Monday, March 21, 2011
Mickey Baker - Rock with a Sock - 1994.
This 28-track collection rounds up sessions guitar player Mickey Baker cut as a leader between 1952-1957 for such labels as Savoy, Rainbow, Groove, MGM, and Vik. Baker is best-known for his duets with Sylvia Robinson as Mickey & Sylvia as well as his incredibly prolific and influential session work. As a leader, Baker tried various styles from rock & roll ("I'm Tired") to mambo ("Guitar Mambo") to acoustic blues ("Love Me Baby") to acoustic doo wop ("Oh, Happy Day") to tough blues ("Down to the Bottom," "You Better Heed My Warning") to jump blues ("Rock With a Sock," which features some hot sax by Warren Luckey) to jazz ("Chloe," "Ghost of a Chance"), trying his hand at instrumentals and vocals and always delivering high-energy, high-quality music. There are no lost classics hidden away here, but it is nice to hear Baker get a chance to step out on his own and rock. Baker's guitar playing is almost always energetic and unrestrained and his laconic vocals are a lot of fun. He also shows a more serious side on a date for Vik in 1957. The four tracks (all of which were never issued) are calm jazz ballads that Baker plays gently and with a great deal of finesse and feeling, and they show he could have had a career as a jazz player if he had wanted.
As a bonus, Bear Family adds five previously unreleased Mickey & Sylvia tracks to the end of the set. Four of the tracks are typical smooth and poppy Mickey & Sylvia fare, but "Can't Get You on the Phone" displays a slightly harder musical edge to go with their usual lighthearted lyrics and delivery. It is almost a shame that they included these tracks, as they take some of the focus off of Mickey Baker's solo work, but the tracks are of such a high quality that it doesn't detract from the listening pleasure one bit. Anyone with an interest in discovering the versatility of one of the great craftsmen and founding fathers of rock & roll should check out this CD. You'll soon be singing the praises of Mickey Baker to anyone who will listen.
Password and Link:
mp3 160 kbps - 87 Mb