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Baker Gurvitz Army

Elysian Encounter

Review by Gary Hill

I've reviewed a box set of this band in the current issue of Music Street Journal. In addition, I'm doing individual retro reviews of this album and the first one. The track by track reviews for these are the same as those in the box set, but that review does not include these overall reviews. It should be noted that getting these as part of the box set is recommended, as that set is great.

This second album from Baker Gurvitz Army continued the psychedelic meets prog and jazz stylings of the first, but wandered a bit more into mainstream rock than the first album did. While that one is a pretty good fit under progressive rock, this one makes it, too, but not quite as fully. The lineup here includes Ginger Baker and Adrian Gurvitz and Paul Gurvitz, making up the name.  Mr. Snips handles lead vocals on six of the songs and Peter Lemer provides the keyboards.  


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
People
Drums open things here. The guitar fires in with a fast paced proggy styled jam that's very cool. They work out into something that's energetic and has a bit of a funk edge. As the vocals join, 70s rock is at the heart of this. It's proggy, but also has some definite psychedelic edges to it. It's a powerhouse rocker, particularly later. While a lot of this is a drum showcase, it's not at the detriment of the song.
The Key

The guitar that opens this has a bit of a blues rock vibe to it. There is a funky sort of groove at play, too. I can make out some real hints of early Santana on this for some reason. The groove on this is so cool.

Time
Baker gets a spoken vocal on this number. The cut has a real psychedelic vibe to it. It reminds me of what you might get if you merged Blind Faith with Captain Beyond. This is such a classy tune. It's one of my favorites of the whole set.
The Gambler
I'm reminded of Blind Faith again on this bluesy rocker. There are definitely psychedelic and prog edges to this along with some Beatlesesque elements at play.
The Dreamer
That Blind Faith kind of vibe is all over this tune, too. It has psychedelia along with catchy blues based rock. I love the guitar fills on the tune. The whole thing is cool.
Remember
Now, they bring the progressive rock back home to roost with this powerhouse. It has some of that Blind Faith concept. It also has some of that early Santana thing at play. The powerhouse jamming, though, turns decidedly progressive rock oriented and soars toward fusion at times.
The Artist
The bluesy rock of Cream and Blind Faith are well represented here, along with psychedelia. This gets into some proggy territory as it marches forward, though. It's another killer hard rocker on a disc that's full of them.
The Hustler
I love the smoking hot guitar riff that drives this thing. The cut has more of a blues rock vibe, but I swear I can hear hints of Gentle Giant on this. It manages to be proggy at the same time it shows off those Cream leanings. There is some powerhouse guitar work built into this thing, and it's packed full of energy. They take it into some jazz zones further down the road, too.
Bonus Tracks
            
People (Live)

This powerhouse jam works so well in this live performance. The proggy elements seem to be intensified here. The instrumental section is a real powerhouse.

Freedom (Live)

The groove on this is soulful. The cut has some prog elements at play, but overall has a real funky texture. It makes me think of Stevie Wonder just a little. This jam is very cool. I dig the retro keyboard sounds on it.

 
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