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Scotti Adams
Jul-04-2011, 8:07am
Kenny turned 85 on June 26th. Monroe called him the greatest Bluegrass Fiddler.


My prayers go out to Kenny.

Cards can be sent to:


Kenny Baker
c/o Sumner Regional Medical Center
555 Hartsville Pike
Gallatin, TN 37066-2400

onassis
Jul-04-2011, 8:38am
IMHO, the best of the best. He and his will be in my prayers.

Marty Henrickson
Jul-04-2011, 9:08am
Prayers for Kenny, a true master.

mandopete
Jul-04-2011, 10:18am
I will be keeping him in my thoughts.

Get well soon Kenny!

Mandolin Mick
Jul-04-2011, 10:21am
I am praying for Kenny ... Godspeed to him ...

OtherBrotherDug
Jul-04-2011, 11:51am
Praying for the one Bill Monroe said was the only man that could play 'Jerusalem Ridge' the way it was meant to be played. God speed brother Baker.

tonyvt
Jul-04-2011, 8:55pm
I met Kenny Baker and Uncle Josh one night at the Station Inn back in the late 90's. Mr. Baker is a true gentleman and my thoughts are with him this evening.

Ivan Kelsall
Jul-05-2011, 1:30am
Truly one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) Bluegrass Fiddle players ever. I wish him a speedy recovery,& hopefully, a return to
good health,
Ivan

Miked
Jul-05-2011, 6:30am
My prayers go out to Kenny.

Jmoss
Jul-05-2011, 8:10am
Praying for the one Bill Monroe said was the only man that could play 'Jerusalem Ridge' the way it was meant to be played. God speed brother Baker.

Yeah, that is interesting. It was that tune that he went out on when he quit the band. Monroe wanted him to play that tune, as I remember from the tape I have of the show, over another tune. Baker wasn't happy about it, but he played it, then walked off the stage.

Jim Moss

mando_dan
Jul-05-2011, 9:10am
That's wretched news. May he have a speedy recovery.

Scotti Adams
Jul-08-2011, 2:26pm
Just got the sad news that Kenny has passed. Stay tuned.

John McGann
Jul-08-2011, 2:30pm
I've been teaching Denver Belle and Indian Killed a Woodcock to most of my students today...RIP to the classiest bluegrass fiddler ever.

Mandolin Mick
Jul-08-2011, 2:46pm
He was truly the master ... :(

Mike Bunting
Jul-08-2011, 3:10pm
Yehudi Menuhin said that Kenny Baker and Ti-Jean Carignan were two of the worlds greatest fiddlers. His beautiful tone and unsurpassed soulfullness will be sorely missed. Hope he and Bill are playing Jerusalem Ridge once again today.

woodwizard
Jul-08-2011, 3:36pm
Sad news indeed. RIP Kenny Baker

Jim Garber
Jul-08-2011, 3:44pm
Sad news, indeed. He was one of my very favorite fiddlers. I am glad to have heard him in person a good handful of times.

Scotti Adams
Jul-08-2011, 3:53pm
Kenny Baker, perhaps the most celebrated fiddler in the history of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, died today at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) in Nashville, after suffering a stroke earlier this week. He was 85 years of age.

Mike Bunting
Jul-08-2011, 4:26pm
Yeah, that is interesting. It was that tune that he went out on when he quit the band. Monroe wanted him to play that tune, as I remember from the tape I have of the show, over another tune. Baker wasn't happy about it, but he played it, then walked off the stage.

Jim Moss
Jim, you must have some wonderful memories of Mr. Baker.

mrmando
Jul-08-2011, 6:05pm
Thanks for a lifetime legacy of wonderful tunes, Mr. Baker. You'll be missed but not forgotten.

Glassweb
Jul-08-2011, 7:11pm
Kenny Baker was born to play the fiddle... can't say enough good things about this humble man and brilliant artist. May you play on high...

eightmoremiles
Jul-08-2011, 7:17pm
Kenny Baker was also a tremendous guitar player, but I will always remember him as the greatest of all bluegrass fiddlers.

sgarrity
Jul-08-2011, 7:57pm
What an amazing talent. I got to see him with Uncle Josh in Guthrie, OK back when I was in college. A true legend who left a wonderful legacy.

Spruce
Jul-08-2011, 9:39pm
OK, San Jose, California, right around 1976...
Some friends and I drove down from Berkeley to catch Bill and the Boys at a fairly large-sized hall...

The venue had hired a sound company that was obviously used to doing large rock concerts--the system was huge and not at all appropriate for a bluegrass band...
With longhairs manning the board... ;)

The first song was a total mess...
Loud, unbalanced, and just an ugly scene...

The band then vamped while Butch Robbins did a soundcheck for each instrument, while Bill imperiously chopped acting like nothing was goin' down...

They then launched into Kentucky Mandolin, and--to all of our amazement--it sounded glorious...
Still loud, yet balanced and incredibly punchy...

Kenny launched into his solo, and it remains the most amazing moment of anything I've witnessed on stage...
And not just bluegrass.
I've seen Zeppelin early in their career, Duke Ellington rip at Monterey, and Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar trade licks, and that evening of Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys on a cranking hot system remains one of my all-time most jaw-dropping and powerful moments ever...

RIP Kenny...
You smoked it....

