Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Long John Baldry - Looking at Long John / Long John's Blues

Baldry's move from blues into pop/soul for his second album may have been viewed as something of a loss in integrity, given his purist blues stance on his debut. Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea, though, given that the debut LP wasn't very good, and the British blues-rock field was crowded with many greater talents in the mid-'60s. Looking at Long John, with a sub-Righteous Brothers  sort of approach, is certainly a change in style, but the result really isn't any better. Baldry's vocal limitations are a big handicap whether applied to white-boy blues or blue-eyed soul, and the production is thin in comparison with the American soul/pop it's clearly trying to emulate. If you wanted this kind of stuff, the Righteous Brothers did it many times better. Not only that, if you were British at the time and weren't aware of the Righteous Brothers, you weren't about to turn to John Baldry; the Walker Brothers (American, but based in Britain) also did this kind of stuff much better. - by Richie Unterberger, AMG

One of the unsung jewels of the British R&B scene, Long John's Blues  is, astonishingly, the sole surviving document of what was, at one point, among the most exciting live acts on the entire circuit. Baldry himself was dynamite, with a grasp of blues singing that left his contemporaries foundering. His takes on "Got My Mojo Working," "Dimples," and "Hoochie Coochie Man" alone are worth the price of admission, no matter how many other versions you may own, while "My Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough" and, best of all, "Everyday I Have the Blues" pack a punch that reminds us just what great musicians Baldry surrounded himself with, former Cyril Davies All-Stars veterans Jeff Bradford and Cliff Barton  among them. An excellent sleeve photo, stylishly mod as only Long John could be, completed the original vinyl package, but even in the record's later incarnation, as part of a two-fer CD with the sleeve barely visible, Long John's Blues stands proud among the most essential British blues albums of them all. - by Dave Thompson, AMG

Artist: Long John Baldry
Album: Looking at Long John (1-12)/Long John's Blues (13-24)
Year: 1966/64
Label: Beat Goes On (Remastered, 1995)
Runtime: 73:07

Tracks:
1.  You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' (Barry Mann/Phil Spector/Cynthia Weil) 3:22
2.  Only A Fool Breaks His Own Heart (Norman Bergen/Shelly Coburn) 2:44
3.  Make It Easy On Yourself (Burt Bacharach/Hal David) 2:58
4.  Let Him Go (And Let Me Love You) (Lucky Edwards Jr./Maxwell) 2:12
5.  The Drifter (Richard Gottehrer/Jerry Goldstein/Bob Feldman) 3:03
6.  Cry Me A River (Arthur Hamilton) 3:01
7.  Stop Her On Sight (S.O.S) (Albert Hamilton/Charles Hatcher/Richard Morris) 1:56
8.  Turn On Your Lovelight (Deadric Malone/Joseph Scott) 2:07
9.  I Love Paris (Cole Porter) 2:13
10.  Keep On Running (Jackie Edwards) 2:16
11.  Ain't Nothing You Can Do (Deadric Malone/Joseph Scott) 2:31
12.  Bad Luck Soul (David Gussin/Ann Martin) 2:22
13.  Got My Mojo Working (McKinley Morganfield) 3:11
14.  Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You (Andy Razaf/Don Redman) 3:56
15.  Roll 'em Pete (Pete Johnson) 3:29
16.  You're Breaking My Heart (Long John Baldry) 4:33
17.  Hoochie Coochie (Willie Dixon) 3:48
18.  Everyday (I Have The Blues) (Peter Chatman) 3:06
19.  Dimples (John Lee Hooker) 2:22
20.  Five Long Years (Eddie Boyd) 5:06
21.  My Babe (Willie Dixon) 2:34
22.  Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough (Jimmy Whiterspoon) 2:25
23.  Goin' Down Slow (James Burke Oden) 3:52
24.  Rock The Joint (Long John Baldry) 3:49

Personnel:
Long John Baldry (Vocals)
Ian Armitt (Keyboards)
Cliff Barton (Bass Guitar)
Jeff Bradford (Guitar and Harmonica)
Bill Law (Drums)
Rod Stewart (Banjo)
Jimmy Page (Guitar) - 1-12
Kathi McDonald (Backing Vocals) - 1-12

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