The Elecktronick Tyger Roares
04 December 2005
  One of my Recent Amazon Reviews
Everything Stops
for Tea

Long John Baldry

My review:

I [Hadn't] Got This CD yet...
7 November 2005
5 of 5 stars

... but as soon as i [could] afford to order some music, [i did and i have it], though.

However, i have strong and fond memories of the original album, so this review is based on those (thus, i won't be discussing the bonus tracks or the CD quality/packaging).

I guess that the saddest thing i have to report, to begin with, is that Long John stepped on a rainbow two months before the release of this disc, dying in hospital in Vancouver on July 21, 2005.

But the important thing is that great artists -- even mediocre or poor artists, for that matter, live on after their deaths through their works.

An example -- I was just listening to "Before the Moon", a Fairport Convention live recording from 1974 featuring the late great Sandy Denny, who died in 1978; but there was her incredible voice and music, right there for me to hear for the very first time, thirty-one years later.

And so it will be with Long John; with any luck, as long as there are blues fans, Baldry's work will be available to electrify our consciousness.

Long John (at 6' 7", there weren't any other nicknames more likely) Baldry was born in England in 1941, and by the time he was twenty, he was spreading the gospel of the blues.

It is virtually certain that, without Baldry's influence, the growth of British blues would have been rather different; one almost wonders if there would have been any significant Brit blues movement (or English Invasion, as we know it) at all.

Consider the following list of some of the early bands that Baldry either formed or fronted vocally, and of some of the people who were in them:

1962-Blues Incorporated
Mick Jagger
Alexis Korner
Jack Bruce
Charlie Watts
Notes: Brian Jones, Keith Richards, and Paul Jones (also appeared with Blues Incorporated)

1963-Cyril Davis and The All Stars
Jimmy Page
Nicky Hopkins

1964/65- Long John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men
Rod Stewart

1965/66- The Steam Packet
Rod Stewart
Brian Auger

1966-1968 -Bluesology
Reg Dwight (later known as Elton John)

(Reg Dwight took the "John" part of his stage name from Long John.)

So, when it came time to make this album (and "It Ain't Easy", which, i believe, came out the year before) there were a lot of old mates Long John could call on, and two of them -- the afore-mentioned Messrs. Stewart and Dwight -- each produced one side of both LPs, and contributed performances, as well.

"Mother Ain't Dead", a folk-gospel, with Stewart and Baldry duetting, is almost painfully beautiful.

"Wild Mountain Thyme" is a lovely reading of what i believe is a semi-genuine Scottish folk song.

"Iko Iko" is a New Orleansy, hard-edged, percussion/guitar driven call-and-response number (The MP3 can be downloaded at the official Long John Baldry website, and i heartily recommend it.); somewhere in my collection, i have a recording of "Iko Iko" featuring Professor Longhair and Gatemouth Brown, and i think Baldry's is the better.

The title song is a British music hall number from some revue from the 30's or 40's -- a nice change of pace, and the intro, portraying Baldry as a Power in the music industry (John Lennon is begging him to use one of his songs on his next album...) being driven totally up the wall by the pressures of fame, surviving the day only because "Everything Stops for Tea" is nicely silly. (BTW, pianist Ian Armit supplies the voice of hopeful songwriter, "Mr. Lennon")

I haven't heard any of the bonus tracks, but if "I'm Just a Rake & Ramblin' Boy" is the Ramblin' Jack Elliott song i suspect it is, i look forward to it with great anticipation. (It was, though it turns out to have not been written by Elliott. OTOH, it's still a great song, well-served here.)

An interesting thing about "Iko Iko" is that it's a classic example of the folk process in action, even in the age of recording and archiving, which is suposed to freeze the music once it's recorded and released.

The first hit recording was by new Orleans/New York girl group, the Dixie Cups, who were goofing in the studio between sessions, not realising that the mikes were on, and accidentally laid down what became the master track of a Mardi Gras Indian call & response chant learned from their mother that was eventually their final Top 40 hit. An article about it and an MP3 of the Dixie Cups' original is available on line -- notice how different Long John's version is.

Based solely on the original content from 1972, let alone the neet-sounding bonus tracks, you need this album.

(BTW -- the cover painting, portraying Baldry as the Mad Hatter in an "Alice in Wonderland" setting, is by Ron Wood. Yes, that Ron Wood.)
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My interests are broadranging -- comics, music, movies and good ol' science fiction mostly dominate. My Five Most Favouritest Films are (this week) Once Upon A Time in the West, Dark Star, O Lucky Man, Day for Night and Whatever I Watched Recently That Was Good. Currently that's Day for Night.

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Name: mike weber
Location: gainesville, Georgia, United States

Latter fifties, married, out of work (had knee surgery and haven't gotten back to work); my (step) son-in-law is back from Iraq, but a lot of boys are still over there. Support our troops -- throw the Republicans out!

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / February 2007 / August 2007 /

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