely fashion and because the label wasn’t pleased with Johns’s mix of the album.

The album peaked at No. 160 on the Billboard album chart in December 1974. Critically well received, including a glowing review by Melody Maker’s Allan Jones, who stated that Bruce was “one of the most important individuals currently working in rock”, the album sold poorly.

Out of the Storm was the last Jack Bruce album distributed in the United States by Atlantic Records, as Bruce’s company RSO Records, which was affiliated in the rest of the world with Polydor/Polygram Records, would shift U.S. distribution to Polydor beginning in 1976.

Bruce and a photographer traveled throughout the countryside looking for a storm to photograph for the original title Into The Storm. They were unable to find one so Bruce changed the title and elected to take a photo in the woods using whatever he found, which included an old, rusty bike. Bruce is visible in the background sitting partially in the dark with the landscape and the bike more prominent than Bruce himself is in the photo. Author Harry Shapiro in his book on Bruce suggested that the photo represented Bruce’s state of mind at the time, wanting to disappear into the background and avoid all of the difficulties he was then facing. (by wikipedia)

Muro do Classic Rock

Out Of The Storm is Jack Bruce yet again taking a different path. No one can accuse this man of being redundant as he leaves behind the hard rock of Whatever Turns You On from his 1973 work with West, Bruce & Laing and takes on Steely Dan with a track like “Keep On Wondering.” The problem with West, Bruce & Laing is that they should have been the back-up band providing Jack Bruce the vehicle to express his artistry. “Keep It Down” would have been a tremendous track for WBL, and Lou Reed/Alice Cooper guitarist Steve Hunter provides the tasteful licks which Leslie West would’ve used a sledgehammer to find. The title track is real introspection with more “I” references than found on a page in a Marie Osmond autobiography. Bruce uses the rock format to sing the poetry that he and long time collaborator Peter Brown have crafted here.

Muro do Classic Rock

When played next to his other albums, from Things We Like to Monkjack, as well as the aforementioned Leslie West collaborations, the indellible voice of Jack Bruce is found to belong, not to a chameleon, but to a true changeling. In an industry that resists change, his music evolves in relentless fashion, switching formats as efficiently and quickly as he switches record labels. While Eric Clapton achieves the acclaim, it is Jack Bruce who delivers a novel and totally original title like “One” with a vocal that moves from cabaret to blues to soul. The man has one of the most powerful and identifiable rock & roll voices, and his body of work is overpowering. “One” has the drums of Jim Gordon and another venture into the Procul Harum sound Bruce has toyed with over various albums in different ways. Out Of The Storm is another excellent chapter with Steve Hunter showing proficiency and remarkable restraint. Robin Trower, Mick Taylor, Leslie West, Eric Clapton and so many other guitar greats have put their sound next to Jack Bruce’s voice, and this is Steve Hunter aiding and abetting, but not getting in the way of Bruce’s creative pop/jazz. (by Joe Viglione)

This is another excellent Jack Bruce album with a brilliant guitar played by Steve Hunter ! Listen for example to “Keep It Down ” or to the into of “Timeslip”.

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Personnel:
Jack Bruce (bass, vocals, , keyboards, clavinet, harmonium, harmonica)
Jim Gordon (drums on 01., 07. -09., 13.)
Steve Hunter (guitar)
Jim Keltner (drums on 02. – 06, 10. – 12.)

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Tracklist:
01. Pieces Of Mind (Bruce/Brown) 5.35
02. Golden Days (Bruce/Brown) 5.09
03. Running Through Our Hands (Bruce/Brown/Godfrey) 4.10
04. Keep On Wondering (Bruce/Brown) 3.12
05. Keep It Down (Bruce/Brown) 3.45
06. Into The Storm (Bruce/Brown) 4.43
07. One (Bruce/Brown) 5.00
08. Timeslip (Bruce/Brown) 6.35
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09. Keep It Down (First Mix) (Bruce/Brown) 3.38
10. Keep On Wondering (First Mix) (Bruce/Brown) 3..20
11. Into The Storm (First Mix) (Bruce/Brown) 4.30
12. Pieces Of Mind (First Mix) (Bruce/Brown) 5.48
13. One (First Mix) (Bruce/Brown) 4.58

