Long John Baldry It Ain't Easy / Everything Stops for Tea

These two records document a bluesman ahead of his time who fused the rock’n’blues with a voice that forced you to listen up. Isn’t it a pity that it often takes the death of a seminal musician to truly grasp how great they were? That’s the case with bluesman extraordinaire Long John Baldry, who passed away this past summer — leaving us with a blues legacy of gargantuan proportions. Thanks to the good folks at Stony Plain Records, Baldry’s first two underground hit records have been re-released with expanded tracks and liner notes that tell this bluesman’s story. This is also the first time that It Ain’t Easy (Baldry’s British debut) and Everything Stops for Tea (his sophomore release) have been issued on CD. Both discs were co-produced by Elton John and Rod Stewart and the two musicians also lent a hand with vocals and instrumentation; Elton’s band also backs up Baldry on many of the tracks. Adding to this list of heavy musical hitters, Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood adds some of his signature licks on several tracks and also supplied the cover art for Everything Stops for Tea. From the honky-tonk piano that drives "It Ain’t Easy” to Baldry’s deep drone on "Black Girl,” to the sweat-soaked sounds of "Don’t Try to Lay No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock & Roll,” these discs are a must for any serious music collector. (Stony Plain)