Image Image

  Nostalgia ain't what it used to be

Sunday, 29 March, 2020
Image

Goodbye Ginger

Date: 08 October, 2019

By: Chief

Imageow, I can hardly believe it. Ginger Baker — gone? As in deceased? Regrettably the answer is yes. Ginger passed away 06 October, 2019, from the effects of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD for short. By the way both Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the old terms and both have been replaced by COPD.

He and they were amazing

You simply cannot talk about one without talking about the entire band. At least I cannot. So with that said . . .

And that my friends truly is a prize understatement. I can remember listening to the band Cream sometime is late 1966. They were all over the radio — especially FM stations coming out of San Francisco. Let me tell y'all something right here and now — once you heard their music you simply could not stop listening to it. Cream was the Pied Piper of hard rock. And Ginger was always there banging away on his custom drum kit. By the by, are you aware that Ginger was one of the first, if not the first drummer to use a dual bass drum kit? How about them apples?

Okay, why the name "Cream" for a rock 'n' roll (though they could and did play any type of music)? Quoting h2g2:

"[ ... ] After Clapton's suggestion of 'Sweet'n'Sour Rock'n'Roll' was rejected, they chose the name 'Cream' after Clapton said 'we're the cream', referring to the fact that they were all the most proficient players of their respective instruments at the time." [Emphasis added]

And that brothers and sisters ... is the absolute truth. You may not have liked 'em but you doggone well had to respect their capabilities. Which were, truth be told, basically limitless.

See ya Cream

It is a travesty of no small proportion that Cream lasted only 2 - 2 1/2 years or so. Their:

Those five things were probably what caused them to break up Indeed, quoting Wikipedia:

"[ ... ] Baker stated in a 2006 interview with Music Martmagazine, 'It just got to the point where Eric said to me: 'I've had enough of this', and I said so have I. I couldn't stand it. The last year with Cream was just agony. It damaged my hearing permanently, and today I've still got a hearing problem because of the sheer volume throughout the last year of Cream. But it didn't start off like that. In 1966, it was great. It was really a wonderful experience musically, and it just went into the realms of stupidity'."

Be all that as it may for those 2 - 2 1/2 years the world literally rocked. Magic was happening. How they did what they did is far beyond me. But they did it and they did it with flair and style. To be sure I was willing, though not at all able, to beg, borrow or steal the money in order to get round trip bus fare and a couple of tickets for their New York shows in 1968. After all I was a whopping 14 years of age. I knew what I doing. Sure I didn't. However, it must be said with grief condign that I never did come up with the money let alone make it to New York for a Cream show. Oh whoa is me.

Epilogue

To this very day it still surprises just how many people — young, middle and us old folks still remember Cream. Far more importantly, is how many of us still listen to their music and pass it along to the new generation. It may seem crazy but it is Cream, the Grateful Dead, Sonny Landreth and of course blues guitarist Roy Rogers that I have passed on to my boys and to just plain old folks. Everyone digs the music.

Of course Cream played hard rock and blues but let me ask you this ... have y'all ever seen a person who was listening to music in a bad mood? I, for one, have not. Hence, start collecting Cream. You shall not be sorry.

Cream's audio vitae which is as much Ginger's as it is Eric's or Jack's:

Okay Ginger, where you are now you certainly aren't feeling any pain so get on your drum kit and play. You know you want too ... so do it. Do not make the universe wait.

You can also take a look and listen on Youtube.

Now, rock your world people — while you still can.

[Ed note: Though this story may seem as if it were mostly about the band Cream, without Ginger Baker their would have been no Cream. In a real weird way — musically — they were all one and the same. The Cream.]

(Return to the top)