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JackBruce1974
Jack Bruce (14 May 1943 – 25 October 2014)

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Jack Bruce Band feat. Ginger Baker – Almost Cream (1992)

frontcover1Jack Bruce is one of my favorite musician … who was a real strong part of my life … and here´s a great bootleg from him …

It would be a 5 Star rating, hadn’t it been a bootleg and therefore the limited sound quality. The concert was recorded in New York at the Bottom Line on 7 December 1989. The concert is rough and comes from the heart. A great moment to share with this great artist. Are on board  Ginger Baker on a limited amount of songs, Bernie Worrell on keyboards, Blues Saraceno on guitar, and others. (by luchenzig; rateyourmusic.com)

Listen to Jack Bruce and his wonderful world of music … Did I tell you, that Jack Bruce is one of my favorite musician ? … Many fantastic colors …

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Personnel:
Ginger Baker (drums on 10. – 18.)
Jack Bruce (bass, vocals, harmonica)
Malcolm Bruce (guitar)
Gary “Bone” Cooper (percussion, background vocals)
Tom Goss (drums on 01. – 09.)
Blues Saraceno (guitar)
Bernie Worrell (keyboards)

booklet1

Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Life On Earth (Bruce) 4.49
02. No Surrender (Bruce/Brown) 6.14
03. Make Love (Bruce/Brown) 4.41
04. Born Under A Bad Sign (Bell/Jones) 8.28
05. Blues You Can’t Lose (Dixon) 8.44
06. Theme From An Imaginary Western (Bruce/Brown   7:09
07. Blues Saraceno Guitar Solo (Saraceno) 3.03
08. Keep It Down (Bruce/Brown) 8.27
09. Grease The Wheels (Bruce/Brown) 9.10

CD 2:
10. N.S.U. (Bruce) 5.13
11. Obsession (Bruce/Brown) 5.08
12. White Room (Bruce/Brown) 6.00
13. Rollin’ & Tumblin’ (Morganfield) 5.16
14. Toad (Baker) 7.35
15. Sitting On Top Of The World     7:35
16. Politician (Bruce/Brown) 5.10
17. Sunshine Of Your Love (Bruce/Brown(Clapton) 7.44
18. Spoonful (Dixon) 13.01

 

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bookletbackcover1

Jack Bruce & Friends – Fillmore West (1970)

FrontCover1Apart from The Jimi Hendrix Experience, drummer Mitch Mitchell, who passed away on November 12, 2008 at the age of 61, had a varied professional career. According to the wikipedia, “another noteworthy musical collaboration in the late ’60s was with the Jack Bruce And Friends band featuring Mitchell along with ex-Cream bassist Jack Bruce, keyboardist Mike Mandel and jazz-fusion guitar legend and future The Eleventh House frontman Larry Coryell.”

A third-generation (?) cassette recording of this spirited show had been circulating among fans and now there is a very nice-sounding (but not pristine) upgrade, thanks to Olvator, who shared the tracks on the internet.

Olvator notes: “This is the best and most complete version of this show. I uploaded another version of this concert a few years ago. Same source, but from my 3rd (?) gen cassette. I have received these files some time ago and they are straight from the master. Sound is much better! This is a raw transfer.”

While Jack Bruce’s vocals are fairly dominant, it is Larry Coryell’s guitar work and, to a slightly lesser extent, Mike Mandell’s organ that take centrestage, so to speak. Coryell might have been going through a rock-guitar phase so this is not wholly the jazz-fusion playing that fans tend to associate with the guitarist.

Framed

But it is on the Smiles & Grins jam that indicate the direction both Coryell and Mitch Mitchell would take in the subsequent years. After all, as the wikipedia notes, “Mitchell pioneered a style of drumming which would later become known as fusion.”

Still, in memory of Mitchell, he gets the spotlight in the opening of The Clearout where he does a thundering solo. And to remind fans of their earlier days, the band drags out Sunshine Of Your Love which, not surprisingly, gets the loudest applause.

