Jack Bruce

A Question of Time

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A Question of Time Review

by Joe Viglione

A Question of Time is an album to appreciate, as Jack Bruce nicely wraps his diverse styles up in rock & roll packaging. Willie Dixon's "Blues You Can't Lose" is extraordinary noise, the late Nicky Hopkins bringing his unmistakable piano to a mix of Albert Collins' leads, Jimmy Ripp's slide and rhythms, Bruce's bass, harmonica, and voice, and the strong drumming of Dougie Bowne. In its slow dirge statement, "Blues You Can't Lose" is as powerful as the blistering Bruce tune that opens the set, "Life on Earth." "Make Love" is a great change of pace; the first of eight Pete Brown/Jack Bruce collaborations, it utilizes innovative percussion, subtle keyboards, and -- surprise of surprises -- effects on Bruce's voice. Ginger Baker toured with Bruce at this point in time, and though Bowne is admirable on the epic pop/rock of "No Surrender," it is Baker's contributions to "Hey Now Princess" (with Ripp doing his best Clapton) and his definite drums on "Obsession" (with guitars by Allan Holdsworth and Vivian Campbell) that bring this disc to the Cream level. The transition from "Hey Now Princess" to the Willie Dixon tune is just lovely, while "Obsession" is perfect Disraeli Gears-type music. Tony Willams steps in on the reggae-esque "Kwela," the other Bruce-only composition and, without the Cream drummer on this, Bruce still manages to sound like Ginger Baker's Air Force. Produced by Joe Blaney and Bruce, the song "A Question of Time" is a bizarre, colorful mix of clashing images and sound, while the album A Question of Time is one of the more complete Bruce recordings for those fans who know him from his pop radio hits. It is one of the most accessible discs by rock's premier bassist for both those in his cult and the casual fan. This project uses his mastery of jazz, pop, acoustic, and blues to give listeners what Jack Bruce does best: rock & roll. [The 2007 edition includes one bonus track.]

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