Some people acclaim Long John Baldry as the father of British blues, a title he certainly has strong claims to, but although he has spent most of his life singing the blues, this compilation covers his brief period as a pop singer in the late sixties. It is likely that John could have been much more successful as a pop singer, had he committed himself, but it wasn't really his type of music. Nevertheless, the pop music he recorded is of the highest quality, as this set proves.
Long John Baldry had a number one hit (Let the heartaches begin) and a top twenty hit (Mexico - the UK TV theme song for the 1968 Olympics). His only other two hits (When the sun comes shining thru, It's too late now) made the top thirty. Hold back the daybreak, a superb ballad, was twice released as a single but missed the charts both times.
Apart from those singles, this collection contains plenty of covers, all sounding great with John's bluesy voice. Spinning wheel (Blood sweat and tears), Spanish Harlem (Ben E King), River deep mountain high (Ike and Tina Turner), What now my love (Sirley Bassey), Cry like a baby (Box tops), Lights of Cincinatti (Scott Walker), Sunshine of your love (Cream), Stay with me baby (Lorraine Ellison), Son of Hickory Holler's tramp (O C Smith), MacArthur Park (Richard Harris), How sweet it is (Marvin Gaye), I can't stop loving you (a Don Gibson song best remembered via the Ray Charles cover) and Every time we say goodbye (the Cole Porter classic) are among the classic songs that show how great John was.
Despite his brilliance - even recording pop music when he preferred the blues - John will be remembered as the man who plucked Elton John and Rod Stewart from obscurity.
This collection reminds us that Long John Baldry was an excellent pop singer.