When You Wore a Tulip
Sonet Productions Ltd SNKF 123
Kicking Mule Record Co. KM 135 (1977)
|01||You Took Advantage Of Me|
|05||Boys From Blue Hill|
|06||Back Home In Indiana|
|07||Rapid Transit Blues|
|08||Two Cats With New Shoes|
|09||Angeline The Baker|
|06||When You Wore A Tulip|
…. After a couple of warm up numbers Stefan introduced Duck Baker. He got halfway through You Took Advantage Of Me before the murmurs of disbelief at his dexterity filtered back through the audience to the back of the cramped hall.
The awestricken heads continued to shake gently as he whisked through numbers by Jelly Roll Morton, Fats WaIler, and Louis Jordan, Switching styles effortlessly. It’s astonishing to think that in the States he once was a carpenter!”
Duck Baker is a true genius of guitar. On our last tour together we travelled throughout Europe and in every concert hall Duck’s music brought the audience to their feet. He has an enormous repertoire that spans from folk music to big band numbers to modern jazz. He can take a simple theme and expand upon its melody until new areas are reached. Likewise he can play an old standard and show a variety of ways how the tune can be presented.
I suppose what I enjoy most about Duck’s playing is that one is always impressed by the music and not the technique involved. Duck’s arsenal of guitar styles and techniques is very impressive but he manages to use these tools to further his music as well as his audiences’ enjoyment of his performance.
This is Duck’s second solo album. His first, There’s Something For Everyone In America (KM 124/SNKF 116) established him as a major contemporary guitarist. This second album is even better. Its full of hot picking and wonderful arrangements. His playing is full of warmth and humor. He can make you laugh with his Two Cats With New Shoes as well as sway your hips with the Plymouth Rock. In each tune Duck presents the theme and then improvises in and around and on top of the melody. It is fantastic listening and something that is amazing to see in concert.
I look forward to put together Duck’s next album as he is full of surprises. He sings. He tells jokes. And he even writes songs. We’re trying to get it all on record but he always seems to be several feet ahead of us.
I’m sure you will enjoy this album and for those guitarists Duck has transcribed quite a few of the tunes. So, happy picking.
About half the tunes on this record are jazz standards, most of which I learned while living in San Francisco, either as duets with another guitarist, Tom Keats, who showed me a lot about jazz chording or from playing in bands led by Robin Hodes or the inimitable Larry Stein. You Took Advantage of Me and Thou Swell are Rogers and Hart tunes.Honeysuckle Rose is one of Fats Waller’s best tunes.
Liza is one of George Gershwin’s classics which I learned from my father-in-law, William Shoup. I’m not sure who wrote Up a Lazy River and Back Home Again In Indiana, but they are both great tunes to play on. When You Wore a Tulip is an old pop tune, probably from the 1890’s. 1 think I’ve known this one since I was a kid, but was inspired to work it up by a Bunk Johnson recording.
The Drunken Wagoner, Angeline The Baker and The Boys Of Blue Hill are fiddle tunes. The Drunken Wagoner is from the Midwest, proof, I guess, that that part of the world is good for something. I learned it from that peerless source of good tunes, Art Rosenbaum. Angeline is a folk version of an obscure Stephen Foster song which I learned from a record by Franklin George. Boys of Blue Hill is an Irish Hornpipe which, contrary to my habit of playing hornpipes like reds and vice versa (hornpipes have a jumpier, dotted eighth-note rhythm), is played like a hornpipe. It’s a popular tune for guitarists; I first heard Dale Miller’s arrangement which he plays in the key of G and Gordon Bok has recorded a lovely version in D.
The other pieces here are originals, all of which, except for Rapid Transit Blues, were composed – if that’s really the right term – between 1967 and 1969. Rapid Transit was worked up in the studio in 1975. Grace Street is a somewhat whimsical picce named after a Richmond, Virginia street which became hip – that is, they moved out the bums and winos, tore down the old buildings and started putting up boutiques and record stores – about ten years ago. You could say that the titling of this piece is ironic in intent. Plymouth Rock is a souvenir of my rock and roll days named, naturally, after my car.
Two Cats With New Shoes is one of a couple of dozen pieces composed jointly with Bill ‘Sunshine’ Draper, who holds a P.H. Dada degree in parapsychological studies from Alfred Jarry Technical Center in Short Pump, Virginia and has written learned tracts on a wide variety of erudite and arcane subjects, such as ‘Whist variations of the Lower Yucatan’ and ‘Speed Reading among Hermaphrodite Crocodiles’ to name the two most famous.
Was and Cousin are modal pieces and the titles are purely personal references about which I could write a thousand words of explanation and they still wouldn’t make sense to anyone else.
A word of thanks is due to Gene Rosenthal of Adelphi Records, who was generous enough with his time and expertise to record me at his studio outside Washington, D.C. last fall.
Recorded at Blue Bear Studios, San Francisco, California and Adelphi Studio, Washington, D.C.
Tab transcribed by Tom Homasson
Sleeve design by Terry Eden
Produced by ED Denson, Duck Baker and Stefan Grossman