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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2015
You have to take this one with a big pinch of white powder. That's salt not the other stuff! Given the massive amount of narcotics Ginger appears to have consumed over the years you can't rely one hundred percent on his accuracy when it comes to relating conversations he's had, old spats with Jack Bruce or accounts of binges and brawls.

In truth, there is too much dope talk in the book. At one point Baker seems to have had much of Harley Street at his beck and call, but all the mechanics and paraphernalia of drug use ultimately make for a dull read.

He's got a sense of humour and the early part of the book flows along. He pays court to several forgotten musicians and the late 50s/early 60s jazz and blues scene is well described - also his own drumming technique. We could have done with more on the Cream experience - after all, that's what most readers will have come to the book for - but the thing sort of peters out when the Jack Bruce feud becomes untenable.

Frankly, Baker's story post Cream is a big bore, unless you find the man himself irresistibly fascinating which I didn't. I am not impressed with his hurtling about Africa with guns to hand in various motor vehicles or his obsession with polo.

Polo? It's not rock and roll really is it? Might have been worse. Might have been golf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 January 2011
This is Ginger Bakers autobiography and he has spent many decades playing the game and looking after horses, so what do you expect! That little warning aside this is an entertaining and easy read.

Full credit to GB first, this is not your typical ghost written pop star autobiography. It shows in places, but I'd rather have this than some watered down plod through old newspaper headlines. All the bases are covered here: The music, drugs, women, money, Polo, Africa. He hasn't led a saintly life, and other reviiewers have already raised these points.

The most interesting parts for me were the various feuds with Jack Bruce, and his occasional barbed comments about other musicians. Like many others I will have to read JB side of the story as well.

So overall a very straightforwardly written life story, which is brutally honest (well as GB remembers anyway), and yes sometimes he does talk about Polo.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2012
Ginger Baker is without doubt one of the most influential and gifted drummers to have ever lived. However, if the objective of this book is to foster some kind of empathy from the reader with this flawed genius, it fails miserably. I found the book tough going on a number of levels. The quality of writing was weak. The account of various events is often sketchy and haphazard and with far too much emphasis on Ginger's later years and his obsession with Polo, (which is about the only chapters of his life where there is any significant detail). I finished this book with the distinct impression that Ginger Baker is a vile and embittered creature who has systematically abused everyone around him over the course of his lifetime. Considering that this book is an account of his life in his own words, one has to wonder what was running through his addled mind when committing this to print.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I am a huge fan of Cream and have brought every book Clapton, Bruce and Baker have issued.
This book tells Ginger Bakers story (in abbreviated form)in an apparent tell all way.
I enjoyed reading the book and found the book had a nice flow and didn't falter as many biography's do when an artist has reached the pinnacle of their careers.

The negative opinion is that there was very little told about Cream and the nuts and bolts that made that group from Gingers perspective.

One sad thing I did come to realise is that after Cream all the members became serious drug addicts during the 1970s and some even up to the 1990s. This is a tragedy in my opinion and shows what fame can do to someone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2014
If you are a drummer (as I am) this is likely not for you. Not much on drums or drumming in at all. I did not expect to hear about every lick or chop he ever played, or what studio song X was recorded in, but this ended up being just endless, tedious stories of drugs, women, drugs, cheating, horses, ...and oh yes repeated bankcruptcy. Pure boredom past 1970. Read like the script of some old coot in a barstool next to you glowing about all the mistakes in his life. I've read many musician (auto)biographies. This is the only one where I was fairly disgusted of the person afterward. Great drummer, awful book.
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on 16 September 2012
The prologue is perhaps the most enlightning introduction to any biog you can read. One and half pages of mayhem that explain how this book ever exsisted and its story of chaos sets the tone of whats to come.

The usual recollections ( like Keith Richards, how these guys can remember such detail is surprising)of S,D R & R.
Perhaps too much detail in some parts. Ginger is hardly the type to suffer fools but at times his cheeky South London charm shines through. A dodgy bloke who made great use of his talent then went about destroying it and just about anything else he got involved with. Polo, horses, partners,managers,houses,visas oh and of course he was in a band or two. It all ended in bonfires.
He seems to have spent a lot of his life running away. Cars or jeep journeys at great speed across continents. Shabby lifestyle,posh lifestyle, money blown,drugs blown,chicks... All up in smoke but each time he lives to tell the tale and what a bitter tale it is.
Various other muscians come in for us much stick as his Ludwig Drum Kit but without the finese.
He even uses the last paragraph of the book to lay into the late John Bonham. Jealousy? Ginger? surely not??
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VINE VOICEon 23 January 2011
I was given this for Christmas having been a life-long Cream fan since seeing them in their early days in 66. This is an autobiography and it shows against Jack Bruce's excellent bio and a couple of average EC ones. It's an easy read and is written like a schoolkids essay - I did this, I went there, this happened, etc, etc. You could just picture GB writing it and it's not a bad thing really.

The music content suffers a bit after the Cream split, and as GB moves to various African and USA homes the theme changes to his life as a budding studio owner and a polo player. To be honest I found this a bit boring in the last third of the book. Also, he constantly mentions things like "this was when I met xxxxxx" with no explanation as to who this person is. Lots of name dropping as such.

