Long John Baldry, 1941-2005
July 22, 2005 3:21 PM   Subscribe

He was the patriarch of the British Invasion. In 1962, he released Britain's first blues album. Before they hit it big, the Rolling Stones opened for him. He was on the Beatles first television special. Later, he was in the memorably-named band The Hoochie Coochie Men with Rod Stewart on lead vocals. His next band, Bluesology, featured one Reginald Dwight, who later changed his name to honour his mentor. Moving to Canada in the 1970s he eventually settled in Vancouver, where he died today after suffering from a chest infection. Ladies and gentlemen: "Long John" Baldry has passed.
posted by docgonzo (9 comments total)
Damn. I met him in 1994 at a festival in Belgium where he was opening act to the band I was in. A real gent backstage - humble and encouraging.

He rambled til the butcher cut him down....
posted by zaelic at 5:40 PM on July 22, 2005

Nice post docgonzo, thank you. "Long John" Baldry helped nurture a lot of the music I suspect a lot members here enjoy. I must confess I never listened to him much, I went from the Stones to John Mayall and then to the American bluesmen.

I remember when I bought the Robert Johnson box set when I was in my late '20s. The clerk, who was about my age, looked at me and said "Lemme guess, you were into Zep and the Stones when you were in high school and always heard how cool this guy was, and now you're finally checking him out." He was exactly right. Nothing can be more rewarding than tracing the roots of art you love, and it sounds like Baldry is one of the gems to discover along the way.
posted by marxchivist at 5:41 PM on July 22, 2005

has anyone ever heard his version of "don't try to lay no boogie-woogie on the king of rock n roll"? ... that was classic
posted by pyramid termite at 6:33 PM on July 22, 2005

I always considered George Martin to be the patriarch (well, maybe the step-father) of the the British Invastion.. but pop-cultural squabbles aside, RIP, John Baldry. We barely knew ye.
posted by psmealey at 6:41 PM on July 22, 2005

Ah, so sad. Yes, pyramid termite, I remember 'don't try to lay no boogie-woogie' very well - it got a lot of radio play back when I was in high school (early 70's). He pronounced it 'boojie woojie.' A pioneer, to be sure.

As I was reading the FPP, I was beginning to think it was referring to Mayall, whom I have always thought of as the patriarch of British blues. I got to see him live here in Knoxville about ten years ago, and it was the best blues show I've ever seen.
posted by wadefranklin at 7:26 PM on July 22, 2005

Never seen him live, but the man was a hell of a talent. Damn shame he's gone.
posted by arto at 8:28 PM on July 22, 2005

My dad made sure Baldry was part of my musical education from an early age. "It Ain't Easy" and "Rock Me When He's Gone" are two of the most stunning songs ever recorded.

I stumbled across him in Portland (Oregon) a few years back at the Waterfront Blues Festival. It was, for lack of a better descriptor, magical. And funny, too -- I remember him being a total goof for this very small, mostly unaware audience.
posted by medialyte at 9:55 PM on July 22, 2005

has anyone ever heard his version of "don't try to lay no boogie-woogie on the king of rock n roll"? ... that was classic

Dude, I was just listening to it last night. It is indeed a great record. Sad news.
posted by jonmc at 10:09 PM on July 22, 2005

I am just speechless. I loved LJB. Very blue here right now.
posted by Lynsey at 10:46 PM on July 22, 2005

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