1-CD with 28-page booklet, 28 tracks. Playing time approx. 77 mns.
Mickey Baker is the greatest R&B session guitarist of all time (as well as half of Mickey & Sylvia). He has made plenty of solo records through the years and this set collates his recordings for Savoy (1952), Groove (1954), Rainbow (1955), MGM (1956) and Vik (1957). Titles include Guitar Mambo, Stranger Blues, Down To The Bottom, Shake Walkin', Greasy Spoon and the rock guitar classic Spinnin' Rock Boogie. As a bonus, there are five previously unissued Mickey & Sylvia sides that weren't included on our classic Mickey & Sylvia double.
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"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..