Peter LaMorte
Jul-09-2011, 12:08am
that evening of Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys on a cranking hot system remains one of my all-time most jaw-dropping and powerful moments ever...
:grin::grin::grin:

RIP.... Kenny

Fretbear
Jul-09-2011, 12:09am
The Master Fiddler. God bless him, he will never be forgotten.
While not a member of the seminal 1946 "Original Bluegrass Band", his contributions and importance to the genre made him one of the longest-serving and most important members of The Bluegrass Boys.

"Bluegrass fiddler Kenny Baker was born on June 26, 1926, in Jenkins, KY. Both his father and grandfather were fiddlers, and by eight years old, Kenny himself had picked up the instrument.
By 1957, Baker was playing bluegrass full-time as a member of Bill Monroe's band, the Bluegrass Boys."

"Let her rip, son......"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz4Oh-LPjwU&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBbOqrJxVLQ&NR=1

Mike Bunting
Jul-09-2011, 12:30am
In Calgary, 1977, Kenny kicked off Muleskinner Blues with a note on the fiddle that made the hair on the back my neck stand up, just one note played in the perfect place and time and tone and I'll always remember it. The whole song was in one note!

Mike Bunting
Jul-09-2011, 12:34am
And I'll repost this picture from Montreal around '76 I believe.
74166

Ivan Kelsall
Jul-09-2011, 12:37am
Very,very sad news indeed. Kenny Baker was one of my 2 all time favourite Bluegrass Fiddle players. As long as Bluegrass music is around,his name will be remembered - RIP Kenny,
Ivan

f5loar
Jul-09-2011, 1:44am
This is really sad to hear. Kenny was booked to perform at Monroe's 100th BD Party in Owensboro in a few months. He was the man when it came to all things Monroe.

mrmando
Jul-09-2011, 3:17am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVAnjBuREro

almeriastrings
Jul-09-2011, 3:39am
A legend passes - but he left his mark and as long as there is Bluegrass, Kenny will always be a huge part of it.

Bogle
Jul-09-2011, 8:41am
I had the honor of seeing and hearing Kenny play many times through the years.....he knew me as me "one of those trouble-makin' boys from California". His tone, taste, and style, to me, were unmatched; not to mention his sense of humor! Give a listen to "Bluegrass in the Backwoods" from his "Frost on the Pumpkin" album/cd.....truly a superb example of his musical thought process and prowess. Words can never describe this loss.

AlanN
Jul-09-2011, 9:08am
RIP, Kenny Baker.

I first saw him in mid-70's in Monroe band at the Old Tucson BG festival. I sat at the foot of stage, tape recorder in hand. He just smiled at the long-haired kid down front.

I used to listen to a Saturday morning radio show, the DJ would open each week with the same tune off Farmyard Swing, had Bobby O. on mandolin. So many of today's fiddlers cite Kenny - Aubrey Haynie, Mark O'Connor, Ray Legere - all know of his greatness. Today, I'll pick Johnny The Blacksmith.

mandolino maximus
Jul-09-2011, 10:46am
Maybe this should be a reminder that we won't get many more chances to see these great musicians.

http://www.bluegrass-museum.org/general/home.php

John McGann
Jul-09-2011, 1:19pm
“Ornery and irascible, cheerful and charming, demanding musically yet frequently found jamming all night with sleepy, mediocre musicians, stubborn and bullheaded, witty and warm, Kenny Baker, like bluegrass music itself, is complex, contradictory and deep,” wrote music scholar (and western band Riders in the Sky leader) Douglas Green in the liner notes to Mr. Baker’s 1976 album, Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe.

allenhopkins
Jul-09-2011, 1:26pm
Not to be forgotten is Baker's guitar skill as well; the duet albums he did with "Josh" Graves were excellent.

Samples from The Puritan Sessions. (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_srch_drd_B001BVXW0C?ie=UTF8&search-type=ss&index=digital-music&field-keywords=Josh%20Graves%2C%20Kenny%20Baker)

Mandolin Mick
Jul-09-2011, 3:05pm
When I first got into Bluegrass, I bought Bill Monroe's Uncle Pen LP in the cutout bin ...
was totally blown away by Baker's Fiddling. :disbelief: I wish they'd release this on CD.

Marty Henrickson
Jul-09-2011, 3:22pm
RIP Kenny Baker. A truly inspirational fiddle master. I can imagine the jam session going on up there now.

doc holiday
Jul-09-2011, 4:25pm
Kenny Baker was the quintessential Bluegrass Fiddler....RIP

Pete Martin
Jul-09-2011, 5:44pm
I've been listening to Portrait of a Bluegrass Fiddler ALL day today. Am very sad at this news. He was the best.

Maybe we can get County Records to re issue all those records, not just a few. I'm going to email and ask them. Anybody else that wants to, the address is

info@countysales.com

mandolirius
Jul-09-2011, 6:05pm
I've been listening to Portrait of a Bluegrass Fiddler ALL day today. Am very sad at this news. He was the best.

Maybe we can get County Records to re issue all those records, not just a few. I'm going to email and ask them. Anybody else that wants to, the address is

info@countysales.com

Great idea, Pete. I'd love to see a comprehensive box set of Kenny Baker. I'd buy that!

bones12
Jul-09-2011, 8:12pm
His long life has left us with so very much. His awe- inspiring elegant playing always seems to be so effortless but it really always raised the hair on my neck. His genius was the template for all great fiddling, his life filled every tune he played. RIP Mr Baker. Doug in Vermont

Michael Pilgrim
Jul-09-2011, 10:11pm
I had the honor of seeing Mr. Baker live twice in the 70s, both times with Mr. Monroe. To this day I have never seen a more perfect bowing arm.

I wore the grooves off Dry & Dusty and Portrait Of A Bluegrass Fiddler.

