Long John BALDRY – On Stage Tonight Baldry's Out Live 1993

Long John BALDRY – On Stage Tonight Baldry’s Out Live 1993


Long John Baldry was one of the early leaders of the British blues-rock scene. His deep, parched voice was ideally suited for the blues, and his penchant for playing with musicians that would one day find fame in the rock world was surpassed in British blues circles only by John Mayall and Alexis Korner.
Legendary British blues cornerstone Long John Baldry has a long history of leading amazing bands and putting on incredible ‘live’ shows. This is his first ‘live’ release, captured at the Fabrik Club in Hamburg, Germany, and includes a retrospect of his blues influences, his many hits and that amazing voice. There’s a smokin’ live version of Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock n’ Roll, and I’d Rather Go Blind featuring Kathi McDonald. Long John Baldry and his band at their best on a hot night.
On Stage Tonight – Baldry’s Out! nicely rectifies a 30-year oversight: the gentleman has never previously released a live recording. Captured in Germany, the disc blends the strongest tracks from Baldry’s It Still Ain’t Easy comeback album with … updated past greats. And it just wouldn’t be Baldry (especially live) without the ferocious backing of longtime soulmate Kathi McDonald. While Baldry’s blues can sometimes be a tad too “polite,” On Stage Tonight captures that unique smoky growl in top form.
By Roch Parisien.
Like Cliff Richard, Chris Farlowe, Slade, Blur, and eel pie, Long John Baldry is one of those peculiarly British phenomena that doggedly resists American translation. As a historical figure, he has undeniable importance. When he began singing as a teenager in the 1950s, he was one of the first British vocalists to perform folk and blues music. In the early ’60s, he sang in the band of British blues godfather Alexis Korner, Blues Incorporated, which also served as a starting point for future rock stars Mick Jagger, Jack Bruce, and others. As a member of Blues Incorporated, he contributed to the first British blues album, R&B at the Marquee (1962). He then joined the Cyril Davies R&B All Stars, taking over the group (renamed Long John Baldry and His Hoochie Coochie Men) after Davies’ death in early 1964. This band featured Rod Stewart as a second vocalist, and also employed Geoff Bradford (who had been in an embryonic version of the Rolling Stones) on guitar.

In the mid-’60s, he helped form Steampacket, a proto-supergroup that also featured Stewart, Julie Driscoll, and Brian Auger. When Steampacket broke up, he fronted Bluesology, the band that gave keyboardist Reg Dwight — soon to become Elton John — his first prestigious gig. He was a well-liked figure on the London club circuit, and in fact the Beatles took him on as a guest on one of their 1964 British TV specials, at a time when the Fab Four could have been no bigger, and Baldry was virtually unknown.

Ironically, his greatest commercial success came not with blues, but orchestrated pop ballads that echoed Engelbert Humperdinck. The 1967 single “Let the Heartaches Begin” reached number one in Britain, and Baldry had several other small British hits in the late ’60s, the biggest of which was “Mexico” (1968). (None of these made an impression in the U.S.)

The commercial success of his ballads led Baldry to forsake the blues on record for a few years. He returned to blues and rock in 1971 on It Ain’t Easy, for which Rod Stewart and Elton John shared the production duties. The album contained a tiny American chart item, “Don’t Try to Lay No Boogie-Woogie on the King of Rock’n’Roll,” and Stewart and John split the production once again on the 1972 follow-up, Everything Stops for Tea. Baldry never caught on as an international figure, though, and by 1980 had become a Canadian citizen. He continued to record, and did commercial voice-overs as well as the voice of Doctor Robotnik in children’s cartoons. After battling a severe chest infection for several months, Long John Baldry passed away on July 21, 2005, while hospitalized in Vancouver.
By Richie Unterberger. AMG.
Not knowing much about Long John Baldry, I took a chance when buying this CD. Here’s my tip: make sure you’ve heard a lot of blues (not just the famous classics) before buying a blues CD. Like so many other Blues favorites Baldry’s best songs seem so much un-like his other tunes. They are up-beat and have great sing-along lyrics. However, most of the other stuff on BALDRY’S OUT is repetitive, somewhat off-key, and not catchy at all. It’s hard to believe since Baldry’s voice is so damn powerful and soul-touching. Maybe that’s because most of the songs on the album do what the blues do: utilize lots of instruments and use up a lot of time trying lots of things with them. And that’s just not what this non-blues fanatic craves. On the up-side Baldry strikes a cord with “It Ain’t Easy,” and “Midnight in New Orleans,” two amazing hits that make great use of lyrics, backround vocals, and, of course, Baldry’s voice. For instance there are the lines- “It Ain’t Easy to go ahead when.. you’re.. going down!!!”, and ” Driving down Highway 61, thinking Brother Johnson you are the one…” Overall, these two songs, along with parts of “Stormy Monday Blues,” and the infamous 9+ minute “Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King of Rock And Roll” make this CD worthwile. And you gotta love that voice…even when singing German to the Hamburg audience.
Long John Baldry (vocals, 12-string guitar, harmonica);
Papa John King (vocals, guitar);
Butch Coulter (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica);
John Lee Sanders (vocals, saxophone, keyboards);
Kathi McDonald (vocals);
Eric Webster (piano);
Al Webster (drums).
01. Everyday I Have The Blues / Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough 5:57
02. Shake That Thing 4:10
03. Insane Asylum 5:31
04. I’m Ready 6:51
05. I’d Rather Go Blind 6:20
06. Baldry’s Out 4:14
07. A Thrill’s A Thrill 6:05
08. Backwater Blues 5:52
09. It Ain’t Easy 3:55
10. Stormy Monday Blues 5:43
11. Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock And Roll 10:15
12. Midnight In New Orleans 4:42

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