11th December 2015

Title: Bakerloo

Label: Esoteric 

Originally created as a power trio with Blodwyn Pig-like vibes as the Bakerloo Blues Line in 1967, the band were populated by Dave “Clem” Clempson on lead guitar and keys, Terry Poole on bass and Keith Baker sat at the drums. Famously the support on the night Led Zeppelin made their debut at London’s Marquee Club, Bakerloo were one of the first to sign for Harvest, the EMI imprint.

This album was quite a hard rock release, although offering complicated musical arrangements. Hence, you could, if you squinted a bit, label it progressive blues rock. Dave Clempson was not averse to showing his chops and investigating rhythms and melodies in almost jazz-like style. In fact, they were heading towards Ten Years After territory when the band decided to break up in 1969. Clem Clempson quit to join Colosseum and then Humble Pie while Terry Poole ended up with Uriah Heep, as did Baker, for a time (plus Supertramp when that band was known as Daddy).

On Driving Bachwards, one of those ‘fun’ titles, Bakerloo jumped on the prog affection for the classics, with this take on, can you guess,  Bach’s work. Like other blues rock bands, though, sometimes the sheer talent on display would bury the song itself. So, what you’d sometimes get, is a boastful, ‘Look at me’ episode. All very nice and impressive but the song could suffer on occasion. It’s that child-like ‘show-off’ thing, I suppose. That said, the album does grip you and draw you in which is helped by Poole’s portentous yet sombre vocal, especially on Last Blues which is an extended piece of precise music, spanning seven minutes with plenty of action to please any fan of hard rock. Similarly, Son of Moonshine certainly takes the eye or, indeed, ear but that clocks in even longer. Twice as long, in fact.

Faced with a bemused rock fan and forced to compare Bakerloo in a word or two, then names such as Savoy Brown, Steamhammer and The Groundhogs would       flit across your mind as you listen to this album. A worthy effort – it would have been interesting to see how the band would have evolved if they had stayed together.