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

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