Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Beware Of Mr. Baker - DVD Review

         I guess the biggest question you could ask after this documentary was over is how does someone who is talented and gifted can throw their fame and fortune away even though he is given so many chances.  Maybe the bigger point is that you have to say that things could have been worse for him if it weren’t for the fact that he is so talented.  

          I didn’t know much about Ginger Baker other than the fact that he was a great drummer although I might disagree with his claim that he thought that he was better than Keith Moon of the Who or John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.  There was a huge difference in rock music between those groups and Cream and Blind Faith but I would go with Moon and Bohnam.  

          I thought it was interesting that Baker started out as a fan of jazz music and learned a lot from great artists like Charlie Parker.  There were other things as well such as the WWII footage or his days playing polo after he left the bands.

           I didn’t know about Baker’s early days, which included working with Jack Bruce and the Graham Bond Organisation.  Then I was caught off guard when Baker left the band after having several fights with Bruce, which led to Baker pulling a knife on him.  Somehow, that led to the two of them forming Cream with Eric Clapton.

            Of course, Baker’s self destructive path with drugs and arguments with Bruce led to the breakup of Cream only after two years, although he Baker would be back together with Clapton for Blind faith, which didn’t last that long either.  Eventually, Clapton would be off on his own making some of the greatest songs of all time.  

            Baker’s life outside the band was even worse, if that was possible, leaving his wife and children for an 18 year old girl.   This only hurt his family more when they lost the house since Baker was broke.  You could only wonder how he managed to have a good relationship with his son.  

            The DVD is unedited, catching Baker many times, cursing Jay Bulger, the person who was creating this report of Baker from Africa.  At one point, Baker would break Bulger’s nose but somehow, the video would go on.  

            Putting aside the fact that I would have liked to hear more music from Cream and Blind Faith on the video, the animation of Baker did make up for this and made the video even more entertaining at times.  Other than that, it was a sad story, seeing Baker on a self-destructive path that hurt a lot of people along the way.  The video is hard to watch at times, making me shake my head.  

            As a documentary about great music, I would say that I enjoyed it, seeing some band members who came out to express their thoughts about Baker from great rock groups like The Sex Pistols, The Grateful Dead, and the Police, just to name a few bands.  

            The story line is depressing at time, and that is the reason I can only give this video 4 stars.  

Ron Hummer 

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