JOHN WILLIAM BALDRY TRIBUTES - January 12, 1941 - July 21, 2005 - | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | home

British Blues Pioneer, and true music legend Long John Baldry passed away in Vancouver General Hospital on July 21. He had been fighting a severe chest infection, for 4 months. God has unfortunately decided to lay some 'Boogie Woogie on the King Of Rock n' Roll'. It is with a very sad pen that I write this particular piece, John and I were pals in London in the 70's, he was a neighbor, a tube train traveling companion, and I jammed with him "down the pub" in Muswell Hill. He was a Giant in both senses of the word in British Blues, standing 6ft 7''tall, he was a member of Alexis Korners original British Blues band, Blues Incorporated, and later spun off with harmonica player Cyril Davies, to form the Cyril Davies All Stars.

Cyril died of leukemia in 1963, so John took the helm and re-named the band Long John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men. Rod Stewart became a 'Hoochie Coochie Man', and later co-formed with John, the very successful Steampacket, which included Brian Auger, and Julie Driscoll. His band 'Bluesology' was next. It featured a young piano player called Reg Dwight, who later became Elton John! I was playing bass for Eclection, in the Early 70's, a member of the Folk-Rock band led by Dorris Henderson a good friend of John's. Dorris also passed March 3rd this year age 72. Dorris and the band were signed to John's management company Gaff management , who also handled Rod Stewart and The Faces at this time...that's why we were put on tour with them I guess! We would run into each other at The Gaff office many times, and often see John at Eclection gigs in the audience. He was a kind hearted gentleman, and always had time to chat, no matter who you were. He loved the Blues; Leadbelly, Big Joe Turner, Jimmy Witherspoon, Chuck and Bo were among his favorites. A little known fact is that The Beatles invited John to perform 'I Got My Mojo Workin' on their first worldwide BBC TV Special titled "Around The World With The Beatles", in April 1964. In 1967 John had a number one hit with the pop ballad "Let The Heartaches Begin", but quickly returned to his beloved Blues format, a move that spawned his most famous Album 'It Aint Easy' in 1971.This release contained his anthem, 'Conditional Discharge/Don't Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock n' Roll'. The almost-as-popular 'Everything Stops For Tea' was released next in 1973, these two classics are now available; newly re-issued on Stony Plain records. How sad that John did not live to see this happen. After spending time in New York City and Los Angeles, John settled in Vancouver and became a Canadian citizen in 1980. He has a myriad of recordings available on Canada's Stony Plain label and a wonderful DVD available of a 1993 concert in Germany, backed by a hot 6 piece band .Two songs that will always stand out for me are his interpretations of Jimmy Witherspoon's 'Moneys Gettin Cheaper' (which he always called 'Times Gettin Tougher Than Tough'), and the Bonnie Dobson/Tim Rose folk song 'Morning Dew'. I have been doing the 'Spoon' tune for years, but now include 'Morning Dew' in my songlist whenever I can to pay my respects to Johns memory. He had an honest approach to his craft, willingly shared his gift with others, and will be remembered as a true gentleman. It was truly an honor to have known him. May he Rest in Peace.  - David Booker/Colorado Blues Society
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