by Robert Wilkinson
Yes, today is the birthday of one of the most famous drummers in the world, and one of the most obscure hitmakers of the mid-60s.
Since I don’t have the time to do a full tribute to Ginger this year, I’ll just post a few of his best! Ginger Baker (19 August 1939) is mainly known for his drumming with Cream and Blind Faith. He’s an extraordinary jazz drummer who went on to explore world beat and become a master of more percussion instruments than I can name here. For your enjoyment, a few moments of the great Ginger Baker!
From back in the day, Cream live and very loud performing “Sunshine of Your Love”
Also from the album Disraeli Gears, Ginger’s bizarre composition “Blue Condition”
Here’s 12 minutes of Ginger live in 1968 at the Royal Albert Hall performing his signature piece that defined the era of the drum solo, “Toad”
Here it is on the original studio album by Cream: “Toad”Here’s the full one hour video of Cream’s Farewell appearance at the Royal Albert Hall! The Cream Farewell Concert at the Royal Albert Hall 1968
Here’s Cream in 1967 in a highly distorted 10 minute audio-only live performance of a tune Ginger wrote, “Sweet Wine”
Here’s Ginger’s composition on the studio album “Goodbye,” “What A Bringdown”
For those who just can’t get enough of Cream, here’s the entire 1968 double studio album “Wheels of Fire”
For our encore, Ginger’s drumming in the amazing one-off group effort! I found a full one hour documentary with a live concert by Blind Faith featuring Ginger, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, and Rick Gretch. Simply amazing! Blind Faith Live in Hyde Park 1969
I was in awe of his drumming then, and I remain in awe of his drumming to this day.
We now turn our birthday greetings to Billy J Kramer (19 August 1943), one of the first Merseybeat singers who made it big as a result of being managed by Brian Epstein, who coincidentally was also the manager for the Beatles. The Beatles in the early 60s aspired to be a songwriting team who wrote for others as well as themselves, and gave away more than a few tunes to other acts who turned them into hits. Billy J. Kramer was one such act.
He only had a few, but they were big in the mid-60! I’ll bet some of the songs are familiar!!
Here was his first record, penned by Paul McCartney: “Do You Want To Know A Secret” On the flip side of “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” here’s the original studio version of Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas doing the early Paul McCartney tune that was obviously inspired by Buddy Holly “I’ll Be On My Way”
From Live at the BBC, here are the Beatles performing "I'll Be On My Way"
We now move to a live performance in 1965 of BJK's huge #1 hit from 1963 written by John Lennon, “Bad to Me”
Here’s the original demo by John Lennon from the Summer of 1963 of “Bad To Me”
Live on Shindig in 1964, Billy J and the Dakotas doing another of their hits, also written by John Lennon! This was the B-side of “Bad to Me,” “I Call Your Name”
Here’s the Beatles’ studio version of “I Call Your Name”
Here they are live doing yet another Beatles’ tune written by John and Paul, “From A Window”
Here's the Beatles' version: "From A Window"
Now for Billy J live on UK tv in 1964 when it was all Beatles all the time, especially it seems in Birmingham! From the pen of Paul McCartney, “I’ll Keep You Satisfied”
Here’s a live television performance of his 1964 hit, the first not written by a Beatle, “Little Children”
From 1965, a live television performance of his last hit “Trains, Boats, and Planes”
And that’s all for today, folks!!
© Copyright 2013 Robert Wilkinson