Day By Day

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Goodbye Etta

From the NYT:
MORGANTON, N.C., Sept. 25 (AP) — Etta Baker, an influential blues guitarist who did not become a professional musician until she was 60, died on Saturday in Fairfax, Va., while visiting a daughter who had had a stroke. She was 93. ....

Ms. Baker was raised in a musical family in western North Carolina. She made her first mark in music in 1956, when she appeared on a compilation album called “Instrumental Music of the Southern Appalachians.” The recording influenced the growing folk revival, especially her versions of “Railroad Bill” and “One-Dime Blues.”

She worked for 26 years at a textile mill in Morganton before quitting at 60 to pursue a career as a musician.

Ms. Baker became a hit on the international folk-festival circuit, playing Piedmont blues, a mix of the clattery rhythms of bluegrass and blues. She won a 1991 Folk Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Outside her musical career, Ms. Baker raised nine children. Her husband suffered a debilitating stroke in 1964. That same year she was in a car accident that killed one of her grandsons. In the span of a month in 1967, her husband died and one of her sons was killed in the Vietnam War.

Ms. Baker toured well into her 80’s, but she finally quit because of heart problems.

Read it here.

Think about that..., she worked in the textle mills for a quarter century, raised nine children, lost a husband and a son and a grandson, survived a fatal auto crash, and then started her musical career in her seventh decade. Nobody better to play the blues.

What a babe!

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