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Mott’s CD review
Book Review: Thai Jinks
The tone of this book, Thai Jinks (Asia
Books, 2006, ISBN 974-8303-92-6) is set in the introduction, where author
James Eckardt writes, “Pushing sixty now, I rejoice in the fact that while
children are the punishment that God gives you for having sex, grandchildren
are the reward He gives you for not killing your children.” Oh how I wish I
could claim authorship to words of wisdom like those, but then, I am but a
poor scribbler in the provinces, while James has worked not only for the
Bangkok Post, but The Nation as well. However, I shall refrain from maudlin
This is Eckardt’s fourth book, and I have enjoyed the previous efforts, and
before going much further with this review, I liked this one too, so you can
skip to the price if you don’t want to read all my waffle.
The book is in two parts, with vignettes on his life on land and the other on
sea. I am very well experienced on land, but have to admit that other than
falling off an ocean-going yacht in the Straits of Gibraltar, my life before
the mast has been sadly lacking. That Eckardt could interest me in his aquatic
exploits is the mark of a good writer, and I enjoyed every one.
The items on land go back for many years (34 years to his Peace Corps
‘acid’ trip, and an even more amazing 54 years to his schooling at St.
Boniface), and are not in chronological order, but this does not matter. Each
is a stand-alone story, written in a conversational style through which you
can almost hear Eckardt expounding, whilst he attacks another beer. During
these rantings he introduces his daughter Erika the Beast (a person that all
fathers will relate to) and then inveigles you to buy him another beer.
In fact, after reading this book I came to the conclusion that Eckardt’s
life has been one of disaster management, going from one last four beers to
the next. Even if not all of the vignettes revolve around beer, the pages are
certainly bespattered with the amber fluid. Journalists have been known to
indulge in the odd beer-fuelled binge (especially if someone else is picking
up the Check Bin) and Eckardt certainly follows this almost mandatory
scribbler’s dictum. Add ‘yachting’ to journalism and you can see
immediately (and read in this case) just why the listing on the Stock Exchange
for Chang Beer became such a hot issue. Forget the anti-swillers, the chaps on
the yacht tillers could have been down to their last four beers!
James Eckardt is a good writer, even though he attempts at self deprecation. I
found this was a great book for a pick up and put down chuckle. Well worth the
B. 450 at my local Bookazine. As Eckardt writes, “The measure of your life
is not the dollars you’ve earned but the laughs you’ve had. And by that
measure I am John Paul Effing Getty.” However, I must say that the aforesaid
Getty has never given me anything, whilst James Eckardt has. Thanks for the
Mott's CD Reviews: B.B.M. (Baker, Bruce, and Moore)
Around The Next Dream
5 Stars *****
Mott the Dog
If this column was still called ‘Forgotten Classics’,
then ‘Around The Next Dream’ would certainly come into that category.
After the original supergroup power trio Cream broke up in 1968, it seemed that
every decade Jack Bruce had a go at recreating the formula with other famous
musicians. In the Seventies we were presented with West, Bruce, and Laing, a
combination of Leslie West, lead guitar and vocals, and Corky Laing, on the
drums, both ex-Mountain, playing with Jack Bruce. They produced two of the
worst two albums ever to escape the recording studio in Why Dontcha (1972) and
then even worse Whatever Turns you On (1973). How such three talented musicians
could come up with such dross is beyond me. Columbia Records should hang their
collective heads in shame for allowing the release of this stuff. Even the
album covers were amongst the worst ever.
In the Eighties Jack Bruce tried again, this time with ex-Procol Harum, and axe
hero in his own right, guitarist Robin Trower, and drummer Bill Lordan. Two
more albums were produced, the excellent BLT (1981) (one cannot help but wonder
if Bill Lordan was not chosen just so he could be the lettuce in the BLT),
followed by the slightly lacklustre Truce (1982). To be fair to this ensemble
they never stood a chance in the apathy faced by real rock musicians in the
early Eighties, so this combination rather fell by the wayside due to neglect.
