One of the greats,(session)guitarist Mickey Baker died couple of days ago.He was probably best known for Mickey and Sylvia's hit "Love is Strange".
Mickey Guitar Baker, one of the greats and a pioneer R&B/rock guitarist.
He was on a ton of important R&B records.
Give a listen to Little Willie John's Need Your Love So Bad
with a great and sensitive intro by Baker, followed by exquisite comping. (The song is also worth listening to because it's basically the template James Brown used in all of his ballads for decades).
Mickey and Sylvia did backup vocals on Ike & Tina's It's Gonna Work Out Fine
, which makes the link between the duos explicit. Ike & Tina often imitated the spoken banter of Love Is Strange
. Mickey also played guitar on Titus Turner's classic All Around the World.
Mickey's Guitar bakes on Big Joe Turner's Shake Rattle and Roll; Big Maybelle's original Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On; The Drifters' Money Honey, and a few other of the greatest 50's tunes.
Lowman Pauling of the Five Royales was another similar unsung guitar hero, responsible for songs you know but probably don't know the original versions of -- Dedicated to The One I Love; Tell The Truth; Think
. Also worth listening to The Slummer the Slum
and most of their great output. Early Ike Turner, once he switched to guitar, is fairly similar to Mickey Baker. And Bo Diddley -- usually credited with writing Love Is Strange
-- was the breakthrough R&B guitar artist. Buddy Holly was influenced strongly by Mickey Baker's playing especially on Love Is Strange, when he wasn't cadging licks from Bo Diddley ....
Btw, Sylvia Robinson nee Vanderpool aka Little Sylvia and the other half of Mickey & ___ died just last year, age 75. She had been one of Mickey Baker's guitar students he brought to fame. She had a pretty interesting career, including writing and producing songs for Grandmaster Flash.