It Ain't Easy (Long John Baldry album)

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It Ain't Easy
Long John Baldry 1971.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 1971
RecordedDecember 1970 – February 1971
GenreBlues rock
LabelWarner Music
ProducerRod Stewart, Elton John
Long John Baldry chronology
Wait For Me
It Ain't Easy
Everything Stops for Tea

It Ain't Easy is a 1971 album by Long John Baldry.

According to extensive notes about Long John Baldry's career in the re-release 2005 CD, Rod Stewart was brought on board to produce It Ain't Easy for Warner Brothers. Soon after in 1970, Stewart met his former Bluesology bandmate Elton John at a party and the piano player joined on, too. Stewart and John each produced half of this bluesy album, with John contributing much of the piano work. Stewart brought in mate Ronnie Wood to play guitar, as well as many others who would appear on Stewart's Every Picture Tells a Story, released later in 1971.

The Baldry album features his biggest U.S. hit, "Don't Try to Lay No Boogie-Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll". Baldry once noted how Stewart's loose and late-night recording sessions affected the tracks, "especially those recorded on my thirtieth birthday when he showed up with cases of Remy Martin cognac and several measures of good quality champagne!" Baldry points out that "Don't Try to Lay No Boogie-Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll" was recorded "whilst laying [sic] on the floor".[1]

The 1971 release also features "Black Girl", an American folk song most associated with Lead Belly, though covered by the likes of Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Dolly Parton and Nirvana. Baldry does a version singing with Maggie Bell, who also appeared on Every Picture Tells a Story.

It Ain't Easy also includes Willie Dixon's song "I'm Ready" and an Elton John-Bernie Taupin song, "Rock Me When He's Gone". It is possible that John, a budding star in the early 1970s, took his last name from Long John Baldry.[2] Baldry and Stewart put a band together to promote the album on Baldry's first tour of the US. The band consisted of mostly players from Stewart's Every Picture Tells a Story album. Sam Mitchell on blues guitar, Micky Waller on drums, Pete Sears on bass, and Ian Armitt on piano. They were called "The Long John Baldry Blues Band" and played two tours of the US.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[3]
Christgau's Record GuideC[4]
The Vinyl DistrictA-[5]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Intro: Conditional Discharge" (Long John Baldry, Ian Armitt)
  2. "Don't Try to Lay No Boogie-Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll" (Jeff Thomas)
  3. "Black Girl" (Traditional, Lead Belly)
  4. "It Ain't Easy" (Ron Davies)
  5. "Morning, Morning" (Tuli Kupferberg)
  6. "I'm Ready" (Willie Dixon)
  7. "Let's Burn Down the Cornfield" (Randy Newman)
  8. "Mr. Rubin" (Lesley Duncan)
  9. "Rock Me When He's Gone" (Elton John, Bernie Taupin)
  10. "Flying" (Ronnie Wood, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Lane)

2005 Re-issue bonus tracks:

  1. "Goin' Down Slow"
  2. "Blues (Corn Bread, Meat, and Molasses)"
  3. "Love In Vain"
  4. "Midnight Hour Blues"
  5. "Black Girl" (alternate take)
  6. "It Ain't Easy" (alternate take)
  7. "I'm Ready' (alternate take)



  1. ^ Myers, Paul (2007). It Ain't Easy: Long John Baldry and the Birth of the British Blues. Greystone Books. p. 140. ISBN 9781553652007.
  2. ^ Myers 2007, p. 251.
  3. ^ Planer, Lindsay Planer. "It Ain't Easy - Long John Baldry | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: B". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  5. ^ Little, Michael H. (December 8, 2017). "Graded on a Curve: Long John Baldry, It Ain't Easy". The Vinyl District.