Each artist returned to their solo careers.
Then in the Nineties, after an impromptu jam at Jack Bruce’s 50th Birthday
celebrations, the seeds for a new power trio were planted. One of the major
factors in Cream breaking up was that Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce could not
stand the sight of each other; musically the perfect combination as a driving
rhythm section, but personality wise, oh dear. As far back as 1963 Ginger Baker
had gone for Jack Bruce with a large knife when the two were together in The
Graham Band Organization.
But, with great tact and diplomacy, old wounds were healed and it was decided
to join forces once more to provide two thirds of BBM with mercurial young
guitarist Gary Moore (ex Colosseum 2, Skid Row, Thin Lizzy and a successful
solo career). When this trio was announced to the press, most of the comments
from knowledgeable journalists at the time were that Baker and Bruce would only
last minutes before fists would start to fly. It was like lighting the blue
touchpaper and waiting for the fireworks.
Producing themselves, with help from Ian Young, the band secluded themselves in
Outside and Samm studios, reappearing six weeks later with a massive fifty two
minutes worth of hard rock inlayed with the blues. There is not a filler track
in sight; every song stood its own ground. At the time there were many
comparisons made with some songs bearing resemblances to Cream classics, but
then what did people expect? There were two thirds of Cream playing together
for the first time in over twenty five years.
The album mixes great rockers, such as opener Waiting In The Wings and the
incendiary I Wonder Why (Are You So Mean To Me), to classic ballads, like Wrong
Side Of Town and Naked Flame, which give Jack Bruce a chance to show off his
The album also includes some rock solid mid tempo numbers allowing the band to
showcase their individual skills; for example, Why Does Love (Have To Go Wrong)
where for the last three minutes of its allotted eight and a half minute
duration, Gary Moore is allowed to totally wig out on guitar, bringing the song
to an epic climax. Without a shadow of a doubt the best guitar solo Moore has
ever laid down in the studio, and yes I have heard Still Got The Blues For You,
Black Rose, etc.
Can’t Fool The Blues is probably the choice cut on the platter, combining
great lyrics, Ginger Baker’s driving drums, dexterous bass work, and Gary
Moore again enjoying himself immensely on guitar.
The guys had cheated a little bit by straying ever so slightly from the power
trio formula, by employing the talents of Tommy Eyre on keyboards, who plays
some beautifully refined keyboards, filling out each song admirably.
In between Cream’s, Baker and Bruce were never on such a fine album, and this
was certainly the pinnacle of Gary Moore’s guitar playing. A bold statement I
know, but remember this is a ‘Forgotten Classic’.
Album sales at first were good, and the band headed out on the road to play
some warm up dates in Continental Europe, receiving glowing reviews all the
way. Once back on British soil they were booked into London’s prestigious
Marquee club for a four night residency. On the first night Gary Moore was all
over the place, soloing where he should have been riffing, then fluffing his
big moments when they came, cursing the other two on stage: Spinal Tap on
stage. When they managed to get off stage and back to the dressing room, a
quick and violent row occurred with Gary Moore leaving the premises never to
speak to the other two again. Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker went back on stage
for a perfunctory encore without a lead guitar. Wryly commenting afterwards
that it was not the Baker / Bruce combination that had not worked, but the
young guitarist that had imploded the band. Such is life in the rock ‘n’
roll circus. But at least this trio did leave behind a true masterpiece in
Around The Next Dream.
Ginger Baker: Drums
Gary Moore: Guitar, Vocals
Jack Bruce: Bass, Vocals
(Tommy Eyre: Keyboards)
Waiting In The Wings
City Of Gold
Where In The World
Can’t Fool The Blues
High Cost Of Loving
Why Does Love (Have To Go Wrong)?
I Wonder Why (Are You So Mean To Me)?
Wrong Side Of Town
To contact Mott the Dog
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