September 26, 2006


Etta Baker, 93, Blues Guitarist, Dies (AP, 9/26/06)

The American bluesman Taj Mahal, who recorded an album with Ms. Baker in 2004, was among those who found inspiration from her rhythmic finger-picking.

“I came upon that record in the 60’s,” Taj Mahal said. “It didn’t have any pictures so I had no idea who she was until I got to meet her years later. But man, that chord in ‘Railroad Bill,’ that was just the chord. It just cut right through me.”

Ms. Baker was raised in a musical family in western North Carolina. She made her first mark in music in 1956, when she appeared on a compilation album called “Instrumental Music of the Southern Appalachians.” The recording influenced the growing folk revival, especially her versions of “Railroad Bill” and “One-Dime Blues.”

She worked for 26 years at a textile mill in Morganton before quitting at 60 to pursue a career as a musician.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 26, 2006 8:47 AM
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