Here's a very nice version of Jerusalem Ridge:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzoLAwZ-gs

Thanks for everything, Mr. Baker.

Jim Garber
Jul-10-2011, 10:18am
Great to see him play Jerusalem Ridge with Bill on mandolin from 1985 Aly Bain tv show. For some reason, Youtube does not allow it to embed here, so click on the link to go to Youtube.

doc holiday
Jul-10-2011, 11:42am
I've had my Kenny Baker CDs stacked up here the last couple of days. Just listening to "Spider Bit The Baby," w/ 3 great fiddlers on it. Kenny Baker on the solos, the twin fiddles with Blaine Sprouse, Aubrey Haynie on mandolin. "Ashland Breakdown" just makes the hair on my neck stand up...

Scotti Adams
Jul-11-2011, 5:00am
Viewing will be at Burdine Freewill Baptist Church, 11549 HWY 805, Burdine, Kentucky 41517, on Monday (7/11) from 5:00 ‘til 8:00 p.m.

The funeral will take place at the church at 2pm. on Tuesday (7/12).

Flowers should be sent to the Church at the address above.

AlanN
Jul-11-2011, 6:56am
A question for the crowd:

I read somewhere he started with Monroe in 1957, then left in 1984. Who replaced him? I know Tater Tate, Jimmy Campbell fiddled in the band. Anybody else? I imagine Bill always longed for that Kenny Baker sound after he was gone.

Been messing with Grassy Fiddle Blues, Twinkle Little Star, Bluegrass In The Backwoods and a cool little number The Other Side Of Baker, from Sam Bush.

Kenny left a legacy.

Russ Jordan
Jul-11-2011, 8:19am
I think Robert Bowlin played fiddle for Monroe in some of the post-Baker years.

The Southern Flavor cd (1988) used Mike Fagan, Bobby Hicks and Buddy Spicher on fiddles, which makes me think Mike Fagan must have played in the band for a while.

Did Glen Duncan fill in some too?

farmerjones
Jul-11-2011, 8:42am
This is a hell of thing to wake up to. Poor Kenny, his suffering is over. I'm selfishly dissapointed, i won't get to meet him or hear him play live. Y'all that did are lucky. Along with some local mentors, Kenny Baker and John Hartford, have been my most influential chararcters.

Alan,
Kenny played with "The Old Man" a couple times. As did many.
This cat has made a pretty formidable websight dedicated to Bluegrass Boys and when they played.
http://doodah.net/bgb/index.html
http://doodah.net/bgb/KennyBaker.html

grassrootphilosopher
Jul-11-2011, 8:58am
A question for the crowd:

I read somewhere he started with Monroe in 1957, then left in 1984. Who replaced him? I know Tater Tate, Jimmy Campbell fiddled in the band. Anybody else? I imagine Bill always longed for that Kenny Baker sound after he was gone.

Been messing with Grassy Fiddle Blues, Twinkle Little Star, Bluegrass In The Backwoods and a cool little number The Other Side Of Baker, from Sam Bush.

Kenny left a legacy.

Kenny Baker had two tenures with the Blue Grass Boys. One was a couple of years in the fifties. Fiddlers who followed were Richard Greene for example. Then came the long stretch in the late 60ies (?) until the early/mid 80ies when he left. One of the fiddlers that followed was Glen Duncan. Jimmy Campbel who followed Tater Tate on fiddle was in the 90ies (and died in a trailer fire).

Rest in peace Kenny Baker

doc holiday
Jul-11-2011, 9:10am
Fiddlers that followed Kenny Baker:

Baker, Kenny 1957-1958
Meadows, Joe 1957
Smith, Charlie 1958-1960
Taylor, Merle "Red" 1958
Hicks, Bobby 9/1958-1959
Martin, Benny 1959
Potter, Dale 1959-1960
Baker, Billy 1961
Clements, Vassar 1961-1962
Lester, Bobby Joe 1961
Spicher, Buddy 1961
Baker, Kenny 1962-6/1963
Pendleton, Buddy 1962
Stanley, Harold "Red" 1962
Williams, Benny 1962
Baker, Billy 6/1963-8/1963
Stuart, Joe 8/1963-11/1963
Baker, Billy 12/1963-2/1964
Spicher, Buddy 1964-1965
Williams, Benny 1964-1965
Lowinger, Gene 6/5/1965-2/1966
Greene, Richard 2/1966-3/5/1967
Clements, Vassar 1967
Berline, Byron 3/1967-9/1967
Williams, Benny 9/1967-1967
Baker, Kenny 3/23/1968-7/1977
Stuart, Joe 6/1970-9/1970
Stuart, Joe 6/1971-8/1971
Spicher, Buddy 1977
Baker, Kenny 9/1977-10/12/1984
Stamper, Art 1984
Franks, Randall "Randy" 10/30/1984-11/23/1984
Duncan, Glen 1985-1986
Morris, Dale 1/1985-1985
Tate, Clarence "Tater" 1986
Squires, Mark 9/1986-11/1986
Foster, Billy Joe 12/1986-1988
Feagan, Mike 1987-1988
Spicher, Buddy 1987-1988
Tate, Clarence "Tater" 1988-1990
Jerrolds, Wayne 12/1988-3/1989
Campbell, Jimmy 1990-1993
Bowlin, Robert 1/1993-1996

