Wednesday, January 15, 1992

Long John in Toronto

Many years after meeting the legendary Long John Baldry I was invited to play guitar for him at a club gig outside Toronto, subbing for Papa John King and Butch Coulter was on harp. There was no rehearsal – when you play with a legend you're expected to be familiar with their repertoire – but the gig went fine. I remember after the first tune, he leaned over and said "you'll have to turn down that amp, young man" which I did, of course. When it was time to be paid he gave me more than we had agreed but made me sign numerous receipts and documents (with carbon copies!)

Superstars Nightclub, 1992. At some point during the winter I had gone to see Butch Coulter playing with Long John Baldry at some cavernous club called Superstars. The sound was atrocious and from what the boys in the band said, it was even worse on stage. I was chatting with Butch and Kathi Macdonald in the corridor which ran under the stage because Baldry was “schmoozing” with the folks from Southern Comfort about being their spokesman or something. Well, that didn’t quite materialize, but six months later, Southern Comfort was sponsoring a week-end blues festival in Toronto and Baldry was playing the Horseshoe on their “Blues Roadhouse” night. One blues traditionalist who caught the first set said the band was “awful” and there was no Papa John King and no Butch – not even Kathi, the only familiar face was Rick Morrison on sax, and I suppose he put together the band in Toronto because their wasn’t enough of a budget to fly in everybody for a one-niter.