Ginger Baker

At my age, it very often happens that someone who was part of the background of my younger self dies. Yesterday it was Ginger Baker.

The obituary said more about his extraordinary life and his short temper than his drumming, and quoted him as saying that a drummer was no more than a timekeeper. Yet he was one who could really make music with a drumkit.

There was another side of him which they didn’t touch on at all. You will see this if you listen to his song “East Timor”. A passionate denunciation of the hypocrisy of governments who will sell out a small community for money, it is a song with huge contemporary relevance. And after the vocal section and a very mathematical bridge, his colleagues Charlie Haden and Bill Frisell do a very convincing take-off of Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton. Close your eyes and you could be listening to Cream in their heyday.

About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
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