Long John Baldry did not want us to back him as he had a good band at home that he usually toured with. We didn't want to back him because we thought the material he sent was "too rock." The Blues Saloon told him they couldn't afford to fly the whole band in so, unless he agreed to work with us, the date was off. We were told that the club would cancel some of our other dates if we did not agree to play the show. Long John Baldry and the Butanes reluctantly got together on a Thursday night to go over a few Long John Baldry, John Lindberg and Virgil Nelsonsongs for the weekend's show. We expressed our disdain for most of John's favored material (usually the things we thought were too rock for us) and in turn John said he didn't care for the way we played the songs of his that we had liked. We took a break from rehearsing, the band heading to the bar to complain about our star and John heading to the manager's office to, I imagine, complain about the band.

Apparently he found out that we had played with (among many others) Bo Diddley and Howling Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin. When we reconvened to try to put some kind of show together John called off a Bo Diddley song that had not been on his songlist. After a short time it came together. He tried an old Wolf tune and that also worked out. Just jamming. He asked about a bunch of other Bo and Wolf songs and when I assured him we could play them he pronounced rehearsal over. We were going to wing it on the weekend.

The Blues Saloon was packed as we called Long John Baldry to the stage Friday night and we played songs we all knew but were by no means "standards." As the set was about to end he looked at me and called one of the songs we had deemed "too rock." I thought "what the heck" and we launched into it and played it with much more conviction than we had during the early part of rehearsal on Thursday. Over the course of the two nights we played a few more of John's favorites and he called a few of the band's favorites as well but mostly we played songs that had originally been released on Chess records by Bo Diddley, Howling Wolf, Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. The crowd had a great time and Long John Baldry impressed us all as a great vocalist and showman.

For more on Long John Baldry

July, 2005. Long John Baldry has died. Here is a link to his obituary:


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