I first heard this song when Canned Heat had a hit with their 12-bar blues version called Let’s Work Together back in 1970. Six years later, along came Bryan Ferry to stamp his smooth sophisticated style all over it.
The secret of its success, I suspect, is this video with Jerry Hall appearing halfway through, saucily swinging the tail of a tiger-striped cocktail dress as she mimes the squealing and yelping of an anonymous backing vocalist.
This came from Ferry’s third solo album – and his first since disbanding Roxy Music earlier in 1976 following the release of their fifth album Siren.
Unlike his previous two, which were dedicated to cover versions and old standards, this one mixed covers like this version of an old R&B number with smooth re-recordings of a handful of early Roxy tracks in a melliflous style verging on lounge jazz.
Let’s Stick Together was originally recorded by R&B musician Wilbert Harrison back in 1962 as a follow-up to his chart-topper Kansas City, and became a minor hit in 1969 after he reworked and retitled it as Let’s Work Together – the same title used by Canned Heat (whose blues version reached no.2 in 1970).
On Ferry’s version, Bryan plays harmonica and keyboards, backed by Chris Spedding on guitar with erstwhile Roxy men Eddie Jobson on violin and John Wetton on bass, and Chris Mercer supplying the sax solo.
In this video, Ferry and Spedding are joined by Roxy’s Paul Thompson on drums, Rick Wills on bass and producer Chris Thomas on piano. I’m surprised to learn this was Ferry’s most successful solo single, reaching no.4.