AlanN
Jul-11-2011, 9:41am
Omg! Shoulda known, thanks

Scotti Adams
Jul-11-2011, 12:36pm
BAKER, Kenneth "Kenny" Age 85 of Cottontown, TN. Died Friday, July 8, 2011. He was born to the late Thaddeus and Myrtle Baker on June 26, 1926 in Burdine, KY. He attended school in Burdine, but left early to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He married Audrey Sizemore in 1946. They resided together in Jenkins, KY until 1968. Kenny began his musical career by touring with the USO in the South Pacific. He later played with several small groups, then spent some time with Don Gibson. He went on to play for Bill Monroe longer than any other Bluegrass Boy. After his time with Bill Monroe, he toured many years with Josh Graves. Kenny was known for his smooth "long-bow" style and was considered one of the most influential fiddlers in Bluegrass music. He received the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment For The Arts in 1993 and was named to the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1999. Kenny was proudest of the many original "numbers" he recorded and the friendship given him from his fellow musicians and the way other fiddlers admired and followed his style. Kenny is survived by Audrey; two sons, Kenneth Jr. (Holly) and Johnny Lee (Debbie) Baker; brother, Tom (Betty); sisters, Gloria and Margaret; four grandchildren, Allisa Feazel, Kenny Bill, Jesse and Brian Baker; plus many great grandchildren. He is also survived by Joan Shagan of Cottontown. Services will be held 2 p.m., Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at the Burdine Freewill Baptist Church in Burdine, KY. Visitation will be Monday from 6-9 p.m. at the church. The family would like to acknowledge three special people that helped them through this difficult time. Thank you to Raymond Huffmaster, Ron Eldridge and Michelle Putnam. Arrangements by CARTY, POLLY & CRAFT FUNERAL HOME, (606) 832-2191

Pete Martin
Jul-12-2011, 1:16pm
Has anyone found an accurate, complete Baker discography? I've been looking on the web for the past few days, but haven't found a complete one, just ones of stuff currently in print.

Pete Martin
Jul-12-2011, 1:19pm
Got this from Dave Freeman of County Records:

Dear Mr. Martin:

Thank you for the suggestion--we agree that there should be a complete Kenny Baker CD set (maybe box set?) Very likely that we will start working on that in the near future. Thanks again for your comments. Sincerely, Dave Freeman

If folks would email him or County Sales (www.countysales.com) maybe we could get this going sooner??

Pete Martin
Jul-12-2011, 1:26pm
Doc, thanks for the list, very cool to see. Interesting how some names, like Buddy Spicher and Vassar reappear every once in a while. Also how some younger players very much had a strong Baker influence (Bowlin, Jimmy Campbell) while others had very little.

mandolirius
Jul-12-2011, 2:03pm
Got this from Dave Freeman of County Records:

Dear Mr. Martin:

Thank you for the suggestion--we agree that there should be a complete Kenny Baker CD set (maybe box set?) Very likely that we will start working on that in the near future. Thanks again for your comments. Sincerely, Dave Freeman

If folks would email him or County Sales (www.countysales.com) maybe we could get this going sooner??

Man, how often do you get that kind of response from a company? I'll send an email and add my voice.

Fretbear
Jul-12-2011, 9:38pm
Isn't it telling of the times we live in, how such an important titan of American vernacular music like this passes on and doesn't even get a mention in the main news, which is full of so much other irrelevant drivel?

mrmando
Jul-12-2011, 10:08pm
Yeah, I checked the websites for both the Nashville Tennessean and the Lousville Courier-Journal. Not a whisper on either one, at least not on Friday. In addition to their local obits, they both appear to subscribe to the same syndication service for national obits. Betty Ford, of course, was the top syndicated obit for that date. But Cuban guitarist Manuel Galban (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/09/arts/music/manuel-galban-cuban-guitarist-dies-at-80.html), who died on the same day, also got a syndicated obit, while Kenny just didn't make the cut. I don't know everything, but I'd bet Baker was as important to bluegrass as Galban was to Cuban music.

There is now a brief Baker obit (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/tennessean/obituary.aspx?n=kenneth-baker-kenny&pid=152494074) on the Tennessean and Courier-Journal websites. It didn't run in either paper until yesterday. Doesn't seem to be more of a writeup than your average Joe Schmo would get.

Variety has published a decent obit (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118039696?refCatId=16):


Bluegrass great Kenny Baker dies
Fiddler was a mainstay in Bill Monroe's genre-defining band
By Christopher Morris

The influential bluegrass fiddler Kenny Baker, a mainstay of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys for 23 years, died July 8 in Gallatin, Tenn., after suffering a stroke. He was 85.

No musician enjoyed a longer tenure in Monroe's groundbreaking bluegrass ensemble. Baker debuted behind the vocalist-mandolinist in December 1957, and did four tours of duty with the Blue Grass Boys.

As Monroe's biographer Richard D. Smith wrote, "Baker had considerable western swing influences, but it was his knowledge of old-time fiddling and his advancement of it to a near-classical form that enraptured Monroe." The bandleader invariably introduced Baker onstage as "the greatest fiddler in bluegrass music."

Born near Jenkins, Kentucky, Baker was the son of an old-time fiddler, but he counted swing musicians Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller and hot jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli among his influences. He played semi-professionally in eastern Kentucky during the '40s, but made his living primarily as a coal miner and farmer. He joined Monroe's unit after breaking in with country singer Don Gibson on Knoxville radio station WNOX.

The dour Baker brought great virtuosity and a smooth, jazzy sensibility to Monroe's music. He was featured prominently on the bandleader's dream project, an album of fiddle tunes played by Monroe's uncle Pendleton Vandiver; recorded over a three-year period and released in 1972, "Bill Monroe's Uncle Pen" is considered a classic of the genre and one of Monroe's finest works.

