American Fingerstyle Guitarist

4 classic 1990s Duck Baker records now available

As the CD came into its own in the late 1980s, independent record labels expanded their activities greatly, and that meant that artists like Duck Baker were able to again be frequent visitors to recording studios, as they had been in the 1970s. Between 1992 and 1998, Baker made five of his best solo records. One, Spinning Song, has long been recognized as a classic in the world of fingerstyle jazz, but the other four have gone relatively unnoticed, partly because they were released in Germany, on Peter Finger’s Acoustic Music label. They all focus on Baker’s own compositions, most of which reflect the influence of jazz composers but also the fingerpicking blues and folk traditions in which Baker’s style was rooted.

We are now able to offer these four records for sale, though one of them has sold out as a CD and is only available in digital format. That would be A Thousand Words, recorded in 1992 when Baker and John Renbourn were on tour in Germany, and featuring three tracks by the two together. The following year Baker recorded Opening the Eyes of Love for the Shanachie label (it was picked up by Acoustic Music a few years later, and remained in their catalog). The Clear Blue Sky and Ms. Right followed, in 1995 and ’98. Taken together, these releases highlight the compositional style of Duck Baker, something which has been much praised by people like Renbourn and Leo Kottke. 54 of the 64 tracks are Baker originals, and the remainder are divided between jazz writers like Thelonious Monk and Abdullah Ibrahim, and fellow guitarists like Davy Graham. Here is what Kottke had to say when the these records first appeared:

“A couple of years ago, Duck sat in my house–he was in town to help me record some music for a children’s record–and asked me what I thought of THIS stuff, and he played “A Thousand Words”. Here’s what I think, after that first shock: Duck has discovered a way to write that is purely and originally beautiful. I think he sets a standard for composition that everyone can aspire to, and that he’s recognized his obligation to the composers and musicians before him by learning the best they have to offer. That night at the house Duck played one after another of these tunes–he has tons of them–each distinct from the others and as variously filled-out and complete as snowflakes. Just listen. They’ll tear your heart out. I’m honored to introduce you to the music of Duck Baker.”

All four albums are available as digital downloads, and all but A Thousand Words are available as CD’s. For a limited time, the three CD’s are being offered for the price of two. To purchase any or all of the CD’s please visit the digital store, here: