The book was published around the time of the 1st to 2nd edition transition, but since it must have been written earlier, one assumes the author was using 1st edition rules. I'm not sure which edition the Gold Box game used. But bards where limited to humans and half elves in both 1st and 2nd edition.
But over the editions, bard spellcasting has steadily increased. A trend I do not like.
The bard spellcasting declined from 2e to 3e by a lot. And 4e has powers for everyone. 5e increased it back to 2e values (and a bit on top).
One coulr make a case to introduce 2/3 casters, which would fit bards and artificers alike. The question is, is it worth it?
I recently looked up the C&C bard which has no spellcasting at all. It is a warrior subtype not unlike the warlord IIRC.
The strength of the bard for me was always: be everything. The core 4e bard had a cool feature that allowed for improved multiclassing. Maybe it is on us to multiclass out to get the "bard" , which fits our imagination. Or create more classes: warlord, skald, ministrel, dilettante which cover all.
My ideal bard would be a warrior/rogue that relies on int as well as charisma and casts a good amount of spells.