Posts Tagged ‘Muddy Waters’

Long John Baldry It Aint Easy Cover 1971I remember my brother bringing home this album from some guy I had never heard of before  back in the early 70’s.  I also remember putting it on the turntable and being instantly hooked.  The guy was Long John Baldry and the album was It Ain’t Easy.  Baldry was a 6’7″ ( hence the nickname) British blues singer who was one of the first Brits to sing American blues in the English clubs of the late 50’s and early 60’s which led to the blues explosion there that re-ignited the dwindling careers of many American bluesmen, such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon and many others.  Elton John and Rod Stewart and many others had started their careers in Baldry’s early bands and went on to greater acclaim than Baldry when they moved away from the blues and American folk that he so embraced.  Baldry was content playing this music for most of his career, outside of a short foray into lushly orchestrated Big Band crooning that gave him a #1 hit in the UK with Let the Heartaches Begin.

Baldry lived in Canada from the  late 70’s on and passed away in 2005 at the age of 64.  He did a lot of voiceover work late in his life with one  of his best known roles in voice acting was as Dr Robotnik in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.  This was news to me when I read it in his Wikipedia biography but it doesn’t take away from a really unique performer.

I dug up the a vinyl version of this album several years back when I wasn’t able to find it on CD or digitally.  I was so glad when I listened to it and found that it is still a really solid group of work, not just some idealized remembrance of a 14  year old mind.   Others must think so as well as it  is now widely available .  This was the first thing I ever heard from him, Don’t Try to Lay No Boogie Woogie ( On the King of Rock and Roll) which is introduced by an entertaining little tale from his early days called Conditional Discharge.


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Here we are at the end of the first decade of this millenium and I find myself a bit under the weather.  I was going to write about resolutions and new beginnings, all the typical New Year’s folderol, but don’t really feel up to it this morning.  Maybe tomorrow.  The New Year will no doubt bring everything into clear focus.

Or not.

So, iinstead I’ll show a neat clip from a BBC broadcast from 1964 that showed a concert from the Blues and Gospel Train, a  tour that stormed through Britain  featuring American blues and gospel greats such as Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry and Rev. Gary Davis.  The special had a huge broadcast audience and was a big influence on the young there. 

The clip I’m showing is from Sister Rosetta Tharpe who was a giant in the gospel world but also kept a foot in the world of secular blues.  She was big woman with a big voice and personality who is quite a sight wielding her white electric guitar.  Very powerful.  I thought this song, Didn’t It Rain? , was appropriate for the day as it’s about making it through the storm and heading into the new day, something I think we can equate to the past decade going into the next.

The venue here is a disused railway station in Chorlton that they dressed up a bit to resemble an old rail station from the American deep south.  It makes a pretty good backdrop for the Sister’s wailing and playing.  Anyway, enjoy and have a wonderful New Year’s Eve…

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