The Bakerton Group

rating icon 9 / 10

Track listing:

01. 1906 Part II
02. The Schickley
03. Great Bakertons
04. Bruce Bigsby
05. Keyboards and Planets
06. The Funky Navajo
07. Last Orbit
08. Many Gators

CLUTCH has always incorporated heavy, blues-based jams into their super charged hard rock tunes. Collectively known as THE BAKERTON GROUP, fourth-fifths of CLUTCH (bassist Dan Maines, guitarist Tim Sult, drummer Jean-Paul Gaster, and keyboardist Mick Schauer) have created an album made up entirely of late '60s and '70s-inspired, instrumental jams infused with hot blues, funky grooves, and psychedelic rock trips on this self-titled affair. Best of all, this is no mere, middling side project with a lot of fucking about. It is an outstanding album with a nostalgic familiarity and ace songwriting that rivals the greats.

The world's all-time great jam acts shared one key attribute, that being the ability to move as one unit, firing on all cylinders all the time and seemingly driven by a force bigger than any individual member. THE BAKERTON GROUP can be counted among them, as these eight tracks bob and weave with a sense of purpose and a collective sixth sense when it comes to performance. Rare is the instrumental album that captivates from the first to the last track. In fact, one never, ever thinks about vocals in listening to the songs, as melody meets the art of the jam in such as a way as to make one recall instrumental lines as though they were sung choruses.

Think in general terms of a melting pot of early ALLMAN BROTHERS, THE EDGAR WINTER GROUP, the electric jazz of "Bitches Brew"-era MILES DAVIS, and any number of soul-searing, blues-based acts. Then let your mind take you to the warm, friendly, drunken, and stoned environs of a local urban rock/blues/jazz hangout circa 1973. You'll then have a good idea of what to expect from THE BAKERTON GROUP. You just don't hear albums like this one very often these days and this is one disc that deserves attention far outside of the normal metal distribution channels of Emetic. I cannot imagine anyone with any taste not digging the hell out of this disc. Great, great stuff!

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