John William Baldry
It was with great sadness that I heard about the death of Long John Baldry at the age of 64. The blues is, probably, my favourite music and Long John was instrumental in my education of this music. In the early 60s I, like many others, congregated at Eel Pie Island in Twickenham for the blues night. Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames and Alex Harvey and his Soul Band are two groups I particularly remember but Long John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men (featuring Rod "The Mod" Stewart on vocals) were resident and fabulous. I have an abiding memory of John and Rod singing "Baby what you want me to do" Why has this stayed with me all these years?
Unlike many blues "freaks" I didn't have a problem when John went "commercial" and reached number 1 in the Hit Parade. His voice was perfect for the pop records he made and he deserved the popular success he got from this which never really came with his blues music.
He was a true blue eyed blues Great who never got the recognition he deserved but at least we've got the recordings. (I've spent a few hours playing his music the last couple of days [July 2005] . Sad that I hadn't played any for a while and needed his death to nudge me into it).
Goodbye Long John.