So Jack and Justin and I played Hardly Strictly Bluegrass yesterday and it was a glorious hang. This post is not about that. I’ll get to that later. This is to note and reflect on the passing of Ginger Baker. What Ginger, Jack and Eric did with Cream changed my life in a profound way. The musicianship was off the charts, of course, but it was more than that. In my opinion, no one transliterated the work of the acoustic blues masters into an electric format better than Cream, and I’m not even talking about their originals. They invented that stuff, so thanks guys… muchly appreciated.
My ex, Margareta and Ginger and I found ourselves staying at the Landmark hotel… yep, the same one where Janis checked out. 2001, A Space Odyssey was just opening on Hollywood Blvd. Margareta and I had just purchased Manley P. Hall’s massive book on the Rosicrucians at an antique book store up the street. We dropped that tome off a our room, snagged Ginger Baker and headed for the movies. No one had ever seen anything like 2001 before and we made sure we were properly chemically prepared for that visual adventure. Everything was a psychedelic melange of sensations but I have a vague and colorful memory that Randy California of Spirit was also in the audience and that he got out of his seat and walked into the screen. As Pete Seeger would say, ‘Wasn’t that a time?’
I’m not saying that Ginger and I were buds… I’m not sure he had buds in the traditional sense, but we did hang together for a couple of minutes back there in Hollywood in the late 60’s. I would see him again in 1989 at the Mondrian hotel as the Airplane was preparing for the 1989 Reunion Tour, but that too is a tale for another time.
He was one of a kind and undeniably a force of nature. I would probably never have run into him again, but the planet earth is a poorer place without him.
Rest in peace brother!
Here’s to us, and those like us. Damn few left!