Recorded live at the Fillmore East, New York, January 31, 1970 (late show)
Very good audience recording.

 

AlternateFrontCoversAlternate front covers

Personnel:
Jack Bruce (vocals, bass)
Larry Coryell (guitar)
Mike Mandell (organ)
Mitch Mitchell (drums)

JackBruceAndFriends

Tracklist:
01. Politician (Bruce/Brown) 7.32
02. Weird of Hermiston/Tickets To Waterfalls/Theme For An Imaginary Western (Bruce/Brown) 9.30
03. HCKHH (Hayseed Country Kicking Ho Ho) Blues (Bruce) 9.02
04. We’re Going Wrong (Bruce) 8.17
05. The Clearout (Bruce/Brown) 7.02
06. Sunshine Of Your Love (Bruce/Brown/Clapton) 15.57
07. Smiles & Grins jam (Bruce/Brown) 4.32

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Jack Bruce – Somethin Els (1993)

FrontCover1Jack Bruce’s only album between 1980 and 1987, the year the Somethin Els project was started, was the atypical electronica oddity Automatic from 1983. During that time, although touring occasionally Jack was doing battle with his personal demons, a battle he eventually won, helped by a new wife in a new country. Settling in Germany his live and studio work took an upturn, and calling on the help of his A-list musical friends, in between a long series of concerts, the six year gestation of Somethin Els took place.

Writing in partnership with his long-time lyricist of choice Pete Brown, Somethin Els covers all of Jack’s R&B and jazz rock styles with an easy panache that only a cast of stellar musicians can pull off.

Opening track Waiting On A Word starts so abruptly, and on a vocal too, that one wonders how on Earth Jack Bruce and his band ever managed to get it right live, but being the consummate professionals they were I guess it presented no problems at all. This is followed by a classic Bruce R&B belter, and Willpower has Jack’s soulful croon telling us about his sparring partner in the addiction wars. When you have the likes of Clem Clempson on rhythm guitar, and Eric Clapton turning in the kind of dirty lead breaks that his solo career so often badly lacks, you can’t really fail, can you? If your toes don’t tap to this, it’s probably because you lost them to frostbite last winter.

With...The delightful vocal duet with Maggie Reilly on Ships In The Night is a ballad, and again we are focussed on Jack’s personal battles. This is for all intents and purposes a blues, but only in tone and subject, for it is not a twelve bar. Mr Clapton turns in a trademark heart-tugging solo that fits perfectly. Showing his virtuosity, Jack also plays cellos, piano, and other keyboards on this one.

By the time the disturbing intro to Peaces Of The East rolls around we are well into the diary of Jack’s recovery nightmares, and this time we have an Eastern flavoured snake dance, twitching with the nervous energy of withdrawal. No bass guitar at all on this one, Jack turns in vocals, piano, keyboards and drums.

Becalmed in the middle of the album, Close Enough For Love allows the love light to shine through the dark nights of the soul that precede and follow this lovely piano-led ballad. Jack sings the melody line mirroring the fat keyboard chords, backed by his funky bass, and Stuart Elliot’s drums keep it nailed in simple unfussy fashion as they do throughout the album.

BookletBackCover1

G. B. Dawn Blues is a throwaway Booker-T styled organ based 12-bar blues that wakes up, scores, and goes to bed, all in less than three minutes. Criminality harks back to Automatic’s electronica, with a proto-Prince funk feel, and doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the album.

Jack finally finds redemption on Childsong, a song of rebirth that possibly draws parallels to Jack’s then new or impending parenthood. It is a smoky reflective affair where David Liebman’s soprano saxophone adds bags of atmosphere. The album ends with the instrumental FM, Jack alone at his piano in minor key jazz-classical mode.

