Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Mickey Baker - Wildest Guitardotdotdot
artworkMickey Baker hit the big time as half of Mickey and Sylvia. The guitar lines on "Love Is Strange" set the bar for many players. This instrumental album was originally issued in 1959. It's hard to imaging that it didn't have an impact on some of the budding surf guitarists that came along just 2 or 3 years later.
Picks: Third Man Theme, Whistle Stop, Night And Day, Midnight Midnight, Autumn Leaves, Baia, Milk Train, Old Devil Moon, Chloe, Baker's Dozen, Lullaby Of The Leaves, Gloomy Sunday

Track by Track Review


Third Man Theme dotdotdot
Blues Rock (Instrumental)

You can just feel the grin on Mickey Baker's face as he and the band trip through Anton Karas's "Third Man Theme." Nearly every cover of this song uses a cheesy MOR arrangement. These cats put a little edge on it and allow the "raw" to recreate it. Pretty interesting.

Whistle Stop dotdotdot
Blues Rock (Instrumental)

Stereo echoed guitar creates a spacy effect for this slow blues walker. "Whistle Stop" shows a playful yet real blues side of Mickey Baker.

Night And Day dotdotdot
Blues Rock (Instrumental)

This is a somewhat angular arrangement of Cole Porter's "Night and Day." It has a bit of edge, some polish, and an emerging rock feel. I'll take the Lively Ones' version of this great song any day!

Midnight Midnight dotdotdot
Blues Rock (Instrumental)

"Midnight Midnight" is a slow moving basic blues instro with Mickey Baker's slithery playing to set it apart. A tasteful rendition.

Autumn Leaves dotdotdot
Blues Rock (Instrumental)

Joseph Kosma's often covered melody gets a liquid blues on the water treatment from Mickey Baker. While it's on the soft side, it still has some edge, and Baker's guitar virtuosity brings out a new dimension to the song.

Baia dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Ary Barosso's great "Baia" is like a surf epic waiting for the reverb. Slick, wiggly, fluid, and infectious, with a simple but very effective riff. Slacktone, 3 Balls Of Fire, Pollo Del Mar, or the Detonators have to work up a cover of this!

Milk Train dotdotdot
Blues Rock (Instrumental)

"Milk Train" runs on the blues progression rail with a percussive guitar line and rich energy. Bouncy and fun.

Old Devil Moon dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Mickey Baker double picks the intro to "Old Devil Moon," then slithers around the notes like it's an island surf epic just over the horizon. A very cool highly surfable tune with an attractive sound and energy. Great stuff!

Chloe dotdot
Blues Rock (Instrumental)

"Chloe" has been done by a billion artists, from Ernie Fields to the Backstreet Toys. It's bouncy and fun, but otherwise dismissible, and entirely too jammy.

Baker's Dozen dotdotdot
Blues Rock (Instrumental)

Jammin' guitar just for the fun of it. Not very memorable, but worth a spin or two.

Lullaby Of The Leaves dotdotdot
Blues Rock (Instrumental)

Slow and slithery, slide-guitar smooth, and softly blue, "Lullaby Of The Leaves" is a pleasant afternoon on the verandah.

Gloomy Sunday dotdotdot
Blues Rock (Instrumental)

Another song that could become a surf tune, "Gloomy Sunday" is bluesy and fluid, with long bent notes to make the point. A fine melody and solid arrangement. Quite nice.