GINGER BAKER: HORSES AND TREES (1986 ON CELLULOID RECORDS)
This is a great CD if you're a drummer or you're into interesting rhythms contrasted with middle eastern and Greek music tinged rock. It's mostly instrumental, save for a bit of nice wailing in a part. It was an effort led by NYC scenester/bassist/artist Bill Laswell. This is among the more "accessible" of the many, many, many albums that Bill Laswell has released or played on. My other favorite group that was sort of a co-Laswell effort (at least musically) was The Golden Palominos, but that's another story entirely.
I read in a mid-80's drum magazines called DRUMS and Rhythm several articles that touched on this album at the time of it's release, and so I bought it. I've always been into multi-cultural instrumentation and rhythms merged into "mainstream" music, and that is certainly what this effort represents. I've always loved it. It's a great road trip selection, and if you're a drummer with any kind of marching band experience in your playing history, there's one tune that really shows you what a nice cadence can be with some unique instrumentation.
At the time of the recording of this album, one of the interviews of Baker took place at this then home atop a hill overlooking an olive tree farm. For awhile, apparently, Baker took up olive farming, and was living in an old stone house atop a hill near a small village. The article said he would play in his stone house, windows open, and his rhythmic music could be heard well and was indeed enjoyed in the village below his place.
There were pictures with that article of his Ludwig Super Classic White Marine Pearl double bass kit set up in his stone house, with 70's Ludwig tubular Atlas and Hercules cymbal stands and A. Zildjian cymbals. In one article he references how "all time moves in four, no matter what time signature you're talking about or just nature in general, and there was a lot to the "spirituality side of the beat" in that discussion, of how you've got to go with nature in your rhythms and not against it. That may only make sense to certain musicians.
In any event, another article talked about the recording of this album, which pretty much involved Baker flying into NYC and going to the studio with Laswell and Ginger laying down a bunch of tracks with no music going on and that Laswell turned the tracks into tunes. I'm sure there were others involved, like the producer and musicians and others, but that's what I recall reading.
It's an interesting listen, and if you're a drummer seeking to find some interesting rhythms or a fan of Ginger's drumming, this is a must have. If you think you might like middle eastern and Greek instrumentation and rhythms and styles mixed with different percussive rhythms with unique instrumentation, then you'd like this albums as well. You can also hear lots of african influences coming out at different points in Ginger's drumming, which here is more rhythmic groover than a drum solo festival. But he's got some killer licks all along the way.