Saturday, April 8, 2017

Baker Gurvitz Army - 1976 - Hearts on Fire

Baker Gurvitz Army
Hearts on Fire

01. Hearts On Fire 2:30
02. Neon Lights 4:35
03. Smiling 3:12
04. Tracks Of My Life 4:40
05. Flying In And Out Of Stardom 2:17
06. Dancing The Night Away 3:25
07. My Mind Is Healing 3:50
08. Thirsty For The Blues 5:15
09. Night People 3:19
10. Mystery 4:02

- Ginger Baker / Drums
- Paul Gurvitz / Bass
- Adrian Gurvitz / Guitars, vocals
- Snips (Steve Parsons) / Lead vocals

The third-and-final album from the Baker Gurvitz Army doesn't quite live up to the high standards reached on the outfit's previous efforts, but it's still an enjoyable work. Formed after the two, London-born Gurvitz brothers Adrian(guitar) and Paul(bass) absorbed ex-Cream drummer Ginger Baker and the curiously-named singer Mr Snips into what was essentially a new formation of their own Three Man Army outfit, the Baker Gurvitz Army produced slick, dynamic and technically-assured rock music tinged with a hint of prog colour. They were always much more classic rock than prog-rock, though sadly they failed to find true commercial success during their brief career. They did, however, enjoy a loyal live following and plenty of positive critical support, especially for their excellent second album 'Elysian Encounter', yet by the time 'Hearts Of Fire' had been issued in 1976 the writing was on the wall. The death of their managed would prove to be the final straw, and by 1977 the Baker Gurvitz Army, one of the most under-appreciated of all British rock groups, were no more. As a swansong, the straightforward rock sound of 'Hearts Of Fire' proves slightly misleading, showcasing the more accessible side of the group in what was surely an attempt to broaden their appeal after the heightened progressive textures of 'Elysian Encounter', yet fans of 1970's rock should still find much to enjoy. Highlights include the hard-rockin' title-track, which exhibits yet more powerful playing from Adrian Gurvitz, the up-tempo 'Dancing The Night Away', and, finally, the live favourite 'Wotever It Is'. Although they may have been just a footnote in the overall history of rock 'n' roll, the Baker Gurvitz Army sound has stood the test of time remarkably well. Those who take the time to explore all three of their highly-recommended studio albums(plus a handful of recently-released live offerings) will discover a treasure-trove of diamond-sharp rock 'n' roll and experience a group blessed with true musical talent.

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