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Mickey Baker

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

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