Baker - who chafed at the low wages paid by Monroe and left the Blue Grass Boys three times to return to mining - exited the group abruptly, after 16 consecutive years in the band, when he walked offstage in the middle of a concert in Jemison, Ala., in 1984. The two musicians reconciled in 1994, when Baker appeared at Monroe's Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival. (Monroe died in 1996.)

Already established as a leader via a series of albums for David Freeman's County Records, Baker soon began a decade-long partnership with dobro player Uncle Josh Graves in 1984.

He received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1993, and was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 1999. In the new millennium, he recorded for the OMS label.

mandolirius
Jul-12-2011, 10:18pm
<I don't know everything, but I'd bet Baker was as important to bluegrass as Galban was to Cuban music.>

Without qestion he was just as important, if not more so. I guess the lack of recognition shows that Cuban music is bigger than Bluegrass in North America.

mrmando
Jul-12-2011, 10:44pm
I'm not sure that's true about Cuban music ... it's just that Sr. Galban was associated with the Buena Vista Social Club, which did a project with Ry Cooder and was the subject of an award-winning film a few years back.

Speaking of film, has anyone heard anything about progress on the Bill Monroe biopic? Hypothetically, let's suppose Kenny had lived a bit longer, and that the film spends a few minutes on his relationship with Monroe, and the film is well received and wins an Oscar or something. Would that be enough to raise Kenny's "cred" so that his death would get as much notice as that of a musician from another country?

Fretbear
Jul-12-2011, 11:01pm
It really does say something about how real musical talent is valued. I was talking to my brother one time, years ago, and we were both huge fans of some of the recordings of The Stanley Brothers and Keith Whitley. I said to him, even if we could pick and sing like that, right now, no one would care to listen to it or even hire us for a gig, as it is just too hard-core and in your face, and yet there is this great pride and emphasis placed on "edginess" in music.

mrmando
Jul-12-2011, 11:12pm
Yeah, but thanks to O Brother Where Ya At, Ralph Stanley will get a nice big obituary in the Tennessean and the New York Times when it's his turn to go. (I love me some Dr. Ralph, and I hope he is with us for a few more years at least.) I would not say he is more talented than Baker, but somehow having his voice dubbed into a movie (over the image of a Klansman[!]) makes people think he is worthy of more notice.

AlanN
Jul-13-2011, 6:39am
Niles (I think) interviewed KB in one of the old rags and included a transcription of the Baker tune Sushi, in A chord. Does anyone know if Kenny ever recorded that number and on what alum. Thanks.

farmerjones
Jul-13-2011, 7:23am
Alan,
i know Sushi is on his instructional video. Can't recall the key.

AlanN
Jul-13-2011, 7:40am
Thanks farmer. Is this video still available, do you know?

mandolirius
Jul-14-2011, 3:48am
I'm not sure that's true about Cuban music ... it's just that Sr. Galban was associated with the Buena Vista Social Club, which did a project with Ry Cooder and was the subject of an award-winning film a few years back.

Which also did several world tours, played to sell-out crowds etc, etc. I think the kind of crowds that went out to see BVSC would be a fair bit larger than a show by a top bluegrass band. Perhaps someone like Alison Krauss could draw similar numbers, but then comes the question of whether Union Station is even a bluegrass band anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love bluegrass and also saw BVSC and thought it was a great show. I'm just commenting on what seems more popular. But that's just from my perspective way out here on the Canadian west coast. Maybe it would be different if I lived in the American southeast.

mrmando
Jul-14-2011, 5:15am
Maybe it would be different if I lived in the American southeast.
There are lots of Cuban immigrants in the American southeast, so it wouldn't necessarily be different. Sort of getting off topic here, but those BVSC tours and sold-out shows wouldn't have been possible without the film, methinks. Interest in BVSC was ginned up by the film, and I think that accounts for the fact that Sr. Galban gets an obit in the NYT. (I could be wrong, of course.) I recall that there was a series or two of "Down from the Mountain" concerts that drew pretty well in the months following O Brother. Not everyone who went to those concerts was a dyed-in-the-wool bluegrass fan; again, interest was ginned up by the film. But anyhow, Kenny Baker wasn't involved with the film or with those shows. John Hartford, who was involved and died the following year, got the NYT obit (http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/06/arts/john-hartford-composer-of-country-hits-dies-at-63.html).

Raymond E.
Jul-14-2011, 5:58pm
I've heard Kenny play Mandolin several times. Just as good as he was on the fiddle..a style of his own.I miss him a bunch....Here he's playing my Randy Wood......Loafer

Jmoss
Jul-14-2011, 6:25pm
Kenny used to play electric mandolin, tenor to the electric guitar, in his country band days. I think that was what Bob Wills had in his band too. Baker told me that he had an offer to go with Wills at one point, but that he didn't take it. I wonder how much his backup on fiddle was influenced by his work with the electric mandolin?

Jim Moss

Jmoss
Jul-15-2011, 5:10am
Here is a great collection of photos. Doc Hamilton has posted many
photos to his gallery page and invites folks to have a look and remember
the good times.

See if you can identify the people in the photos.

http://gallery.me.com/docham#100827&view=grid&bgcolor=black&sel=34

Jim Moss

Marty Henrickson
Jul-15-2011, 9:28am
Thanks for sharing the photo and memory, Mr. Huffmaster.

re simmers
Jul-15-2011, 10:12am
There's been mention of Kenny in his country days. Are there any recordings of him playing country? I know he played with Don Gibson, but what recordings?