Interesting to see how he lost his fortune several times, some of the naive scams he's got involved in and his constant battles with drug-taking as well as his wives.

A quick easy read and I'm sure that most of fans would appreciate it for its honesty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2010
He's schoomsed with royalty, raced lorries through African jungles, been a millionaire one year- flat broke the next, even killed somebody- and all this whilst trying to hold down the day job of being the world's greatest drummer.

This is a great read- and whilst Ginger Baker obviously the nicest guy in the world he certainly is one of the most interesting.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2013
Anyone who has even a passing knowledge of the legendary band that was 'Cream' will no doubt come to this book, as I did, not expecting it to lay claim to any kind of literary award. Of the members of that great band, I think it's fair to say that apart from being the most unhinged of the three, Ginger Baker was never one to impress with his articulate disposition. I've seen and read many interviews with all three band members over the years - and whilst bass player Jack Bruce and guitarist Eric Clapton were never less than engaging in their responses, Ginger always left me with a sense of being none the wiser after his interviews than I was before. He may be a great drummer, but he's no raconteur.

Nevertheless, I thought that, at least, given the medium of the written word where thought and planning would give him the chance to order his recollections and catalogue his experiences at leisure, we'd end up with an account that would give us a worthwhile insight into his memories and his perspective on the formation and lifespan of a band that I'd idolised to such an extent in those heady days of the late sixties that I was seriously in danger of wearing out my vinyl copy of the live/studio double album, 'Wheels of Fire'. At that time, you could have your Led Zeppelin and your Jimi Hendrix - I was a 'Cream' fan through and through and not even the instinctive brilliance of Hendrix - and certainly not Jimmy Page - could touch me like the clinical superiority of Clapton on tracks like 'Sitting on top of the World' and the timeless, classic, live recording of 'Crossroads'.

But even with the slack I was willing to cut Ginger Baker in terms of his lack of expression away from a set of drums, the further into this book I went, the more despondent I became by this slapdash concoction of tedious anecdote, cobbled together in a kind of careless, stream of consciousness way and which very quickly becomes tiresome with its relentless emphasis on his drug taking, his fighting, and the endless, irrelevant disputes with all manner of anonymous thugs, heavies, and other instantly forgettable nonentities. In short, the book rapidly nosedives into a boring chronology of Baker's drug use and the mood changes, disputes and arguments this inevitably created.

Anyone wanting, as I was hoping for, a book rich in reminiscence about his days with 'Cream' will be sorely disappointed. Yes, 'Cream' were together for only a couple of years - but what a great couple of years they were. And during that time there must have been many memories created which were worth recording. But all we get about Baker's time with 'Cream' are three short chapters in the middle of the book sandwiched between his obsessive preoccupation with drugs (he's either coming off them, or he's back on them), his 'getting down to business' with Germaine Greer (not sure which one of them should be the more embarrassed by this revelation but at least it goes to prove that not all of them were 'fit birds') and his competition with Clapton to see who could lay every waitress at the Speakeasy. Yes, there's confirmation of his fractious relationship with Jack Bruce and the dispute over writing credits apportioned to Bruce and Brown. But, to use a lyric from one of those Brown/Bruce songs - 'The Clearout' from Bruce's solo album, 'Songs for a Tailor' - that's just 'old meals now'. We've heard it all before. And even the paltry section given over to his time with 'Cream' isn't instilled with anything which could remotely be deemed affection.

Ginger Baker has lived a surprisingly long and eventful life considering his prolonged drug abuse and it's only right that he should produce a book which does justice both to the full span of his life and those two short but remarkable years he spent with Cream. But unfortunately, this isn't it.

As much as it pains me to say it, I turned the last page of this book with my affection for Ginger Baker greatly diminished. Not just because he failed miserably to set down a worthwhile record of the most illustrious two years of his career - but because, far from this book enhancing and adding to the folklore of 'Cream', with this ragbag of trivial twaddle and inane babble, one of its key members has managed to tarnish the memory, not to say the image, of one of the greatest and most influential bands of all time.

A deeply disappointing book of which Ginger Baker ought to be thoroughly ashamed. The only reason I give it one star is because I'm unable to give it none at all.

To any true 'Cream' fan - you've been warned.
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on 21 February 2013
Bought his after stumbling on a YouTube clip of a new biopic on Ginger Baker. He came over as combative, carnaptious and curmudgeonly! The dreaded "triple C". I thought to myself that surely he must have some positives to his personality and bought this book. Being an autobiography (aided by a a succession of ghost-writers) it tends to read a bit like a dis-jointed diary. Some areas with lots of detail and other parts quickly glossed over. The over-all impression left is of a man totally committed to the crafts of drumming, horses and polo, sadly pursued to the detriment of his inter-personal relationships. There exists a notion in some quarters that to be a "real artist", one needs to be totally determined and driven, as well as superior and anti-social. Ginger Baker appears to have this in spades. Unfortunately if the same talent turns you into a negative human being, that's a real shame in the long run. You don't have to be a back-side to be brilliant!! AF
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