Somethin Els oozes an effortless quality from every pore, and is as fine a testament to the sheer class of Jack Bruce when on form as anything he has produced in his long career. Perhaps his best ever album? That’s a subjective point, but I’m afraid that anyone who cannot see this album for the masterclass in progressive song writing that it undoubtedly is simply does not know what makes for real and timeless music. (by Roger Trenwith)

BackCover1

Personnel:
Jack Bruce (bass, vocals, keyboards, cello, drums)
Eric Clapton (guitar on 01., 02., 03.)
Clem Clempson (guitar on 02., 05., 06.)
Gerd Dudek (saxophone on 02.)
Stuart Elliot (drums on 01., 02., 03., 04., 05., 06.)
Anton Fier (drums on 07.)
Bruce Fowler (trumpet on 02.)
Walt Fowler (trumpet on 02.)
Ray Gomez (guitar on 07.)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone on 06.)
Trilok Gurtu (percussion on 01., 06. + 08. drums on 05. + 08.)
Mark Nauseef (percussion on 08.)
Uli Lask (saxophone on 02.)
David Liebman (saxophone on 07. + 08.)
Maggie Reilly (vocals on 03., 04.
Peter Weihe (guitar on 01., 03., 05.)

Booklet01A

Tracklist:
01. Waiting On A Word (Bruce/Brown) 3.52
02. Willpower (Bruce/Brown) 4.26
03. Ships In The Night (Bruce/Brown) 5.20
04. Peaces Of The East (Bruce/Brown) 4.55
05. Close Enough For Love (Bruce) 5.51
06. G. B. Dawn Blues (Bruce/Brown) 2.41
07. Criminality (Bruce/Brown) 5.05
08. Childsong (Bruce/Brown/Hymas) 5.06
09. FM (Bruce) 3.33

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JackBruce1993

 Jack Bruce in 1993

Various Artists – From Clarksdale To Heaven – Remembering John Lee Hooker (2002)

FrontCover1For the first of two tribute albums to John Lee Hooker, executive producer Arnie Goodman of Blue Storm Music has assembled an impressive list of British musicians from the 1960s who helped spark the ’60s blues revival that was responsible for the ascension of Hooker (among others) into legendary status. The biggest name on his own is Jeff Beck, who plays guitar on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Hobo Blues,” but other notable figures include Cream’s Jack Bruce, Leo Lyons and Ric Lee from Ten Years After, Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker, ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor, former Fleetwood Mac leader Peter Green, and Gary Moore. The performers are reverent toward Hooker’s music, maintaining its relentless rhythmic power and even at times re-creating the master’s haunting mumble of a voice. The set is not entirely given over to the Brits, however, as it opens with Inlet1A“I Want to Hug You,” sung by Hooker’s daughter, Zakiya, and ends with Hooker himself, accompanied by Booker T. Jones and Randy California, among others, performing a previously unreleased “Red House” that was cut for a Jimi Hendrix tribute album. There is also a newly written song (“The Business”) penned by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter and Bay Area musician Greg Anton that was earmarked for a Hooker project never recorded due to his death. Such tracks provide some variety, but the strength of the album is still in the devoted performances of people like Beck and Green. (by William Ruhlmann )

From a child of his body and the children of his music, this is a chance to pay respects to the man who made his guitar a blacksmith’s anvil and pounded out rhythms of sorrow. Look for Jack Bruce’s Ozzy Osbourne-like sneer on “I’m in the Mood,” along with Gary Moore’s Godzilla footsteps on guitar. That’s Jeff Beck playing robot-metallic notes on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Hobo Blues,” and Peter Green’s vocal sounds like a decaying zombie obeying his master on “Crawling King Snake.” John Lee himself paints a “Red House” with something other than crimson pigment, and I’ve got to credit Robert Hunter’s composition, “The Business,” by Greggs Eggs vocalist Suzanne Sterling for giving the old man that special smile with a posthumous kiss. (by Mitchell Lopate)

