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(This is part of a series of blogs Ive been doing on some of the groups and on some of the

perhaps lesser-known songwriters and players behind some of rocks classic artists and songs.
So far: Tony Joe White, Harry Nilsson, Glen Campbell, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Johnny
Rivers, The Rascals, Rick Nelson, Del Shannon, Badfinger, Bob Marley, etc.)
Long John Baldry was one of the first to sing blues in British clubs. His bands
contained many musicians who would go on to great success; he discovered Rod
Stewart and Elton John is named after him. Baldry was 67, and thus his
nickname, was Long John. In the early 60s, while singing with Alex Korners
Blues Incorporated, they recorded the 1
English blues album, Live at The
Marquee, at the club where the future Rolling Stones and Creams, Jack Bruce,
were some of the musicians sharing the stage with him.
In 63, he was with the Cyril Davis All Stars, which included pianist, Nicky Hopkins,
who would later play on Stones and Beatles albums. Baldry had befriended the
Beatles at the Cavern and appeared on their 1964 TV special, Around the Beatles.
Baldry discovered Rod Stewart, one night busking at a train stop after one of
Baldrys shows, and made him part of his band, The Hoochie Coochie Men. He
creates an almost-7 minute opus song about this, Dont Try to Lay No Boogie on
The King of Rock n Roll, for his album, It Aint Easy. In 1965, the band became
known as Steampacket, with Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger (later to form Trinity).
Also in the band was a piano player named Reg Dwight, who changed his name to
Elton John, after Long John and after Elton Dean (later of Soft Machine) who
was in it too. The It Aint Easy album, in 1971, was produced, one side each, by
Rod Stewart and Elton John, and is a real classic blues-rock record, with Ron
Wood, Doris Troy and Madeline Bell also on it. Stewart and Elton John would also
co-produce Baldrys album, Everything Stops for Tea in 72.
Baldry had a big hit in England with Let the Heartaches Begin in 67. The Elton
John song Somebody Saved my Life Today was about when Elton almost tried
to commit suicide, after his failed relationship with a woman, and Baldry had
helped talk him out of it(them both coming to grips with being gay), at a time
when in England it was still illegal. Baldry was also supposedly the last person to
see Marc Bolan of T-Rex alive, before he was killed in an accident in 1977.
In 1968, Long John Baldry moved to Vancouver and became a Canadian citizen.
He continued to put out Canadian Juno Award-winning albums and toured and
did voice/acting roles. He had another hit with in 1979 with American vocalist,
Kathi McDonald, with a re-make of the Righteous Bros., Youve Lost That Loving
Feeling. Baldry died in Vancouver in 1995 at the age of 64.

But he left behind a record of being one of the very first to do blues on the British
scene and he had a big influence on a whole generation of later well-known
English musicians and recorded some classic songs like his signature, Dont Try to
Lay No Boogie on The King of Rock n Roll.
In that sense, as a bandleader, he was like another adopted-Canadian, Ronnie
Hawkins from Arkansas, who discovered and trained the Hawks (who would
later be known as Dylans The Band) and also The Sparrows (later Steppenwolf),
and several others. Leaders, like Baldry and Hawkins, didnt always achieve the
fame of their once-recruits, but they recognized their potential talents and
nurtured them.
LONG JOHN BALDRY below doing his classic, Dont Try to Lay No Boogie-
Woogie on the King of Rock n Roll:

See amazing jam with: Long John Baldry, Eric Burdon, Stevie Winwood, Julie Driscoll
and Rod Stewart I Feel Alright
(The Fifth National Jazz and Blues Festival, Richmond,England, August 8th 1965):