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"Guitar" George Baker: Mojo Lady

Jim Santella By

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"Guitar" George Baker
Mojo Lady
Fortress Records
2006

Guitar George Baker's music video is an abbreviated version of his CD. On it, you get the experience of watching him in action during his performance on the BET Jazz television show Live from the Club at Blue Palm. The DVD provides the same film footage in two formats: one with the live setting, and one in a music video format that puts the cut-out bluesman in front of swirling lights and colors. The music sizzles, as Baker delivers a heartfelt performance. Video clips are available at www.theclubatbluepalm.com.

Originally from New Roads, Louisiana, the singer/guitarist toured with Marvin Gaye for three years as his musical director. As a member of the house band for the Apollo Theater, he paid his dues backing an eclectic blend of entertainment figures. His earlier work also included stints with Melba Moore, The Flamingos and The Shirelles. But he shifted successfully to the blues about nine years ago and hasn't looked back. Baker is now based in New Haven, Connecticut. The DVD includes a 12-minute interview that reveals a part of this rich history, as well as a photo album that provides more details about the career of this storied bluesman.

"Mojo Lady" rocks hard with an R&B flavor that combines horns and a driving rhythm with Baker's up-tempo story. Backup singers help him create a forceful contemporary scene. "Johnny B. Goode gets a facelift, as Baker interprets the classic Chuck Berry tune with a hip rhythmic strut. Charles Brown's "Black Night pours out nice and slow with the singer's heart worn on his shirtsleeve. The CD closes with a traditional interpretation of "House of the Rising Sun, which Baker delivers with authenticity. The CD and DVD prove enjoyable for all.

DVD Tracks: Mojo Lady; Something Must be Wrong; Just Can't Lose the Blues; Black Night; Love Gone Bad.

CD Tracks: Mojo Lady; Something Must be Wrong; Just Can't Lose the Blues; Black Night; Love Gone Bad; Johnny B. Goode; I Got the Message; Natural to the Bone; Trouble; House of the Rising Sun.

Personnel: "Guitar" George Baker: guitar, vocals; Nick Lloyd: organ; Kyle Esposito: bass; Chris Lyons: drums; Lou Ianello: alto saxophone; Jerry Langley: bass; Derrick Tappan: drums; Tom Stonoha: rhythm guitar; Sam Oliver: keyboards; Steve Madaio: trumpet; Trevor Lawrence: tenor saxophone.


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