Right to Sing the Blues

CD Cover Long John Baldry
Stony Plain

Review by Pieter Hofmann

[Note: the cover from this CD has gone missing... we'll scan it in when we find it in January...]

Long John Baldry will probably always be known less for his own recordings than for the musicians who passed through his bands in the '60s and '70s. Most notably, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts all surfaced, early in their careers, as members of various Long John Baldry blues incarnations in England.

Now residing in Vancouver, as he has for the past few decades, Baldry has enlisted members of Colin James' road band and James himself on his latest album. Unfortunately, Baldry slides into a comfort zone on occasion; padding the album with safe and generic material, such as the title track, dampens an otherwise strong set of R&B. Luckily, the miscues are only spare change on a full dollar's worth of music. "Whoa Back Buck" and Bonnie Dobson's "Morning Dew," especially, are perfect vehicles for his whiskey and cigarettes voice.

Ending Right to Sing the Blues is an interview with Baldry in which he discusses his career and the blues. While a twenty-four minute interview may seem excessive, Baldry is a captivating scholar of the blues. Insightful and playful, his history lesson ends a good disc on a fine note.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on December 22, 1997

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