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Mickey Baker In The '50s: Hit, Git & Split (CD)

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During the 1950s, he was one of the most-in-demand session guitar players in the US. Latest by... more

Mickey Baker: In The '50s: Hit, Git & Split (CD)

During the 1950s, he was one of the most-in-demand session guitar players in the US. Latest by 1957 he got world-famous for his collaboration with vocalist Sylvia Vanderpool and a string of hits. But Baker stayed in New York and kept-on recording with famous, and obscure blues and r&b artists. The majority of his superb 1950s recordings is contained in this fabulous collection.

Article properties: Mickey Baker: In The '50s: Hit, Git & Split (CD)

Baker, Mickey - In The '50s: Hit, Git & Split (CD) CD 1
01 Spinnin' Rock Boogie HENDRICKS, Bill
02 Love Me Baby BAKER, Mickey
03 Bandstand Stomp BAKER, Mickey
04 Riverboat BAKER, Mickey
05 I'm So Tired McHOUSTON, Big Red
06 Stranger Blues McHOUSTON, Big Red
07 You Better Heed My Warning DALE, Larry
08 Midnight Hours DALE, Larry
09 Shake Walkin' BAKER, Mickey
10 Down To The Bottom DALE, Larry
11 Greasy Spoon BAKER, Mickey
12 Please Tell Me DALE, Larry
13 Where Is My Honey? MICKEY & SYLVIA
14 No Good Lover MICKEY & SYLVIA
15 Rock With A Sock BAKER, Mickey
16 Love Is Strange MICKEY & SYLVIA
17 Did You Mean, Jelly-Bean (What You Said, Mickey Baker
18 Cabbage-Head)? CLAY, Joe
19 Runaway CALHOUN, Charles
20 I Need Your Love So Bad JOHN, Little Willie
21 All Around The World TURNER, Titus
22 Rib Joint PRICE, Sam
23 Anna Mae McGHEE, Brownie
24 My Baby's Gone Away RIFF, Eddie
25 Caldonia '56 JORDAN, Louis
26 Country Boy KENNEDY, Tiny
28 Worried 'Bout You, Baby GAINES, Roy
29 Pepper-Head Woman WALTON, Square
30 Stumbling Block DUPREE, Champion Jack
31 Come Back, Uncle John GREER, Big John
32 Hit, Git & Split YOUNG JESSIE
Mickey Baker "I became the most famous rock 'n' roll guitar player in the world because... more
"Mickey Baker"

Mickey Baker

"I became the most famous rock 'n' roll guitar player in the world because I wanted to make money," says Mickey Baker pragmatically."And I wanted to eat."

Mickey was New York’s top R&B session guitarist during the 1950s before he teamed up with Sylvia Robinson to sing their ’57 smash Love Is Strange. His brittle, twangy sound set him well apart from the competition on hundreds of classic sides. "Fender guitars, man," says Baker."The whole idea was to make the most noise you could possibly get, and as loud as you get possibly get with lots of feeling. So you couldn’t get that on the Gibson guitars. I started using all Fenders."

Born McHouston Baker in Louisville, Kentucky on October 15, 1925, his musical tastes were shaped by the jukebox in his uncle’s bar. At age 11, he was dispatched to an orphanage, but he repeatedly ran away and ended up in New York, hoping to make a living as a trumpeter. Alas, his $14 would only buy him a guitar at a local pawnshop. Lessons from Harlem fretsman Rector Bailey got Mickey up to speed. He started playing jazz in the late ‘40s with pianist Jimmy Neely’s Incomparables. 

"The first money I ever made on music was a jazz guitar book that I wrote before I’d done anything like rhythm and blues or rock 'n' roll," notes Baker. A trip out to Oakland, where he saw guitarist Pee Wee Crayton play rocking blues, opened his eyes. "After visiting San Francisco and seeing the way they played music out there, I adopted that style and took it back to New York." Mickey made his first studio session in late ’51 behind Billy Valentine and quickly ascended to first-call status, peeling off crackling riffs behind Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker, Amos Milburn, Nappy Brown, Chuck Willis, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, H-Bomb Ferguson, and Young Jessie. "From ‘52 to ‘56 was very good for me," says Mickey."I was theguitarist."

Baker’s own recording career commenced in 1952 on Savoy. He made some of his hottest instrumentals for Eddie Heller’s Rainbow label in May of ’55 with Warren Lucky on tenor sax, pianist Ernie Hayes, bassist Jimmy Lewis, and drummer Dave ‘Specs’ Bailey, cutting loose with an elastic vengeance on Shake Walkin’ 

"It’s really ridiculous some of the stuff that I was doing,"he says, citing a ’56 LP he made with Louis Jordan. "I’m running over that damn guitar like I’m going out of style, you know?" With the mammoth pop appeal of electric guitar innovator Les Paul and his partner Mary Ford in mind, Baker teamed with Sylvia Vanderpool in 1955. "I said, ‘What if you took the guitar and put it around her neck and talked about a group called Mickey & Sylvia?’"says Baker. The strategy clicked when Love Is Strange, their adaptation of a Bo Diddley song, blasted to #1 R&B and #11 pop.

Baker emigrated to France in the spring of 1962 and has lived there ever since, his days as the self-professed "king of the slip and slide guitar"long behind him. "When I started playing rock 'n' roll and R&B and stuff on the guitar, you know what they’d tell me?" asks Mickey."‘Oh, man, you deserted us, man. You were on your way to being a great jazz guitar player.’ I said, ‘I want to eat pork chops, man. I’m sick of eating hot dogs!’"

Bill Dahl aus PLUG IT IN! TURN IT UP! Electric Blues 1939-2005 - The Definitive Collection! - "Plug It In! Turn It Up! - Electric Blues 1939 - 2005" auf Bear Family Records hat bei den Blues Music Awards in Memphis, Tenneessee, am 9. Mai den prestigetraechtigen Preis in der Kategorie 'Bestes historisches Album' erhalten. Die einzigartige, 12-teilige CD-Dokumentation vermittelt erstmals einen umfassenden Blick auf die Geschichte dieses bedeutsamen Genres, unabhaengig von Grenzen, die einzelne Plattenfirmen aufzeigen. Unser Autor Bill Dahl aus Chicago war vor Ort und nahm den Preis vor etwa 1.300 Bluesmusikern, Journalisten und Fans entgegen. Die Blues Music Awards, die alljaehrlich in Memphis fuer die besten Blues-Veroeffentlichungen verliehen werden, gelten als wichtigste Auszeichnung weltweit und werden auch als 'Oscars des Blues' bezeichnet..

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