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Mean, nasty, bitter, truthful and everything a blues should be

  • Sep 4, 2009
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I know, people.  It's weird to only review one song, especially since both Billy Joel and Ray Charles had so many hits and wonderful songs.  This one, though, is special.  I just refound it on Youtube and nearly cried listening to it.  For one thing, Billy Joel has done the bar cocktail piano thing, and he KNOWS what he's writing about.  Yeah, we who play love to play, but there are times when you just don't feel like it but you have to anyway.  There are times when playing bars isn't art anymore.  It's a damned job, and sometimes not a very nice one.  Joel showed that in his first hit, PIANO MAN.  This song, though, is special (didn't I say that before?)  When this came out in the 80s, the style was cutsie little teeny bopper songs, grunge or hair bands left over from the 70s.  Blues was dead and gone.  Since I love listening to and playing blues, it was not a good time for me.  Oh, there was the wonderful music of Ray Charles, but at that time, he was doing the country stuff instead of the old blues sound.  So, I listened to the old Ray Charles stuff and dreamed of better times.  Then, this one came out.  Did I mention that this song is special.  Not only did if combine two really major talents, both of whom could sing and play piano, it was also a minor melancholy blues.  Billy Joel has written some great songs, but nothing comes up to this one.  As it is performed, it has the ring of truth from both of them.  They are singing about things they have experienced, and so has everyone musician who has ever had to play some crummy bar, fending off the drunks while you try to play songs that everyone knows.  Oh yeah, did I mention that this song is special?  It sure is!!!!

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September 08, 2009
As a DJ, I know exactly what you mean when sometimes playing isn't fun anymore and it becomes a job. I'm going to have to look this song up, I can't believe I haven't heard it! What do you think of the original Fleetwood Mac when they were playing the blues or Eric Clapton?
September 08, 2009
I liked the original Fleetwood a lot, but I do have to admit that my "dirty old man" persona loved the new one. Both ladies were very attractive. As for Clapton, what can you say? To me, Clapton was the second best white blues guitar in history, behind Mike Bloomfield, the guitarist for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Have you heard them?
September 08, 2009
I also included the link to this song on youtube. Hopefully you can still play it
September 04, 2009
Thanks, Bethany, for the wiki and picture. I really appreciate it
About the reviewer
John O'Connor ()
I am retired military. I served 6 years of Navy, nearly 6 years of Air Force, and just over 22 years of Air National Guard. I also was a full time technician for the Air Guard for just over 21 years. … more
About this topic


"Baby Grand" is the third single released off Billy Joel's album The Bridge. A duet with Joel and Ray Charles, the song is a ballad dedicated to the baby grand piano, and the relationship it can share with its players. The two originally got together when Charles contacted Joel about the naming of his daughter, Alexa Ray, after Charles. Charles then suggested they create a song together.

Joel originally sang the song in his thick New York accent, but decided to do a Charles impression instead when he noticed Charles was trying to imitate his style. The song was positively received by critics. The single peaked at #75 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and at #3 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. The music video features Joel and Charles playing the piano right next to each other.

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