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Wednesday 5 January 2011

Baker Street Man Rides Last Train

The first time I heard the voice of Gerry Rafferty, who has sadly passed way too early, was on a Radio 1 Sounds Of The Seventies show, which by definition was A Long Time Ago. Back then he was half of the most unlikely of double acts, The Humblebums. Why so unlikely? Well, the other half was another equally unknown Glaswegian called Billy Connolly.

Rafferty and Connolly recorded their tracks apart from one another in separate studios. The act was never going to last too long, and they broke up in the early 70s, probably soon after that Radio 1 show. Determined vinyl hunters no doubt occasionally find copies of their two albums on Transatlantic in collectors’ shops from time to time.

Rafferty later formed another double act, Stealer’s Wheel, with Joe Egan. I liked their music but reckoned that bringing Mentor Williams in to produce their third album was not A Very Good Idea. Then Stealer’s Wheel also fell apart. It was no surprise when Rafferty established himself as a solo artist.

Even then, Rafferty wasn’t keen on doing live shows, and wasn’t a great fan of the music business. Given that, and the increasing trivialisation of pop and rock in the intervening years, it’s no surprise that he vanished from the radar.

But Baker Street kept racking up the airplays. It still will, for years to come. It’s a damn shame that Gerry Rafferty won’t be around to see it.

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