Thanks
Bob

Scotti Adams
Jul-24-2011, 9:24am
Touching to say the least

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vg1WhC4KBoY&feature=share

Mr. Huffmaster...I know you frequent these pages. Thanks so much for this.

Mike Bunting
Jul-24-2011, 12:34pm
Thank you, Raymond E.

Raymond E.
Jul-24-2011, 1:38pm
Evenin'....I didn't know this was going to be put on Facebook...It was filmed for the IBMM,i think. For the hundreds of tunes I played with Kenny..I was never nervous,was fun...but speaking about him and playing FOR him....was a whole different experience. I thank you all for the kind words but I just had to say something before we played for Kenny. I thank Mike Fagan for playing with me...we played "Pass Me Not" then at the end a happy tune,,,"Sweet Bunch Of Daisies"...hard to get through it...Kenny was my friend for 40 years and I love him...gonna really miss him...Raymond E.

doc holiday
Jul-24-2011, 2:33pm
Raymond, Thank you on behalf of all of us who loved Kenny Baker through his music, and who would have come to pay our last respects to him if the world were not so wide. Denver Belle is one of my very favorite tunes & I learned it from a Kenny Baker. recording.

Marty Henrickson
Jul-25-2011, 9:10am
Raymond, Thank you on behalf of all of us who loved Kenny Baker through his music, and who would have come to pay our last respects to him if the world were not so wide.
Very well said, Doc. My thoughts exactly.


Evenin'....I didn't know this was going to be put on Facebook...It was filmed for the IBMM,i think. For the hundreds of tunes I played with Kenny..I was never nervous,was fun...but speaking about him and playing FOR him....was a whole different experience. I thank you all for the kind words but I just had to say something before we played for Kenny. I thank Mike Fagan for playing with me...we played "Pass Me Not" then at the end a happy tune,,,"Sweet Bunch Of Daisies"...hard to get through it...Kenny was my friend for 40 years and I love him...gonna really miss him...Raymond E.
Mr. Huffmaster, I think that prayer was right to the point. As much as all of his fans and admirers are going to miss Kenny, I know it's that much more difficult for his friends and family - I'm sorry for your loss.



Touching to say the least

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vg1Wh...&feature=share

Mr. Huffmaster...I know you frequent these pages. Thanks so much for this.
Thanks for sharing the link, Scotti. "Wayfaring Stranger" is probably my all-time favorite song, and I really enjoyed Kenny's take on the melody included in that archival footage. I'm taking the liberty of embedding the video.

Scotti Adams
Jul-27-2011, 4:46pm
....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0rpsN5SemI&feature=player_embedded

Dagger Gordon
Jul-27-2011, 4:55pm
Frost On The Pumpkin was one of my favourite albums for quite a long time. I used to put on that record every day when I came in from work. Some good Sam Bush mandolin on it too, I seem to remember.

A truly great musician. RIP

Pete Martin
Jul-29-2011, 12:09pm
Frost On The Pumpkin was one of my favourite albums for quite a long time. I used to put on that record every day when I came in from work. Some good Sam Bush mandolin on it too, I seem to remember.

Great Sam playing on that record. Here is one of his solos from that album, Make a Little Boat.

Jmoss
Jul-31-2011, 5:13am
Frost On The Pumpkin was one of my favourite albums for quite a long time. I used to put on that record every day when I came in from work. Some good Sam Bush mandolin on it too, I seem to remember.

A truly great musician. RIP


I agree with you on Frost. Frost is my favorite album too. It was the starting point for my recording sound (for Bluegrass albums) after my experience making the Tanyards album and I am still working on the sound. I heard Baker play all those tunes on the Frost album in person and they didn't sound like that album. Of course, the performances were all great on that album, but there is more than that. The Frost album is a Baker album on steroids. I always thought of it as sounding like the fiddle sounds under your chin. Baker and I would talk about that album a lot. He liked that album as well as his other albums. He just didn't like Baker's Dozen much. He liked the tunes on Dozen, but was not wild about the tracks. I remember... he was teaching me "High Dad in the Morning", from Portrait, in his kitchen when we got to talking about Dozen. He said that the tracks all started out at one speed and ended at another faster speed.

After it came out, he knew the Frost album was different from all of the others, but he didn't really involve himself in the mixing process. He would say, "I leave that to the experts". When we were recording Tanyards I asked something of the engineer and Baker said to me, "Don't try to tell that man his business, he will get mad at you!" It is funny looking back.

I did a lot of research on the actual recording of Frost, from the audio chain to the room and proximity to mic that was used on that recording and how it was used. I ran down many details in the recording and mixing process. I acquired all the parts of the audio chain in the process.

After that I felt that I had to go off on my own to create a finer tuned version of that sound. The roots of the sound on my later projects is based on the recording of Frost, from the mic'ing to the final mix. That is how impressed I was with Frost. After working up a rough mix I would play it and then play a cut off of AC/DC's "Back in Black" to see that it would hold up. The Frost album held up in this test so then my mix should too. If it didn't then I would create a new mix. I generally would work up a mix in 11 hours for a tune. A lot of this time is used creating environments for each instrument and avoiding audio masking effects. So that would be typically 3 mixes at 11 hours each to get "the sound" and in a way that was similar to the other mixes on the album. I don't have to pay for studio time so it didn't cost me other than my time.