Inlet2A

Personnel:
Jeff Allen (drums)
Michael Bailey (bass, background vocals)
Richard Bailey (drums)
Jeff Beck (guitar)
Gary Brooker (piano, vocals)
Jack Bruce (bass, vocals)
Randy California (guitar)
Dave “Clem” Clempson (guitar)
Vince Converse (guitar, vocals)
Tony Cook (guitar)
David Daniel (bass)
Bruce Gary (drums)
Earl Green (vocals)
Peter Green (guitar, harmonica)
Kenny Greene (drums)
Dave Hadley (bass)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
John Lee Hooker (guitar, vocals)
Zakiya Hooker (vocals)
Gary Husband (drums)
Johnnie Johnson (piano)
Booker T. Jones (organ)
Ric Lee (drums)
Andy Fairweather Low (guitar)
Leo Lyons (bass)
Godfrey McLean (drums)
T.S. McPhee (guitar, vocals)
Max Middleton (piano)
Dave Moore (piano)
Gary Moore (guitar)
Bobby Murray (guitar)
Matt Pegg (bass)
Henry Spinetti (drums)
Peter Stroud (bass)
Mick Taylor (guitar, vocals)
Nigel Watson (guitar)
Chris Wilson (bass)

Inlet3A

Tracklist:
01. Zakiya Hooker, Johnnie Johnson, Bobby Murray: I Want To Hug You (Hooker) 4.04
02. Jack Bruce + Gary Moore: I’m In The Mood (Besman/Hooker) 6.19
03. LLC-Vince Converse, Leo Lyons, Ric Lee: Bad Like Jesse James (Hooker) 7.07
04. Jeff Beck: Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Traditional) 6.08
05. Gary Brooker + Andy Fairweather-Low: Baby Lee (Bracken/Hooker) 4.48
06. T.S. McPhee, Dick Heckstall-Smith: Ground Hog Blues (Hooker) 5.44
07. Mick Taylor + Max Middleton: This Is Hip () 3.50
08. Peter Green Splinter Group: Crawlin’ King Snake () 5.41
09. T.S. McPhee, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Clem Clempson: I’m Leaving () 5.25
10. Gary Brooker + Andy Fairweather-Low: Little Wheel () 5.34
11. Greggs Eggs: The Business () 4.36
12. Jeff Beck: Hobo Blues () 5.52
13. Gary Moore + Jack Bruce: Serve Me Right To Suffer () 6.24
14. John Lee Hooker, Booker T, Randy California: Red House (Hendrix) 4.57
(Prevously unreleased song with J.L. Hooker)

 

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JohnLeeHooker

 

Jack Bruce – Cities Of The Heart (Limited Edition) (1994)

FrontCover1It´s time again to celebrate one of the finest jazz & rock musisicans we´ve ever had !

Cities of the Heart is a Jack Bruce live two-CD release of a performance in March 1994 in Cologne, Germany.

This nicely packaged two-CD box set presents legendary rock bassist/vocalist/composer Jack Bruce and his very reputable musical associates performing live in Cologne, Germany. Originally touted as a limited-edition double CD upon its release in 1993, the CMP label subsequently witnessed production/distribution problems, yet in 2001 it seemed as though the German fusion/rock record label might commence reissuing some CDs from its impressive back catalog. These two discs intimate an intriguing insight into Bruce’s career, other than his well-known affiliation with ’60s rock power trio Cream. Here, the artist renders a few soulful ballads, ventures into free jazz territory with saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith and ex-Cream drummer Ginger Baker, and also utilizes a brass section for a sprightly R&B rendition of “Born Under a Bad Sign.” An added treat here is the teaming of British guitar hero Gary Moore with Bruce and Baker for a series of hard rock-blues pieces culled from the Cream songbook. (by Glenn Astarita)

Booklet05A

This live recording of a series of concerts covers Jack’s career from the beginnings right up to the present. Wonderfully recorded in Cologne Germany in 1993, you get the songs as they were recorded on the albums(horns, etc), not just stripped down live versions. And what a cast of performers! Ginger Baker, Gary Moore, Pete Brown,Bernie Worell, Dick Heckstall Smith, and others who have played with Jack over the years. The Graham Bond years are represented by 2 songs,”neighbor neighbor” and “first time I met the blues”. Lots of Cream tunes too, and the sparks really fly when Jack, Ginger and Gary Moore tear through the Cream tunes. There are even a couple of tunes from Jack’s second solo album, “things we like”. Don’t know when these tunes have been done in concert before. Over all, a thoroughly enjoyable set that shows that he is still a force in live rock music. Highly recommended.(Rick from Boston)

