Monday, November 10, 2014

All About That (Jack) Bruce: Train Time

Featuring some of the most talented musicians in Britain, the jazz/blues band The Graham Bond Organization (also stylized with the British spelling as The Graham Bond “Organisation”) would be termed as a super group today. At the time though, the members were relatively unknown. In 1965, they released their critically acclaimed debut album “The Sound of 65.”

The lineup included Graham Bond on vocals, keyboards, and alto sax; Jack Bruce on bass, harmonica, and vocals; Ginger Baker on drums and percussion; and Dick Heckstall-Smith on tenor and soprano saxophones. Although not on this recording, a previous incarnation of the Graham Bond Quartet featured guitarist John McLaughlin (along with Bond, Bruce, and Baker).

The band recorded two albums with a third that was posthumously released. It included some live recordings from The Graham Bond Quartet days. All three albums feature Jack Bruce. While I thought about featuring a tune with Bruce’s vocals, as there were several, I decided to allow you to savor the his fantastic harmonica playing with “Train Time.”

Bruce actually composed the song, but it was credited originally to “John Group” – a pseudonym that he used with The Graham Bond Organization. Apparently, all members of the band received royalties for this number under that name. It later emerged as a live staple for Cream and appeared as “Traintime” on “Wheels of Fire” and the “BBC Sessions” albums. Graham Bond sings on the original recording.

During their tenure with the band, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce were constantly fighting with one another. Further problems with Bruce led to him being fired before the release of their second album. It is said that Baker was enlisted to do the dirty work. Apparently by 1966, Bruce and Baker patched up their differences, as they were reunited in Cream less than a year after Bruce exited The Graham Bond Organization.

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