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Ginger Baker & Energy 1977-80

Ginger Baker circa 1977

Ginger Baker's Energy

Ginger Baker's Energy at Acorn Studios in Acton

Ginger Baker

In this archive: the end of Baker-Gurvitz Army; the start of Ginger Baker's Energy.

Ginger Baker's Energy

The Baker Gurvitz Army played their last date in August 1976...and they disbanded soon after the death of their manager Bill Fehilly. Studio time had already been booked for Ginger to do a solo album, but due to Bill's death, low spirits and heroin addiction his ‘heart wasn't in it' (Hellraiser). In Ginger's own words the resultant record Eleven Sides of Baker (EMI) ‘wasn't very good.'

This is a shame because the personnel were certainly first class musicians, with old friend Rick Grech being drafted in on bass (as well as Kuma Harada, Herbie Flowers & Delise Harper). RAK records lent renowned guitarist Chris Spedding, there was a great African percussion team (Kofi Osapanin, Kojo Osapanin & Olu George) as well as ‘The Candlestick Brass' section, featuring the great Ian Hamer on trumpet; and Mr Snips came over from the wreckage The BGA to take lead vocals.

All arrangements were by Ginger; it was engineered by Cyrano, recorded at Ramport and mixed at Scorpio Sound with tape operator Ian Major. Ginger recounts in his book that at that time polo was the only thing that was still making him happy and this is reflected on tracks which mentioned his horses, such as ‘Pampero' (tribute to the loss of his favourite mount) & ‘Don Durango' who rides Ginger's horse ‘Chamango'.

True to his word Ginger immersed himself in the game of polo throughout 1977, although he still found time to spend hanging out with Eric Clapton & Pattie Boyd at their Surrey home which was en route from Cowdray Park polo club in West Sussex. Unfortunately polo is an expensive pastime and soon Ginger encountered severe financial problems.

In November 1978..............Ginger ‘managed to get a paying gig in Berlin' alongside FELA ANIKULAPO KUTI and his AFRICA 70; he took his old Cream roadie Mick Turner along to help. Fela was going through what Ginger describes as a ‘strange period' and refused to play with him, so instead Ginger was accompanied by Tony Allen & Henry Kofi in a ‘show-stopping drum set' (of which there is a recording in existence).

Now Ginger set up another recording studio in Acton North London, using his previous experience in Lagos to get the place set-up to a high standard. Then in 1979 Ginger formed ‘Energy' (August 79 - June 1980).

Consisting of:

GB : drums

John Mizarolli: guitar, vocals

Whitey Davis: guitar , vocals

Henry Thomas: bass

David Lennox: keyboards

Their debut gig was on 21st September 1979  at London‘s Venue and from October that year, to January 1980 they gigged around England, getting decent press and a few standing ovations along the way. Then between February and March 1980, they embarked on a European tour, which took in Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Italy, The Netherlands and Belgium. The German leg of this haphazard tour is recounted in Hellraiser, when their coach suffered a blow out on black-ice, self-styled manager Roy Ward & drug dealer Byron had a fight with a tyre iron and heroin induced mayhem reigned supreme!

Money, the one thing Ginger needed most was not forthcoming, and in the summer of 1980 he was contacted by guitarist Dave Brock who asked him if he'd do some recording with Hawkwind.....