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Two Bit Covers

I was excited to see that Spotify had a new Jack Bruce album available (Live at Canterbury Fayre). Bruce died in October last year. I couldn’t pretend to be an expert on his work but his playing definitely exerted some influence in my formative bass playing years. However, listening to the album was a little disappointing and I wonder if it would have been released if he were still alive and performing?

It isn’t that it is particularly egregious but it just doesn’t seem to rise above a decent pub rock level of playing. I’ve got recordings of gigs I’ve done that aren’t far off the standard and, to my ears, it sounds like there are a number of passages where he doesn’t nail the intonation on his fretless bass, while the guitarist (Vernon Reid, I think) sometimes sounds like he is getting carried away with a flurry of notes.

I expect the gig was pretty expensive, given the brand value of the musicians involved. Perhaps the lesson to draw is not to decry the value of hearing something almost as good at a boozer near you? When does an originals band start to just become a cheap covers imitation of itself? Perhaps Live at Canterbury Fayre is one of those albums that sits on the borderline?

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