Etta Baker

Railroad Bill

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The "premier woman Piedmont blues guitar instrumentalist" is a wordy but accurate description of 87-year-old Etta Baker of Morganton, NC. One of the last pickers who was around when the music was first being recorded, Baker's 83 years of practice is manifested in these wonderful recordings of traditional folk ballads. One highlight follows another, and although "Brown's Boogie" trips up the album's gentle flow, the rest is front-porch perfect. This is music you never get tired of listening to. Newcomers to guitar should buy this album, both to marvel at the intricate technique and to amuse themselves with how frustratingly difficult it can be.

blue highlight denotes track pick