Ginger Baker: Hellraiser
Ginger Baker
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Buy *Ginger Baker: Hellraiser: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Drummer* by Ginger Baker online

Ginger Baker: Hellraiser: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Drummer
Ginger Baker
John Blake
292 pages
January 2010
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Peter "Ginger" Baker, best known as the founder and drummer for Cream, has finally written his memoirs over 40 years after the classic rock trio changed the sound of music. Coming on the heels of Cream bassist Jack Bruce's book, Composing Myself, the drummer's tell-all covers his life from infancy through current days, covering elements of his long battle with heroin addiction, his love for and fascination with Africa, and his various musical projects.

The book covers the musicianís life from birth through the Cream reunion some years ago. Peter Baker has had an extraordinary career that began back in the 1950s, when he played with a variety of jazz bands before moving onto membership in bands with Alexis Korner and Graham Bond. Then in 1966, the musician formed Cream with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce and wrote the stylebook for double-bass drumming riffs. There followed Blind Faith and stints with a number of bands including Hawkwind, Masters of Reality, and a succession of solo projects. The book is honest in its way, but there are a lot of holes.

In Ginger Baker: Hellraiser Alexis Korner and Graham Bond, for example, he talks about meeting Jack Bruce, but that entire monumental moment only takes up one paragraph and never describes what it was really like working with the talented bassist/singer. Similarly, he barely describes what it was like playing with Eric Clapton for the first time.

Baker's book touches all the bases but just barely. Still, it's a definite read for fans and curious alike. Though you may come away from the book feeling like you haven't learned as much as you wanted to, you'll certainly know more than you did going in.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Steven Rosen, 2010

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