Folk music pioneer Paul Clayton often told the tale of Bob Dylan’s 21st birthday when he traveled down to the Charlottesville, VA area to visit Paul. During this visit Paul states that he brought Dylan to visit Etta Baker in her home, so he could see one of the finest guitar players in the region. Dylan returned to New York City shortly after to pen the song, "Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright." First Recorded in 1956, Baker's eloquent finger-style guitar playing was considered to be the one of the finest representations of this rare style.
Music Maker Relief Foundation is pleased to announce a reissue of
Baker's album Railroad Bill, widely considered her finest album, on February 19th, 2016
as a vinyl release. "Reissuing this seminal blues record is so
important to keep the legacy of Etta Baker alive; releasing this
incredible album on vinyl will engage new fans in Baker's music," says
Tim Duffy, founder of Music Maker. The album will contain a previously
unreleased version of Police Dog Blues.
During her lifetime Etta Baker was a recipient of the NC Folk Heritage
Award and the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage
Fellowship. "Baker's musical career was stifled by her husband's belief
in the traditional gender roles of the time - women belonged in the
home," says Duffy, who worked with Baker during the last two decades of
her life. At the age of 78 she released her first album and her legacy
continues to circulate and influence even today. Her unique sound and
her two-finger style live on in the performances of Taj Mahal, Bob
Dylan, and hundreds of other musicians. Mahal is reverent, he comments
of Baker’s songs, “(It) seems like you can see right through them back
to the past.” Etta Baker’s renown is far reaching, however, listening
to her music, it is clear her roots were grounded in the local culture
and regional heritage of Western North Carolina.
Recently Baker was honored with a memorial in her hometown of Morganton,
NC, along with a museum exhibit. The town of Morganton is also
currently raising funds for a bronze statue of her.
This deluxe reissue will include a digital download card with all four
of Baker's full-length releases on the Music Maker Relief Foundation
label, along with never before seen footage of Baker playing with Taj
The Railroad Bill vinyl release will be available in record stores and on musicmaker.org on February 19th, 2016.