VARIOUS ARTISTS – Sunshine Of Your Love: A Concert For Jack Bruce (MIG Records MIG02192)

Sunshine Of Your LoveOn the 24th October 2015, a year after the death of Jack Bruce – widely acknowledged as one of the best electric bass players of all time – a small galaxy of star (admittedly not very folky) musicians gathered for a tribute concert at the Roundhouse in London. Sunshine Of Your Love, released on the 25th October 2019, is a DVD and double CD set recorded at that concert. Among the musicians taking part were Ian Anderson (frontman of Jethro Tull), Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson (Bakerloo, Colosseum, Humble Pie, Jack Bruce and Friends), Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music, Quiet Sun), Bernie Marsden (Whitesnake, Paice Ashton Lord), Uli Jon Roth (Scorpions, Electric Sun), Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers), Mark King  (Level 42), Joss Stone, members of Jack’s own Big Blues Band, and many more. There is also archive footage of Jack Bruce himself, including an energetic ‘Traintime’ and an emotional ‘Music For An Imaginary Western’. And while Cream bandmate Eric Clapton didn’t perform at the concert, the CD does include as a bonus track his pleasantly understated acoustic guitar piece ‘For Jack’.

Ginger Baker, Jack’s bandmate most famously in Cream (but also in Blues Incorporated and BBM – perhaps we shouldn’t mention the Graham Bond Organization in this context), also appears in the film, famously walking off during the performance of ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’, though that isn’t as obvious from this film as from a video widely viewed on YouTube. Sad, but perhaps not an altogether inappropriate footnote – not so much in the light of the notoriously difficult relationship between Bruce and Baker, more in that there is a clear difference in approach between Baker and the other drummer (Frank Tontoh? – he isn’t actually credited in the booklet that accompanies the set), who is way too obtrusive for my taste. In sharp contrast, Baker’s playing behind Aruba on ‘We’re Going Wrong’ is an object lesson, surprisingly sensitive for such a difficult man.

Certainly there was much more to Cream than the internal conflicts, and much more to Jack Bruce than that band, influential and well-remembered though it might be. Still, there are quite a few more songs here most associated with Cream, including ‘I Feel Free’, ‘White Room’, ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ (of course) and ‘Politician’, as well as some Cream songs that Bruce didn’t co-write (the Skip James classic ‘I’m So Glad’ and ‘Badge’, written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison). While some of Bruce’s best-known songs written with Pete Brown were first recorded with Cream, there are many other songs here from their longstanding writing partnership. In general, the Cream songs follow the original arrangements with augmented arrangements, and in the ‘Sunshine…’ finale, a slightly-extended jam. Liam Bailey does a good job of the lead vocal on several songs. Mark King’s vocals are sometimes uneven, but his love for the songs carries him through. Still, on the whole I rather prefer the re-interpretations from the 2005 Cream reunion, even if they don’t always have the energy of the original recordings.

Standout tracks for me: the jazzy interpretation of ‘Milonga’; Ayanna Witter-Johnson’s ‘Rope Ladder To The Moon’, accompanied only by her own cello; ‘Candlelight’, a song written by Bruce and his wife Margrit Bruce Seyffer; Ian Anderson making ‘Tickets To Waterfalls’ sound very much his own; the harmonies between Chloe Fiducia and Julie Iwheta on ‘Ships In The Night’; daughter Aruba Red’s heartfelt ‘Folk Song’; and while I’ve never quite acquired the Joss Stone habit, ‘Never Tell Your Mother She’s Out Of Tune’ suits her perfectly.

Not so good: Hugh Cornwell’s pitchy vocals on ‘Hear Me Calling Your Name’; while Uli Jon Roth does a good job of recalling the old Clapton solos, his use of the whammy bar sometimes seems a little over-enthusiastic on ‘I Feel Free’. A matter of taste, I suppose: I can’t deny his technique.

There’s a lot to enjoy here. Certainly there’s plenty of technique on display here throughout, from a crop of talented musicians who generally do justice to a much-missed musician (yes, by me too). I’m particularly pleased to have been introduced to some songs I haven’t heard before: clearly, I have some catching up to do.

The 2015 concert apparently raised over £35,000 for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), for which Jack had frequently raised money, and a percentage of the sales from the box set is promised for donation to the same charity.

David Harley

Artist’s website: http://jackbruce.com/

‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ – from the concert:

DAVE STEWART Nashville Sessions : The Duets

’Nashville Sessions : The Duets’ is a new collection that presents the best duets from the recording sessions at John McBride’s famed Blackbird Studio in Nashville that resulted in the album trilogy of ‘The Blackbird Diaries’, ‘The Ringmaster General’ and ‘Lucky Numbers’ released by Dave Stewart between 2011 and 2013. ‘Nashville Sessions : The Duets’ features striking vocal performances by Stevie Nicks, Alison Krauss, Colbie Caillat, Joss Stone, Martina McBride and more.

‘God Only Knows You Now’ (with Jessie Baylin)

Dave Stewart played two UK shows in September 2017 with his Nashville All Star Players to celebrate his 65th birthday, folking.com was there at the London gig and the other was in his birthplace of Sunderland.

Here are the photo’s from the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire London show… click on the photo below to view the full set.

Dave Stewart's 65 Birthday Party

Support came from the London Gospel Community Choir and guests included:
– Bob Harris
– Holly Quin-Ankrah
– Martin Chambers (a founding member and drummer for the Pretenders)
– Candy Dulfer
– Diane Birch
– The other Doom Brother, Bob Geldof
– Jon Stevens (from Noiseworks)

Set list:
– So Long Ago.
– Beast Called Fame.
– Magic in the Blues.
– (Eurythmics) – Here Comes the Rain Again (with Holly Quin-Ankrah)
– Lily Was Here (with Candy Dulfer).
– Soul Years + This Little Town (with Martin Chambers).
– Jealousy.
– Heart of Stone.
– All Messed Up – (with Diane Birch) from Dave’s latest Nashville Sessions: The Duets project – http://wp.me/p5SuEn-9Ul
– (Eurythmics) – There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) – (with Diane Birch).
– This Is The World Calling (with Bob Geldof).
– Don’t Come Around Here No More (the song Dave wrote for Tom Petty) – (with Bob Geldof).
– Starlight – from the 2016 project with Jon Stevens (with Jon Stevens).
– (Eurythmics) – Missionary Man (with Jon Stevens and Holly Quin-Ankrah).
– (Eurythmics) – Thorn in My Side
– When the Day Goes Down (with London Gospel Community Choir).
– (Shakespears Sister) – Stay.
Encore:
– (Eurythmics) – Would I Lie to You?
– (Eurythmics) – Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).

Nashville Sessions : The Duets – Track-listing:

1  Drowning In The Blues (with Alison Krauss)
2  All Messed Up (with Martina McBride)
3  Just Another Fall (with Diane Birch)
4  God Only Knows You Now (with Jesse Baylin)
5  Bulletproof Vest (with Colbie Caillat)
6  Cheaper Than Free (with Stevie Nicks)
7  Picnic For Two (with Joss Stone)
8  One Way Ticket To The Moon (with The Secret Sisters)
9  Nashville Snow (with Karen Elson)
10  Every Single Night (with Martina McBride)
11  You And I (with Laura Michelle Kelly)

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the DAVE STEWART Nashville Sessions link to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.

ORDER – [CD]

‘One Way Ticket To The Moon’ (with Secret Sisters)