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Artist

Mickey Baker

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Of all the guitarists who helped transform rhythm & blues into rock & roll, Mickey Baker was one of the very most important, ranking almost on the level of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. The reason he wasn't nearly as well known as those legends is that a great deal of his work wasn't issued under his own name, but as a backing guitarist for many R&B and rock & roll musicians. Baker originally aspired to be a jazz musician, but turned to calypso, mambo, and then R&B, where the most work could be found. In the early and mid-'50s, he did countless sessions for Atlantic, King, RCA, Decca, and OKeh, playing on such classics as the Drifters' "Money Honey" and "Such a Night," Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle & Roll," Ruth Brown's "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean," and Big Maybelle's "Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On." He also released a few singles under his own name, and made a Latin jazz-tinged solo album, Guitar Mambo. Baker's best work, though, was recorded as half of the duo Mickey & Sylvia. Their hit "Love Is Strange," as well as several other unknown but nearly equally strong tracks, featured Baker's keening, bluesy guitar riffs, which were gutsier and more piercing than most anything else around in the late '50s. Mickey & Sylvia split in the late '50s (though they recorded off and on until the middle of the next decade), and Baker recorded his best solo album, the all-instrumental The Wildest Guitar. In 1961, he took the male spoken part (usually assumed to be Ike Turner) on Ike & Tina Turner's first hit, "It's Gonna Work Out Fine." Shortly afterwards he moved to France, making a few hard-to-find solo records and working with a lot of French pop and rock performers, including Ronnie Bird, the best '60s French rock singer. He recorded only sporadically after the mid-'60s. Mickey Baker died at his home in Montastruc-la-Conseillère, France on November 27, 2012, at the age of 87. ~ Richie Unterberger
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Stations Featuring
Mickey Baker


Albums by
Mickey Baker

Top Songs by
Mickey Baker

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Chloe
  3.   Baby Please Don't Go
  4.   Night and Day
  5.   Milk Train
  6.   Hello World
  7.   Corrina, Corrina
  8.   Lord Have Mercy
  9.   Alabama March
  10.   Zanzie
  11.   Town's East End
  12.   Baia
  13.   Lazy Daisy
  14.   Animal Farm
  15.   Midnight Midnight
  16.   Whoa! Back Buck
  17.   Make Your Bed Up Mama
  18.   Steam Roller
  19.   Lullaby of the Leaves
  20.   Whistle Stop
  21.   Drucilla
  22.   Trouble Is a Woman
  23.   My Black Woman
  24.   Terraplane Blues
  25.   Blues Before Sunrise
  26.   High Sheriff Blues
  27.   Good Advice
  28.   Sweet Home Chicago
  29.   Love in Vain
  30.   Juicy Lucy
  31.   Corrine, Corrina
  32.   St. Louis Blues
  33.   Pop Off
  34.   Ouagadougou
  35.   In a Quiet Town
  36.   Alexander's Funk Time
  37.   New York, New York (The People's Paradise)
  38.   Blues Fell This Morning
  39.   Don't Doubt Me
  40.   Playing with Danger
  41.   Bewildered
  42.   Pour Monique
  43.   Prelude
  44.   Wag Your Tail
  45.   Diggin' My Potatoes
  46.   Belzona Blues
  47.   Blue Jazz Rock
  48.   Sophie
  49.   Third Man Theme
  50.   Stack-O-Lee
  51.   I'll Always Be in Love With You
  52.   Tight Ropes and Bumpy Roads
  53.   Baker's Dozen
  54.   She Brings Out the Animal
  55.   Spoonful
  56.   Gloomy Sunday
  57.   Take a Look Inside
  58.   Sun Is Going Down
  59.   Got the Blues
  60.   Spinnin' Rock Boogie
  61.   Guitar Mambo
  62.   Old Devil Moon
  63.   Autumn Leaves
  64.   Alexa
  65.   My Baby's Gone by Eddie Riff
  66.   Shake Walkin'

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