Railroad Bill was the folk hero of the turpentine workers in the Red Hills of Alabama. These 'woods-riders' bleed the trees on great slash-pine plantations, collect the resin, and manufacture turpentine in crude stills. Living in camps far out in the piney woods, turpentiners were often held to their poorly paid jobs by a system of peonage. Thus the legend of Railroad Bill was born and his ballad traveled out of Alabama into the mountains, becoming a guitar-picker's showpiece.
Baker, of Morganton, N.C. was born in 1913 and has been playing guitar since the age of four. She is the premiere Piedmont blues guitar instrumentalist. Her only contemporary was the late Elizabeth Cotton of Carrboro, N.C.
Music Maker master mind Tim Duffy sits in on second guitar on the track "John Henry." Otherwise, the rest of the CD's 18 inspiring cuts are comprised of Baker performing solo in or outside her home along with the sounds of Mother Nature live in the background. Some real tasty Piedmont blues here folks that should not be overlooked.
This review is copyright © 1999 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.