Booklet07AThis is a wonderful culmination of Jack’s musical life shared with his friends. The first CD is a mix of some Jazz and Blues tracks. The first couple are smaller groups, better songs, and more interesting. By the time the big groups get in and play together, it gets kind of cheesy.
The second disc starts with some of Jack’s standards, with a wonderful mix of artists. My personal favorite are the tracks with Ginger Baker and Gary Moore blasting through some old Cream tunes. They’re awesome, and really were much better than the subsequent BBM project produced.
If you’re a long time Jack Bruce fan, this is really a terrific album that is both interesting and fun. The sound quality is great, and some of the tracks are just amazing. (by Andy Freed)

JackBruce

This is the original limited edition with two booklets ! The second, very special booklet was called “A photographic souvenir by Guido Harari” and it includes many black & white pictures from this birthday concert.

What a line-up ! But I miss “White Room” !

SpecialBooklet01APersonnel:
Ginger Baker (drums)
Pete Brown (vocals, percussion)
Jack Bruce (bass, piano, vocals)
Jonas Bruce (piano)
Malcolm Bruce (keyboards)
Dave “Clem” Clempson (guitar)
Gary “Mudbone” Cooper (vocals)
François Garny (bass)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
Gary Husband (drums)
Henry Lowther (trumpet)
Gary Moore (guitar)
John Mumford (trombone)
Simon Phillips (drums)
Maggie Reilly (vocals)
Art Themen (saxophone)
Bernie Worrell (piano)

Booklet02ATracklist:

CD 1:
01. Can You Follow? (Brown/Bruce) 1.56
02. Running Through Our Hands (Brown/Bruce/Godfrey) 4.13
03. Over The Cliff (Bruce/Goldsmith) 3.46
04. Statues (Bruce) 7.37
05. First Time I Met the Blues (Montgomery) 4.47
06. Smiles & Grins (Bruce/Brown) 9.48
07. Bird Alone (Bruce/Brown) 9.56
08. Neighbor, Neighbor(Alton/Valler) 5.32
09. Born Under A Bad Sign (Bell/Jones) 6.17

CD 2:
01. Ships in the Night (Brown/Bruce) 5.20
02. Never Tell Your Mother She’s Out Of Tune (Brown/Bruce) 4.19
03. Theme For An Imaginary Western (Brown/Bruce) 6.00
04. Golden Days (Bruce) 5.38
05. Life On Earth (Bruce) 5.21
06. N.S.U. (Bruce) 6.29
07. Sitting On Top Of The World (Chatmon/Vinson) 6.52
08. Politician (Brown/Bruce) 5.39
09. Spoonful (Dixon) 9.13
10. Sunshine Of Your Love” (Brown/Bruce/Clapton) 8.07

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Heckstall+Clempson

Jack Bruce – Harmony Row (1971)

FrontCover1Harmony Row is Jack Bruce’s third studio album, originally released in July 1971.

The album takes its title from a tenement street in Glasgow, near where Bruce grew up. The street, since demolished, was famous as the largest unbroken houserow in Europe, stretching for over a mile. The album’s cover photo was taken near the Harmony Row tenement.

Although since cited by Bruce as his favourite solo album,[6] Harmony Row did not chart upon its release (it did continue to sell over a long period of time consistently). The album would be his last solo effort for over three years, as Bruce would join the power trio West, Bruce and Laing (with whom he would record three albums) in early 1972.

