‘It Ain’t A Matter Of Pork ’N’ Beans . . .’

Originally posted January 9, 2009

I debated all morning, while I was running some errands, what I should post when I finally got home. And as I rummaged through the mp3s early this afternoon, I thought of a track that I’ve been meaning to post here for some time, one of my favorite album tracks of the early 1970s.

Just to tease things along a little, I’ll list the backing musicians first:

Guitar: Ron Wood and Sam Mitchell.
Piano: Ian Armitt.
Tenor sax: Alan Skidmore.
Bass: Rikki Brown.
Drums: Mickie Waller.

Chorus: Lesley Duncan, Madelene [should no doubt be “Madeline”] Bell, Doris Troy, Kay Garner, Liza Strike, Tony Burrows, Tony Hazzard and Roger Cook.

Producer: Rod Stewart.

There are some pretty interesting names there. The obvious ones are Wood and Stewart. Among the vocalists, the name of Doris Troy (“Just One Look,” No. 10, 1963) jumps out, as does that of Lesley Duncan, who did a lot of session work in England and released some singles in the 1960s and several well-regarded albums during the 1970s. Another name that pops out at me is that of Tony Burrows. Why? Here’s part of what All-Music Guide has to say about Burrows:

“By rights, Tony Burrows should be a one-man oldies package tour – though he never charted a record under his own name, he holds the unusual honor (you can look it up in the Guinness Book of World Records) of having four records in the British Top Ten at once, all under different names. The British session vocalist sang Edison Lighthouse’s ‘Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes),’ White Plains’ ‘My Baby Loves Lovin’,’ the Pipkins’ ridiculous ‘Gimme Dat Ding,’ and the Brotherhood of Man’s ‘United We Stand,’ all of which were big hits in both the U.S. and U.K. in 1970.”

But Burrows – as fascinating as his story is – remains a backing singer here. Whose record was this?

Well, I wondered that, too, the first time I heard the track I’m sharing today. That likely happened in early 1972 in the tiny room we used as a lounge at KVSC, St. Cloud State’s student-run station. And I know I heard the track – which was released in 1971 – on several other stations. It was fairly popular on a good number of FM stations in the months after its release. It was, to be sure, an odd track, even by the standards of a relatively free-form station: It starts with a soliloquy backed by a piano tracing a slightly bluesy, slightly jazzy figure, and it takes a little more than three minutes before the speaker gets to the end of his tale and the music kicks in.

But thirty-seven years after I first heard it, I still get an adrenaline rush as Long John Baldry finishes his tale and Ian Armitt’s piano leads the band into three-and-a-half minutes of kick-ass British blues-rock.

“Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie-Woogie On The King Of Rock & Roll”

Long John Baldry (From It Ain’t Easy, 1971)

(Baldry’s tale and the song are presented as one track on the original LP version of It Ain’t Easy. On the CD, for some reason, the track is listed as two tracks: “Conditional Discharge” and “Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie-Woogie On The King Of Rock & Roll.” Even though the mp3 was ripped from the CD, I’ve held to the original track title.)

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2 Responses to “‘It Ain’t A Matter Of Pork ’N’ Beans . . .’”

  1. Sitting Out The Dance On The Stairway « Echoes In The Wind Archives Says:

    […] anomalies in a career based first in folk and blues and later in bluesy rock, as was noted here recently with “Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie-Woogie On The King of Rock & Roll.” The single’s […]

  2. ‘I Don’t Need No Light In The Darkness’ « Echoes In The Wind Says:

    […] various title permutations over the course of several posts a while back. (Those post are available here, here and here.) Of the various versions I know about, though – by Gator Creek, Crow, songwriter […]

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