In the mid 60’s American music was in an endemic rife. The land that invented rock and roll was in the dark ages compared to England.. There was no FM radio at this time so AM Top 40 twas king! if it weren’t for the psyche/folk scenes in Los Angeles and San Francisco there would’ve been no Beach Boys, the Byrds, the Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Love and a shit load of one hit wonders. Ground zero for British the blues/rock scene was started (yes..started) by Long John Baldry( he was 6’7″!). He was one of those peculiarly British phenomena that doggedly resisted American translation. As a historical figure, he had undeniable importance. Influenced by the great bluesman Leadbelly and Willy Dixon, he began singing as a teenager in the late 50’s and was the first British entertainer to perform folk and blues music with electric guitars.
Long John Baldry..Britain’s Godfather of Rock and Blues
In the early ’60s, he sang in blues bands all over London. He served as the musical roots for anything that was close to resembling rock and roll.. Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Alvin Lee, Bowie and the list goes on and on. Hendrix like a puppy dog would follow Baldry from gig to gig and take copious notes on cocktail napkins. Baldry was the real deal! While waiting in a London train station he heard a busking Rod Stewart crooning for pittance and hired him on the spot to sing back up in one of his make shift bands. During this tenure Baldry introduced Stewart to Ron Wood who later became the foundation for new and improved, Faces after the exit of Steve Marriott who joined Peter Frampton to form Humble Pie. All the musical branches had involved him in one way or the other. During one of his short-lived bands, Bluesology he recruited on keyboards and back- up vocals a young man named Reg Dwight, along with a talented jazz saxophonist, Elton Dean. Because Baldry yearned to explore his latent talents as a crooner and since Reg “pined” for a solo career, Bluesology fell apart by ’67 without making any commercial impression. To launch his solo career, Dwight ditched his birth name and fashioned a new one by marrying the first names of Elton Dean and John Baldry.. thus Elton John.
Despite all these stalls, Baldry was creating a mighty impression on the London scene-makers – and not just with his singing. His baritone speaking voice so impressed the Rolling Stones that in late ’66, they asked him to serve as the announcer for their first concert album, “Got Live If You Want It”.
He begun suffering from mental exhaustion by this point. He wound up committing himself to an asylum in 1975. During this stint he wrote about, with considerable humor, lyrics doubled as a sexual code for his coming out. Something Baldry made explicit in interviews. This was during a time when the government would intercede with admitted homosexuals by way hospitalization and medication. Baldry would soon move to Canada and made a successful career of doing voice-overs.He fell very ill from an infection (AIDS) and died in 2005 at age 64. His legacy will be remembered by all the “roots and branches” of British rock bands that rocked throughout the last five decades.
Rod Steward and Elton John Bathing.. Baldry’s Grave
English rockers, Bad Touch released their second album, “Truth Be Told” late last year. They formed back in 2010 and through constant touring and word of mouth (that’s how I heard of them) they had a reputation for slaying audiences. As bold and ramshackle rock & roll is to itself, “Truth Be Told” finds that Bad Touch are clearly defining themselves as rock and roll disciples. Defiant of trendy insistence that their guitar bravado and rebel pose is strictly classic rock. “Truth Be Told” furnishes an inspiration for reverence in its authenticity of early American blues and country.
Bad Touch 99%
The album begins with what seems to be an undeniable hit, “99%”. Vocalist, Stevie Westwood ramps it up with “My Mother Told Me” while taking mindful opportunities to exceed their first album (A fucking brilliant album).
This British quintet spins off with heavy ’60s and ’70s influences; so fluidly that they shake free from the retro-rock tag that dogs so many bands of the like. Bad Touch revels in their cocky pillaging of the universal jukebox — echoes of the Black Crowes, the Faces and Led Zep resound — but in a jolting way they mix offbeat kicks, blues rhythms, shredding wah-wah guitars and melted down home vocals that sound remarkably fresh. With their swagger intact and their musical inventiveness Bad Touch are evolving like the great bands they respect. And that respect has nothing of the archivist’s reverence or no follow-the-leader submissiveness. Ultimately, Bad Touch are vintage rockers simply because of their unholy worship of the groove. They have a big balls attitude to take on the world… and the world is theirs to be had!
We had an opportunity to interview Stevie Westwood …
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