BAKERLOO – Bakerloo

I had this British blues album many years ago and never really rated it so got rid of it after a few listens. In the ensuing period I have constantly been informed by various books and articles that this is a classic UK prog/blues album, so I finally decided to give it another go. It was released in 1969, and is blues based rock with some progressive leanings, although the opening track ‘Big Bear Ffolly’ is a fast bluesy instrumental with some stinging guitar-work from Clem Clempson. Willie Dixon’s ‘Bring It On Home’ is up next, and this is pure Fleetwood Mac/Chicken Shack blues with a loping rhythm and blues-wailing harmonica, and turns out to be a very creditable effort. ‘Drivin’ Backwards’ is nothing more than a jazzy version of Jethro Tull’s ‘Bouree’ with Mariachi trumpets and harpsichord, and this could have been the point where I started to have my doubts last time. ‘Last Blues’ is a fast-paced bluesy rocker with some more fine guitar from Clempson, and ‘Gang Bang’ is an instrumental with more of the same but with the added bonus (!) of a lengthy drum solo. Side two consisted of just two tracks, of which the shorter ‘This Worried Feeling’ is easily the best, being a classic blues in the mould of early Mac or John Mayall, with Clempson’s guitar at its most lyrical in the opening passage. ‘Son Of Moonshine’ is a much heavier piece, and you can begin to hear why the band were sometimes compared to Cream in their live performances. Clempson once again shines on guitar, and I am really trying to remember why I didn’t like this when I first heard it. Perhaps I am more into the blues than I was, but hearing this now I find that it is a really good blues-rock album, with some outstanding guitar-work on some of the songs. The CD re-issue contains two bonus tracks, one of which is a re-working of ‘This Worried Feeling’ done with piano replacing the guitar, and is an interesting experiment, while the other is the previously unreleased ‘Once Upon A Time’. This is a more straight-ahead rock song, and once again brings to mind the Cream comparison, with its scorching guitar fills running throughout the song. Sometimes it is good to re-assess an album after some time away from it, and after hearing this album again with a twenty year gap in between I can now whole-heartedly recommend it to fans of blues and heavy rock.