Wednesday, November 12, 2014

All About That (Jack) Bruce: I Want To Know

As we study the musical history of Jack Bruce, he appears to be a man that was destined to play in super groups and today’s selection is no different. It all came about when Elektra Records was opening their London office under the management of producer/A&R man Joe Boyd.

To celebrate that auspicious occasion, Paul Jones of Manfred Mann suggested that such a group be formed. Former members of The Roosters and current members of Manfred Mann, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and the Spencer Davis Group collaborated on a recording. This short-lived band was named Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse.

The group consisted of the following:

Former Roosters members – Eric Clapton (guitar), Paul Jones (harmonica & back-up vocals), and Ben Palmer (piano).

Current Manfred Mann members – Paul Jones and Jack Bruce (bass).

Current members of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers – Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce.

Current members of The Spencer Davis Group – Steve Winwood (vocals) and Peter York (drums).

The Powerhouse recorded four tracks with Elektra releasing three of these on the sampler “What’s Shakin’.” The sampler headlined the Lovin’ Spoonful and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, but also included cuts from Al Kooper and Tom Rush.

Because Winwood was under contract at the time, he used the pseudonym Steve Anglo; however, Elektra initially got that wrong and he was credited as Steve Angelo. Winwood, under the Anglo/Angelo name, and Eric Clapton were the only two Powerhouse members to receive specific credit on “What’s Shakin’.”

In order to be distanced from this project on another label, Paul Jones’ composition “I Want to Know” was credited to his first wife under a variation of her maiden name, Sheila MacLeod; writing credits were assigned to “S. McLeod.” “I Want to Know” features the driving bass of Jack Bruce as well as the excellent musicianship of the rest of the Powerhouse team. The three cuts, including, “I Want to Know,” were produced by Joe Boyd.

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