For Baker, that sound of Frost was a fluke. Other records like Farmyard Swing had great tracks to work from too, but the album mix had the sound of the work of an rank amateur. Kenny gave me his rough mix cassette for Farmyard and it sounds huge. It was so much better than the actual album, which Kenny later gave me to compare with. We are talking about the take home cassette study tape know as a reference tape, not a finished recording. It sounds better then the album mix. Man that says something. If you wanted to make Baker mad start talking about Farmyard. He told me about there an instrumental break on the album that just showed up on the LP when it came out. This was not the original break that they had recorded, but a new one that Baker said he found about when the LP came out. Baker wouldn't stop talking about that, I mean to the point that he would turn red in the face. He was pretty upset about Farmyard.

If you listen to Farmyard the fiddle suffers from serous masking issues which make the fiddle harder to hear within the mix at times. I talked to Kenny a lot about Farmyard and he was really pissed at the guy who did the mixed for what he did on that album. I am just telling you what Baker told me. I was there at the studio one night with Baker for some reason, when he noticed Farmyard was being worked on and... well. I won't inject my own impression of what I saw into this post. This is about Baker and his opinions as expressed to me about his own albums Frost and Farmyard as a comparison as far as he expressed it to me.

In later years I offered to remix that album for County as a favor to Baker, but they said that there wasn't enough money to reissue the album. I talked to David Freeman's son on that. I told him that Farmyard could be mixed to sound like Frost, but you would need to know what you are doing. We might even find the so called "Lost Instrumental Track" which would make the album complete.

When I first started reverse engineering Frost I would look for engineers here in the Bay Area, I continually ran into engineers who would say to me, "Don't worry I can match this recording OR BETTER". I would tell them "I don't want better". I did this to evaluate the ear and talents of engineers that I wanted to work with. Each time these, very talented, engineer/producers came back to me with a mix that sounded like a Windham Hill Record... (You remember them, right?) that is until I met a great producer engineer from Germany who I would work with who actually listened to what I was asking for. From there on out he worked with me until I started doing all my own mixing work. I decided it was critically important to locate the people who were involved in recording and mixing Frost. The Engineers I was running into seemed to be totally opposed to the Frost sound, but I wasn't. The sound is in fact coarse, but hits the spot.

Jim Moss

Jmoss
Aug-02-2011, 2:59am
I have been thinking, sometimes a musician is his own worst critic. Baker's Dozen is the album with Johnny The Blacksmith, Ragtime Annie, Doc Harris the Fisherman, Sail Away Ladies, Cross Eyed Fiddler, Denver Bell, Shelby Rock, and a bunch of other great tunes on it. With Kenny Baker, Butch Robbins and Sam Bush, and all these great tunes, Baker's Dozen is a CLASSIC. I mean, I never noticed anything but the great music on this album. Baker's albums really stand the test of time. Listening to Baker at a midnight jam playing through all of these tunes maybe with Bob Black on the banjo, as a lot of us have done, was an experience that was beyond words.

Jim Moss

John McGann
Aug-02-2011, 6:17am
Thanks Jim, great food for thought. I think the production on "KB Plays Bill Monroe" is quite good as well. "Frost" does have something special sonically; all those albums are the benchmark of excellence in Bluegrass music.

BradKlein
Aug-02-2011, 2:36pm
The New York Times finally ran a featured obit today.

Kenny Baker Obit (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/02/arts/music/kenny-baker-bluegrass-fiddler-dies-at-85.html?_r=1&src=twr)

mrmando
Aug-02-2011, 4:47pm
Perhaps the NYT had to clear the decks of other dead musicians before they noticed Kenny.

Marty Henrickson
Aug-02-2011, 6:30pm
Thanks for the link on the NYT obit. Here's a great photo that was included:

Mike Bunting
Aug-02-2011, 10:59pm
Once again, one of my favorite photos of Mr. Baker.

Cornelius Morris
Aug-05-2011, 11:29am
Two questions for Jim Moss (and anyone else who knows).

1. Would you talk a bit about Kenny Baker's fiddles? Favorite? Did he have many? Interesting info?

2. From Baker's side (since you spent so much time with him), after the famous onstage split with Monroe, did things cool down after that? Were they friends after that, up until Monroe's death?

Thanks,
Cornelius

allenhopkins
Aug-05-2011, 1:48pm
...From Baker's side (since you spent so much time with him), after the famous onstage split with Monroe, did things cool down after that? Were they friends after that, up until Monroe's death?

From Richard Smith's account in Can't You Hear Me Callin':The Life of Bill Monroe (p. 278), Monroe contacted Baker in 1995, invited him to the Monroe farm for a day, and then brought him onstage at Bean Blossom to guest with the Blue Grass Boys. No mention of Baker's participation in Monroe's memorial services, however.

Spruce
Aug-05-2011, 3:18pm
I did a lot of research on the actual recording of Frost, from the audio chain to the room and proximity to mic that was used on that recording and how it was used. I ran down many details in the recording and mixing process. I acquired all the parts of the audio chain in the process.

Can you elaborate a tad??
Anything out of the ordinary in that signal chain??
I've always loved the sound of that recording as well, do a lot of recording of fiddles, and am really curious....
Thanks...!

Cornelius Morris
Aug-05-2011, 5:38pm
Allen,
Thanks for the reference. I only had to turn around and pull the book off the shelf. Don't know why I forgot about it.

For those who don't know the circumstances, I thought that I'd quote from Smith's text.

