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The Bakerton Group - "The Bakerton Group" (CD)

The Bakerton Group - "The Bakerton Group" CD cover image

"The Bakerton Group" track listing:

1. 1906 Part II
2. The Schickley
3. Great Bakertons
4. Bruce Bigsby
5. Keyboards And Planets
6. The Funky Navajo
7. Last Orbit
8. Many Gators

Reviewed by on September 1, 2010

"The Bakerton Group's self-titled disc isn't the kind of thing that's going to make you bang your head, but you will tap your toes and likely shake your groove thing as well. "

Were it not for the fact that the Bakerton Group consists of four of the five members of Clutch, I'd say that there was little "metal" about the band's self-titled album, released in 2007. I'd also encourage anyone with a love of rock instrumentals to run right out and buy the disc, which ranges in style from psychedelia to funky blues with a jazz influence.

Perhaps the most metal aspect of the album would be Mick Schauer's keyboards, which, on tunes like the opening track "1906 Part II" and the second track, "The Schickley" occasionally remind one of Jon Lord's early, bluesy Deep Purple output. The organ sound has a pleasantly late-1960s vibe to it, offering up sounds that are at once mellow and heavy.

With no vocals, the songs are often led by guitarist Tim Sult, and he's more than up to the task, trading solos with Schauer on "The Schickley" and taking us on the jazz journey through "Bruce Bigsby." His best riff on an album full of good ones is the heavy, funk-laden "The Funky Navajo."

Bassist Dan Maines and drummer Jean-Paul Gaster never fail to dazzle with their ability to keep things swinging. Gaster particularly shines on the album's closer, "Many Gators," keeping up a funky beat while also infusing the track with some superb fills.

For my money, the disc's best track is the bongo-drum laden blues-funk track, "Great Bakertons," which will have you strutting around like George Jefferson if you're not careful. My least favorite track is the initially slow jazz track "Last Orbit," which takes a while to get going, but is still not a bad track.

The Bakerton Group's self-titled disc isn't the kind of thing that's going to make you bang your head, but you will tap your toes and likely shake your groove thing as well. It's an excellent blend of jazz, funk, blues and psychedelia, with just enough heaviness to qualify as a rock experience.

Highs: "Great Bakertons," "Many Gators" and "The Schickley"

Lows: "Last Orbit" takes a while to take off.

Bottom line: Blues, funk and psychedelia mix well in this instrumental side-project from the members of Clutch.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)