Review Summary: Two thirds of Cream combine with guitar legend Gary Moore to create an enjoyable if unspectacular blues rock album.
There’s two ways of looking at this project, each of which will leave you with varying levels of expectation. Some will look at this band as a "supergroup" containing three blues rock legends and will undoubtedly be expecting something special. On the other hand many will look upon this as Cream without Clapton, which, in all honesty, isn’t a particularly exciting prospect until you consider the talents of his – dare I say – replacement.
Jack Bruce – Bass, Vocals, Cello
Ginger Baker – Drums, Percussion, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Gary Moore – Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards
While Gary Moore hasn’t been around as long as his band mates here, he does have an equally extensive back catalogue, one that has earned him respect among the blues and hard rock community. Few will need an introduction to former Cream members Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker who have both managed to keep themselves busy since the demise of Cream, both releasing a series of solo albums along with various collaborations.
Considering the legendary status of the musicians involved, Around the Next Dream was a relatively low profile release. However upon it’s release, in May 1994, it received mostly positive reviews and peaked at number 9 in the UK Album Chart. The opening track, Waiting in the Wings and following track, City of Gold see all three band members in great form and it is immediately evident that Moore is happy to stick to his own unique guitar style rather than trying to adapt and imitate Clapton’s trademark sound that featured so prominently in the Cream sound of the late 60’s. Jack Bruce is no stranger to working with Moore as he made a brief appearance on Moore’s solo album, Corridors of Power, singing on the track End of the World, he also handle’s vocal duties on a large portion of the tracks here.
Where in the World was released as a single and is one of the most memorable songs on the album, featuring vocals from both Moore and Bruce, the song reached number 57 in the UK Singles Chart. Most of the songs are credited to Moore with contributions from both Bruce and Baker, although the latter only contributed to the writing for two songs, namely Glory Days and the lengthy Why Does Love (Have to Go Wrong). The bluesy High Cost of Loving is one of the album's many highlights, featuring some breathtaking guitar playing from Moore and a strong vocal performance from Jack Bruce, who’s voice sounds in great form throughout. Another album high point is the cover of Albert King’s I Wonder Why (Are You Mean To Me), which precedes the slow melancholic album closer, Wrong Side of Town. There is a strong blues flavour running throughout the album, with several of the songs sounding more like Gary Moore solo tracks than band efforts, particularly Can’t Fool the Blues and the aforementioned Albert King cover, both of which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on either of Moore’s two previous albums. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as Gary Moore was on a career high following the release of the highly acclaimed Still Got the Blues and After Hours albums and his presence helps keep this album from sounding like an attempt from Bruce and Baker at regaining past glories. Despite this, Cream comparisons will inevitably be drawn, particularly in relation to the album’s opening track, Waiting in the Wings, which strongly resembles White Room from Cream’s Wheels of Fire album. But whatever the occasion, when two members of Cream work together, Cream comparisons are unavoidable and fortunately the material on offer here is consistently strong enough for this not to be a problem.
The band toured the UK briefly as well as appearing at a few rock festivals but sadly the band was shortlived and they ended up disbanding later that year. While nothing on this album is likely to reach the heights of Cream's Sunshine of Your Love or even Moore’s own Still Got the Blues, overall it is an excellent album and one that is an essential purchase for any blues rock fan and also a testament to the skills of a truly remarkable guitarist who will be sadly missed.
R.I.P. Gary Moore