Get this crazy baby off my head!


The Jack Bruce Band

The Jack Bruce Band - Live '75 (aka Live at the Manchester Free Trade Hall) - 2003 - Polydor

This double-CD set was one of the unexpected bonuses of the 2001/2002 remastering of Jack Bruce's RSO/Polydor catalog -- amid a search of the vaults, a tape of this performance, the only official live recording of the Jack Bruce Band, was unearthed. They were news to Bruce at the time of their discovery, rough mixes done in contemplation of a concert album that was abandoned. It has its technical problems, but it was possible to clean up most of the sound to a fully professional modern standard, except for a couple of spots where extraneous noise does intrude, especially on the opening of disc two. But those are insignificant flaws in relation to the overall content of these tapes, which capture the band in fine form, especially Bruce, lead guitarist Mick Taylor, and keyboardist Carla Bley -- Ronnie Leahy fills out the keyboard sound and Bruce Gary handles the drumming. Their sound is surprisingly tight and their playing rich and crisp, doing a mix of progressive rock and blues-rock in which there are at least four potential lead instruments beyond Bruce's voice, which is extremely powerful throughout and, indeed, more expressive on-stage than it ever seemed amid the cacophony of Cream's concerts. The repertory is drawn almost entirely from his solo catalog (though they do close with an extended version of "Sunshine of Your Love"), with a special emphasis on songs from Out of the Storm. Though Carla Bley gets a lot of the spotlight for her work on piano, organ, Mellotron, and various other keyboard instruments, Leahy gets an extended featured spot on the piano for the medley of "Tickets to Waterfalls"/"Weird of Hermiston"/"Post War." Although there are a few standard-length songs here, this was a band that mostly preferred to stretch out, a fact illustrated by the presence of only four numbers on the second CD, which runs the better part of an hour. What made it work was that they had enough to say to fill that length, even on the 23-minute "Smiles and Grins," and the otherwise familiar "Sunshine of Your Love," here flexed out to over 13 minutes. They switch gears effortlessly between vocal numbers like "One" and instrumental-driven jams such as "You Burned the Tables on Me," without skipping a beat or letting the listener go. It's difficult to imagine how RSO would have released this recording reasonably intact in its own time -- there are too many tracks here that would have taken up a full side of an LP, and while Leon Russell and a few others had made the triple-live album a reality in rock, one is hard-put to imagine RSO springing for that with Bruce, whose critical notices were fantastic but whose sales -- especially in England -- had never matched his reviews. So perhaps it's just as well that this recording was forgotten but not lost, to show up today. The mix of blues, jazz elements, and hard rock, all in a free-form jam format, now seems all the more bracing and the CD market allows it to be kept intact. It's also doubly fortunate that this show was recorded during the period in which technology had finally mastered the art of capturing the sound of various electronic keyboard devices on-stage intact -- it's a small matter, but fans of the Mellotron will probably love this release. © Bruce Eder © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/live-at-the-manchester-free-trade-hall-r643240/review

Recorded live at The Free Trade Hall, Manchester, England on June 1st 1975, this is a fantastic blend of rock, blues and jazz from one of rock's music legends. Sound quality varies. The sleeve notes make the point that "Although this CD set has been remastered to the highest quality and has undergone extensive noise reduction processing, there are two one second long extraneous noises that remain audible. Due to the important historical nature of these recordings both the compiler and Jack Bruce felt that the inclusion of the songs upon which they appear was valid". Listen to Jack's "Somethin' Els" album, and search this blog for more releases. [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: 2 x rar files: Disc 1 = 152 Mb, & Disc 2 = 118 Mb]



1 Can You Follow? 1:45
2 Morning Story 7:56
3 Keep It Down 5:45
4 Pieces Of Mind 5:56
5 Tickets To Waterfalls/Weird of Hermiston/Post War 25:08
6 Spirit 10:44


1 One/You Burned The Tables On Me 17:01
2 Smiles And Grins 24:39
3 Sunshine Of Your Love 12:07

All music by Jack Bruce, and all words by Pete Brown except "Spirit" by Tony Williams, and "Sunshine Of Your Love" by Jack Bruce, Pete Brown, Eric Clapton


Jack Bruce - Bass Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Mick Taylor - Guitar
Carla Blay - Organ, Synthesiser, Mellotron, Electric Piano, Clavinet
Ronnie Leahy - Piano, Electric Piano, Synthesiser
Bruce Gary - Drums


