With a track record such as Bruce's, it's no surprise that Collection makes for such an enlightening and entertaining travel through the best tracks of his solo career, and then some. Most notable as the bass player for Cream (and one of the major songwriters alongside Pete Brown), Jack Bruce became one of rock's premier bass guitarists, mastering his resonant and even dynamic bass riffs next to Eric Clapton while befriending Ginger Baker's forceful percussion work. His resumé also includes stints with Manfred Mann, Graham Bond, and Alexis Korner, among other side projects. His solo work, on the other hand, had only Bruce at the helm, and his extraordinary style which integrates jazz, blues, and rock into his songs isolates his true talents and wonderfully puts them into perspective. Collection takes tracks from his best albums -- 1969's Song for a Tailor, 1971's Harmony Row, and 1974's Out of the Storm -- and lays them out amongst a few of Cream's most popular offerings for a truly worthwhile package. Not only does his guitar work come alive, but Bruce's expressive vocals automatically add passion to his musicianship, which can be regarded on "Tales of the Brave Ulysses," "Weird of Hermiston," and "The Clearout." "Theme for an Imaginary Western" is another one of Bruce's gems, made famous by Mountain, while "Rope Ladder to the Moon" and "Politician" uncover the emotive side of Jack Bruce, which was often overshadowed by the likes of Eric Clapton during his days in Cream. The three Cream tracks that do appear, "White Room," "I Feel Free," and "Sunshine of Your Love," all exhibit the significance of his bass playing in the trio, and were carefully chosen as three of the band's most renowned songs. Even minor efforts such as "Golden Days," "As You Said," and "Keep It Down" are enjoyable, straight-ahead blues-rock songs. While some regard many of Bruce's solo albums as inconsistent and a tad trite, there's no denying that Collection is one of the better avenues of exploring this often overlooked and discounted musician.
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