The Faces sing "Flying" (1970)

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Great effort, Jason, but the answer we were looking for was Long John Baldry singing Flying. No points for this one, but you’re still in the lead as we head into the next round, right after this short break.

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Wow, never heard this song before. They’re both very cool!

You’ve done it again, Jason. Almost every time you post an article or obscure song it’s something I am already familiar with and like very much. You must be my brother from another mother, sir!

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They are! And I understand Jason showcasing the Faces version, since it is a Lane/Stewart/Wood tune. But it missed the opportunity to introduce Baldry to a new audience, and that’s a shame.

To one branch of the early Brit rock scene, Baldry was a sort of Tom Bombadil…oldest, wisest, unshakeable, and a bit goofy. He put people together, gave them jobs, gave them good advice. The album on which Baldry’s cover of Flying appears, It Ain’t Easy, was produced by Elton John (side 1, IIRC) and Rod Stewart (side 2, d’uh). Why these two? Call it a debt of gratitude. Baldry had heard Stewart busking with his harmonica after a show, and offered him paid work (first on the harp, then later as vocalist). And the “someone” in Reggie Dwight’s song Someone Saved My Life Tonight was John Baldry, who had talked Reg out of a suicidal funk during a failing hetero relationship. (Yes, that “Reggie Dwight,” whose stage name Elton John p’bly derives from Elton Dean, sax player for Dwight’s 2nd band, Bluesology, which became Baldry’s stage band for 1966, and Long John Baldry.)

Whippersnappers might recognize Baldry’s dulcet tones from his later voiceover work; perhaps his most famous role was Dr. Robotnik from the cartoon show Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.

(Note: In the U.S. the First Step album was still credited to Small Faces: in the U.K. the addition of Wood and Stewart – 5’ 10" in height – warranted dropping “small” from the band’s name; apparently that wasn’t tall enough for U.S. standards. Might as well add that Baldry’s “Long John” moniker derived from his height – 6’ 7" – and not another measurement.)


Great history, thank you!

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