Although some may be tempted to call multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and composer Jack Bruce a rock & roll musician, blues and jazz are what this innovative musician really loves. As a result, these two genres are at the base of most of the recorded output from a career that goes back to the beginning of London's blues scene in 1962. In that year, he joined Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated. Throughout the following decades and into the 21st century, Bruce has always been a supreme innovator, pushing himself into uncharted waters with his jazz and folk-rock compositions. Bruce's most famous songs are, in essence, blues tunes: "Sunshine of Your Love," "Strange Brew," "Politician," and "White Room." Bruce's best-known songs remain those he penned for Cream, the legendary blues-rock trio he formed with drummer Ginger Baker and guitarist Eric Clapton in July 1966. Baker and Bruce played together for five years before Clapton came along, and although their trio only lasted until November 1968, the group is credited with changing the face of rock & roll and bringing blues to a worldwide audience. Through their creative arrangements of classic blues tunes like Robert Johnson's "Crossroads," Skip James' "I'm So Glad," Willie Dixon's "Spoonful," and Albert King's "Born Under a Bad Sign," the group helped popularize blues-rock and led the way for similar groups that came about later on, like Led Zeppelin. Bruce was born May 14, 1943, in Lanarkshire, near Glasgow, Scotland. His father was a big jazz fan, and so he includes people like Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller among his earliest influences. He grew up listening to jazz and took up bass and cello as a teen. After three months at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, he left, disgusted with the politics of music school. After traveling around Europe for a while, he settled into the early blues scene in 1962 in London, where he eventually met drummer Ginger Baker. He played with British blues pioneers Alexis Korner and Graham Bond before leaving in 1965 to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, whose guitarist was Eric Clapton. This gave him time to get his chops together without having to practice. With Manfred Mann, who he also played with before forming Cream, Bruce learned about the business of making hit songs. Cream's reputation for long, extended blues jams began at the Fillmore in San Francisco at a concert organized by impresario Bill Graham. Bruce later realized that Cream gave him a chance to succeed as a musician, and admitted that if it weren't for that group, he might never have escaped London. After Cream split up in November 1968, Bruce formed Jack Bruce & Friends with drummer Mitch Mitchell and guitarist Larry Coryell. Recording-wise, Bruce took a different tack away from blues and blues-rock, leaning more in a folk-rock direction with his solo albums Songs for a Tailor (1969), Harmony Row (1971), and Out of the Storm (1974). In 1970 and 1971, he worked with Tony Williams Lifetime before putting together another power trio with guitarist Leslie West and drummer Corky Laing in 1972, simply called West, Bruce & Laing. After working with Frank Zappa on his album Apostrophe in 1974, Bruce was at it again in 1975 with the Jack Bruce Band, whose members included keyboardist Carla Bley and guitarist Mick Taylor. Back on the road in 1980 with Jack Bruce & Friends, the latter version of the group included drummer Billy Cobham, keyboardist David Sancious, and guitarist Clem Clempson, formerly of Humble Pie. In the early '80s, he formed another trio, B.L.T., this time with guitarist Robin Trower, before working with Kip Hanrahan on his three solo albums. Bruce's bluesiest albums include all of his work with Cream, the albums B.L.T. and Truce with Trower, some of his West, Bruce & Laing recordings, and several of his albums from the 1980s and early '90s. These include Willpower (PolyGram, 1989); A Question of Time (Epic Records, 1989), which includes guest performances by Albert Collins, Nicky Hopkins, and Baker; as well as his CMP Records live career-retrospective album, recorded in Cologne, France, Cities of the Heart (1993). Bruce released Monkjack in 1995, an album of his jazz piano compositions which he performs with organist Bernie Worrell, issued on CMP. Bruce recorded the fierce Shadows in the Air in 2001 with a new band called the Cuicoland Express that included Vernon Reid, Worrell, and Robby Ameen, and guest artists Eric Clapton and Dr. John for the CMC International/Sanctuary imprint. Bruce reunited with Robin Trower for 2008's Seven Moons, released on Evangeline Records, following it with Seven Moons Live a year later in 2009. In 2010 Bruce joined the Tony Williams Lifetime Tribute Band with Reid, organist John Medeski, and drummer Cindy Blackman and toured in the late part of the year and in early 2011 to sold-out performances and rave critical reviews. Also in 2011, Pledge Music, a company that pairs fans and artists to fund projects, released Jack Bruce and the Cuicoland Express Live at the Milky Way, from a 2001 concert in Amsterdam. The high-quality recording was provided by Bruce's daughters, who designed the cover as well. © Richard Skelly © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/jack-bruce-p3787/biography


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

Danneau said...

Thank you for this Jack Bruce set. What an interesting line-up. Some of what the Cream alumni did was interesting, some rather overblown, so I'm looking forward to hearing this. Strange where Mick Taylor shows up, and that Bruce played with several of the Mayall graduates.

Big D said...

F***ing A, man - what a find !! Thank you so much !!

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Danneau.As a unit Cream's output was small...still great, though. As individual musicians, Cream's members produced a large body of eclectic work, not all great, but I think the album here is one of the better ones. Mick Taylor certainly circulated well, and Jack Bruce has covered all music genres. Thanks for comment. TTU soon...P

Cheers, Big D! That's one way of putting it! Thanks. TTU soon...P

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Buddy! Now here is one time drug abuse did cause us something valueable! Anyone read the Jack Bruce biography that's out there now? I've never seen it. I'd really like to get the back story on how he worked through so many great opportunities in his career. I've been privledged to see him play twice in very small venues. Once with the DESIRE DEVELOPS AND EDGE band and again with Peter Blegvad and Stipe and Syd Straw and and (fuck, I can't remember the name of this recording band!)Ah! Golden Palaminoes!! HOT STUFF, JACK!!

Big D said...

Sorry to get so excited, Fingal, hope my enthusiasm didn't offend.

Jack Bruce has been a hero of mine for years, especially for the work he did with Robin Trower, so having this to listen to as well is a real, real pleasure

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,Anonymous. Thanks. I've seen that bio...will be reading it soon..TTU soon...P

Hi,Big D. You gotta get enthusiastic about the great Jack Bruce. No offence taken. I'll dig up some more of his work. Thanks, & TTU soon..P

John said...

Well I think the info is good