Baker quits (Smith, p. 252):

In the autumn [of 1984], just as the band was leaving for a prolonged tour, Kenny's brother was hospitalized. Baker desperately wanted a tour schedule so that his family could find him if the situation worsened. Had he approached Bill's secretary or Tony Conway, he certainly would have gotten one. Instead, he did what he had done for years. He asked Bill. And Bill did what he had done for years about providing schedules to his musicians. Nothing.

Now with his brother seriously ill, Baker's frustration was boiling into real anger. Finally, at a show on October 12, in Jemison, Alabama, an audience member kept calling for "Jerusalem Ridge." This musical impression of foxhunting in Bill's childhood was proving one of his most popular new instrumentals. But the fan was loud and had obviously been drinking. Bill apparently didn't realize this or was delighted by a hearty request for one of his favorite tunes.

"Kenny, get that 'Jerusalem Ridge,'" Monroe instructed.

"Get it yourself, old man," he retorted, then walked off the stage. Kenny Baker never again played as a member of the Blue Grass Boys. Monroe was stunned. Once more, his great fear of desertion by a loved one had been made terribly real. And once more, Bill had brought it on himself."

Baker and Monroe reconcile (Smith, p. 278):


As the years weighed on Bill, he mended fences with Charlie Louvin and other he had had breaks with, just as he had made up with Lester and Earl. Now his thoughts were of Kenny Baker. Bill missed his favorite fiddler but was still angered by his departure. Julia LaBella tried to get him to appreciate Baker's side of things.

"Well, it shouldn't have happened like that," Bill said. "It hurt me. We were together so long, it just shouldn't have happened like that."

But Bill wanted to make things right. As was now his practice, he reached out to Baker through intermediaries, making contact but insulating himself against rejection. He ended up shyly calling Baker, and a visit to the farm was arranged.

A reunion took place in Bill's barn, in a little workshop area where Bill puttered and repaired things. They sat and talked about the finer points of raising chickens and about old times.

That June [1995?], at Bean Blossom, it was Vic Gabany's turn to play emissary. He sounded out Kenny about guesting with the Blue Grass Boys. "If that's what the old man wants," Baker replied, "that's what I want."

Monroe casually commented about "an old man backstage that plays the fiddle," and then Baker--like Lester Flatt fourteen years earlier--appeared to an emotional audience response.

"Kenny, it's good to have you out here," Monroe said.

"Bill, I've been waiting for this since 1985," said Baker.

And they again made music together."


Allen, because of you, I've been re-reading Smith's book most of the afternoon. Thanks.

Cornelius

Jmoss
Aug-06-2011, 5:32am
Two questions for Jim Moss (and anyone else who knows).

1. Would you talk a bit about Kenny Baker's fiddles? Favorite? Did he have many? Interesting info?

2. From Baker's side (since you spent so much time with him), after the famous onstage split with Monroe, did things cool down after that? Were they friends after that, up until Monroe's death?

Thanks,
Cornelius

1) I only played Blackie. Blackie was the fiddle he had out when I was around him. I don't remember any other fiddles he brought out at the farm or elsewhere. It was always Blackie.

If you look at the link below Baker has another fiddle which is not Blackie.
http://www.mossware.com/Baker1.html
This was not his fiddle. This fiddle he borrowed for some reason. Baker played a few shows with my fiddles. My first one which we didn't like so well. Later when I got my current fiddle which very similar to his, he played that at a few shows for me too. Baker felt that this fiddle was the same maker as his. (I paid enough for it.) When he played that one on the stage Baker could make it sound just like Blackie. Both Blackie and my fiddle have very dry tone... dry just like Frank Wakefield's mandolin. A topic for another time. Blackie had a slightly heavier low end. To me it sounds like a low frequency rumble, at times, when played into a mic. Blackie sounds great, but it seemed to me that this low end while it could work for him, could also be something that he would have to control too. I didn't find that fiddle all that easy to play at first. It took getting used to... for me at least. It could have been his bow too, I am not sure. He never wanted me to use another bow, like my bow, on it as it would "mix rosins". He didn't want to mix rosins EVER! I had taken a lot of measurements of his bridge to string relationship and set my fiddle up like that early on in the mid 1970s. So it might have been the bow that was the different element from what I was used to playing. My fiddle bridge and strings are still set to Blackie's measurements. A lot of what Baker taught me was effected by these settings. I used the same strings too shown here:
http://www.candlewater.com/strings/
I don't care what you read anywhere, these are the strings he used, not the ones he advertised. One year I showed up with wound gut on my fiddle. He made it very clear that he thought I was making a big mistake. I went back pretty fast.

I took this photo (2nd down) of Blackie as Baker took it out of his car trunk. He had just driven into Bean Blossom when I took this photo. Photos from this roll where used on one of Baker's later albums.
http://www.mossware.com/Baker2.html

Regarding the Baker Monroe split, there is so much more to this then anyone has mentioned here so far. Some of it I can tell you, other stuff not. Baker and Monroe had it out in a major way on the bus that night. So much so that when Bill offered me the fiddle job in San Francisco for both that show and for Japan, he was still upset with Baker...
Read about it here beginning at "We knew that Monroe was appearing in San Francisco the next night so we took that day off from recording. The next morning I get this call from the manager of Great American Music Hall."
http://www.candlewater.com/interviews/story009.html

Baker told Monroe exactly where to get off. Baker told me himself. I need to think about how to compose what he told me.

Jim Moss

Fretbear
Aug-06-2011, 6:16am
Baker told Monroe exactly where to get off. Baker told me himself. I need to think about how to compose what he told me.

Please do.....