The short-lived “supergroup” BBM was basically the Cream reunion that Eric Clapton wasn’t interested in, so they subbed in Gary Moore. There had been a Cream get-together ahead of this and then a documented one a decade after – but this was, briefly, an exciting thing. Particularly because it arrived on the back of Moore’s blockbuster “Blooze!” albums Still Got The Blues and After Hours. And holy fuck I was a fan of those albums. Was. They and his god-awful ‘blues’ tone are dreadful reminders that taste is something you build on, accumulate – but as a gateway I’ll always have some lingering respect for the Still Got The Blues-era. It got me into a lot of the stuff that Moore was trying to pay tribute to.
So, this album – Around The Next Dream – was perfect-storm shit for me. I was obsessed with Clapton and Cream and I had learned a lot of the Cream songs on the drums so Ginger Baker was absolutely my hero. I was also a fan of Jack Bruce as bassist, singer and multi-instrumentalist. Cream was about all three parts, all three players pulling in the right direction, pulling so hard they pulled it apart.
I think the real reason I was into this – was because it existed.
And so I poured myself into it. I worked hard to find bits that I thought sounded like Cream, (like the I Feel Free–reminiscent BVs on Glory Days and, basically, whenever Ginger rode on the toms) and the highlight, undoubtedly, was album centrepiece, Why Does Love (Have To Go Wrong)
But none of that means it’s – at all – a good album. And the fact that it’s a crap album was just fine too! It was Ginger. And it was nearly Cream. And Jack Bruce sounded pretty amazing on Why Does Love – even if he was straining too hard on a lot of the other songs.
The Gary Moore songs sound like…Gary Moore songs. IE: Not very good. But there were moments where his guitar playing was enough of a substitute for EC. At the time anyway.
The best thing about this album is that I would go on to discover Ginger Baker’s solo albums and particularly the jazz album that followed this where he and Charlie Haden and Bill Frisell actually sounded more like Cream, albeit in an instrumental/jazz-setting than BBM ever did.
And Clapton made a knockout return-to-his roots blues album around this time too – so he didn’t need the Cream-nostalgia it seemed.
BBM is a weird-as-fuck album actually. And I still want to think it’s brilliant, but it’s a classic 90s overly-long, made-for-the-CD-format album. And the Moore tunes really just sound like what he was doing on his paint-by-numbers blues-esque solo outings.
There is a beautiful drum-sound here though, so full, and Ginger does try some interesting things out, an odd time-signature swing here, the tribal thing that is his secret sauce of course and he’s almost not there at all on one of Gary Moore’s better blues offering on this album; Ginger playing with restraint even if Gary isn’t.
I used to be a completist. I’d follow the bands and artists and check out any and all guest appearances, side-projects, half-pie reunions etc. We get bitten by the bug. And we become collectors of a sort. And the BBM album is one of my reminders of that time. I listen to it now roughly every 4.5 years.
And that’s enough. More than enough. But there are moments during this album where my eyes light up. There’s a spark. I get the goosebumps even. I get excited by what I’m hearing. And then I turn to anything else featuring Ginger or Jack and absolutely nothing featuring Gary Moore. Lol.
Oh, and super cool cover too. That image is great. Perfect. Sometimes I think that’s the best bit of the album.