The song “The Consul at Sunset”, which was inspired by the Malcolm Lowry novel Under the Volcano was released as a single in 1971 (Polydor 2058-153, b/w “A Letter of Thanks”). (by wikipedia)

JackBruce01Harmony Row is the legitimate follow-up to Jack Bruce’excellent songs for a tailor, although 1971 also saw the almost-simultaneous release of 1968 jazz tapes entitled Things We Like by this artist. An elaborate gatefold package has a shadow photo of the artist from the back, overlooking a golden sun on the waters. The self-produced disc begins with the pop excursion “Can You Follow,” which blends into “Escape To The Royal Wood (On Ice).” Jack Bruce provides the voice, keyboards, bass, and some percussion, making this very much a solo project. “You Burned The Tables On Me” takes things into a progressive rock-meets-jazz arena. The only reference to blues here is Bruce’s voice, but guitarist Chris Spedding’s scratchy guitar, and the percussion — either by Jack Bruce or drummer Jim Marshall (who plays on what is not specified) make the track sound almost like Cream without Clapton. There’s a rare photo of Peter Brown in the second cardboard gatefold, and one of Bruce, while all of Brown’s lyrics are spread out for public consumption. A nice touch, as Peter Brown is to Jack Bruce what Keith Reid is to Procul Harum, and the cleverly obscured words are sometimes the only foundation to grasp at while one of rock & roll’s most innovative bassists goes from genre to genre, combining rhythms and melodies that defy commercial categorization. SingleHarmony Row is the album that combines many flavors of Bruce’s experimentations, making it courageous, adventurous, and hardly the product for a mass audience. “Folk Song” is barely a folk song; it is a progressive pop tune with that elegant, Procul Harum-like, sweeping, mystical statement. There’s a pretty piano against church-like organ and vocals, with amazing guitar embellishments by Chris Spedding. “Folk Song” has elements Bruce would examine again, on the album Monkjack; it’s a song which should have made him the darling of underground FM radio. It’s a far cry from the all-out assault of his forthcoming power trio, West, Bruce & Laing, which emerged a year after this. The delicacy of “Smiles And Grins” suggests that hard jazz is what would have given the project with Leslie West a much needed diversion. But what happened was that Bruce embraced the trail Mountain stampeded down, while a purer blending of the two would have been re-readings of this Harmony Row material. “Post War” is a good example of how the underappreciated Leslie West could have expanded his influence — Spedding’s contributions are enormous, and like West, he is the only other musician save the drummer on Bruce’s essential projects in 1971 and 1972, on the albums Harmony Row, and Why Dontcha. Drummer Jim Marshall appeared on the previous songs for a tailor, as did Spedding, though they BackCoverAdidn’t perform together on that disc. Here, Jack Bruce takes two players from that solo album, and moves them into another head-space. His use of the talents around him is impeccable, and yet another reason why fans should have embraced this quirky and intelligent troubadour. “A Letter Of Thanks” is so complex it borders on The Mothers Of Invention-style of non-groove, while “Victoria Sage” is more in-line with the ideas set forth on songs for a tailor, and with exquisite vocals by this tremendous singer. The final track, the tasty, Spanish-influenced “The Consul At Sunset,” utilizes multiple percussive ideas with piano and guitars overlapping Peter Brown’s words; those words are as important as the contributions from Marshall, Spedding, and Bruce. It’s actually quite an amazing transition when set against the other discs released in this four-year period, and a stunning output from a major artist without yielding a Top 40 hit. (by Joe Viglione)

LPBooklet02APersonnel:
Jack Bruce (bass, guitar, cello, keyboards, vocals)
John Marshall (drums)
Chris Spedding (guitar)

LPBooklet01ATracklist:
01. Can You Follow? 1.32
02. Escape to the Royal Wood (On Ice) 3.44
03. You Burned The Tables On Me 3.49
04. There’s A Forest 1.44
05. Morning Story 4.55
06. Folk Song 4.20
07. Smiles And Grins 6.05
08. Post War 4.20
09. A Letter Of Thanks 2.54
10. Victoria Sage 5.02
11. The Consul At Sunset 4.14
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12. Green Hills (instrumental version of “Can You Follow?”) 2.16
13. Escape to the Royal Wood (On Ice) (instrumental demo version) 4.01
14. There’s A Forest” (first take) 2.11
15. You Burned The Tables On Me (remix including electric piano) 4.10

Music. Jack Bruce
Lyrics: Pete Brown

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