For the record, I've always been a huge fan of Ginger's drumming from when I first heard him with Cream. Never was able to catch them back in the day. I missed an opportunity back in Mil, WI due to not being into them at the time. This was just when they were getting going and had one album out - Fresh Cream. Once they released Disralie Gears there was no looking back!
That album literally changed my musical direction as a budding picker, since what had come before was top-40 and I cut my teeth on surf tunes. This was a bold new direction afaic.
I did catch Blind Faith at the Midwest Rock fest back in '69 in Milwaukee WI, about a month before Woodstock. Blind Faith was the headliner one of those 3 nights and having Clapton and Baker on stage was impetus enough for me. At that point I was unaware of Winwood. That would change.
I was 16 at the time and was pleasantly surprised that my folks let me attend this and
drive there and back. I wasn't into drugs but did see many instances of those that were!
I have an amusing story to relate about seeing that concert re: Ginger but it's somewhat lengthy and thus will have to wait until later.
I didn't follow Ginger's career path after Cream broke up. Clapton yes. However I always felt he forged his own path and had a totally unique style. I had the good fortune of being in a band with a drummer for about 10 years that emulated Ginger's style and could execute an extended drum solo in roughly the same style, as well as being able to deal with very complex rhythms and time changes in the Prog style. But I digress...
When the Cream re-unite concert became a reality in '05 I jumped on it like white on rice. Fortunately I had a good friend in the UK who was able to procure tickets when they went on sale, as it would've been something like 1AM local time for me and it was on a work day!
So I did actually attend that concert on the opening night of May 2, '05. I didn't have great seats as I was up in the nosebleed section just below the standing room only gallery. It was what my UK mate could get and I just felt fortunate to be there. Impressions about this will have to wait.
In due course I bought the DVD "Beware Mr. Baker". I'd read things about Ginger's abrasive personality previously. The DVD speaks for itself, and while I realize it's a journalistic piece it does also capture a back scene glimpse into the life of a very complicated and talented individual.
RIP Ginger Baker. Your influence will live on......