Don Baker Band

Don Baker Band

BandBluesRock

Musician, actor, songwriter, author and famed harmonica player, Don Baker is the Irish maestro of the blues. His fiery harmonica solo's, stunning finger style guitar intersperced with stories from the road captivate audiences all over the world.

Biography

Born with the Blues

Don Baker is a survivor. Desperate conditions during his 1950's childhood saw him hospitalised with Tuberculosis at age 7 and then drift into petty crime as a child and young adult which brought him in and out of remand homes until age 19. While in hospital Don came upon a harmonica player and was quickly charmed by the instrument. He then acquired a harmonica of his own and drove the matron crazy. It could be said that hospital introduced Don Baker to the harmonica; prison to the guitar and inner-city Dublin tenement life to the blues.

Don Baker was born in Whitehall, Dublin in 1950, into a dysfunctional family. Essentially abandoned and left to fend for himself, largely due to an alcoholic father it was not surprising that the young Don Baker drifted into petty crime, landing up in a remand home for a month at the age of 11. A few years later Don was incarcerated in St Conleth's Reformatory, Daingean run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Don was one of the first people to speak about child abuse (with Gay Byrne on a landmark RTE Late Late Show) and subsequently spoke openly about the horrific abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of the Oblate's who ran the notorious Daingean institution in Offaly in RTE's States of Fear (the programme that forced the Irish Government to make an unprecedented public apology on behalf of the State to the victims of this savage system). Frequently in trouble with the police, Baker was in and out of prison until the age of 19. While in prison, he took up the guitar and according to Don "never looked back". After prison Don lived in the Corporation Buildings in run down inner city Dublin where he was soon introduced to blues music.

Leaving Ireland for the continent of Europe aged 22, he travelled throughout Germany, Austria, Holland and France, playing all the while. He moved on to jazz and blues clubs and the odd support slot at a major concert, with the help of a newly acquired agent. Ten years was spent on the road, going from country to country. During this time he mostly lived on trains, and on people's floors. He began drinking excessively, probably using alcohol to dull repressed emotions dating from childhood. The drinking continued for many years until he finally sought help and at last kicked the booze habit.

In 1979 he was asked by one of Ireland's top TV shows, the Late Late Show, to write a song about inner city Dublin. Don wrote 'Dublin's Inner City' which became a huge hit for The Jolly Beggarmen reaching No. 1 in the Irish charts.

Baker has since built a wide reputation as a harmonica player. Mark Feltham (who has played with Oasis, Joe Cocker and Rory Gallagher) rates him as the greatest acoustic harmonica player in the world, as does Charlie McCoy and U2's Bono.

He is the author of several instruction books on the harmonica, which are on sale in several languages and are distributed throughout the world, as well as five teaching videos. He also adjudicates bi-annually at the World Harmonica Championships in the blues category.

Don Baker's harmonica (or harp) playing is influenced by blues players such as Sonny Boy Williamson and Sonny Terry. Don was also greatly influenced by Charlie McCoy, who has since become a friend and recorded the Don Baker composition 'Jordanna'. Don recorded the Charlie McCoy composition 'Funky Duck' on his album 'Miss You'.

A fine guitar player, Don learned blues guitar by listening to the great country blues players - Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Blake, Robert Johnson, and Scrapper Blackwell.

Don's acclaimed acting debut was in the film "In the Name of the Father". He featured in the role of "Joe McAndrew", the head of the IRA in the prison where Gerry Conlon (Guildford Four) was detained. The movie, directed by Jim Sheridan, starred Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson and Pete Postlethwaite. Don has since had many successful roles including "Mia" starring alongside Claudia Cardinale, "On the Nose" starring alongside Dan Ackryod and Robbie Coltrane and "Mystics" starring alonside Milo O'Shea and David Kelly.

Don's life has been both poignant and fast paced. Jackie Hayden, a director of Hot Press Magazine and Music Industry Consultant, has documented Don's experiences in the 'Best Sellers List' biography "The Winner in Me" published by Marino Books / Mercier Press. Jackie Hayden's last full-length work was "My Boy: The Philip Lynott Story", which topped the Irish book charts in 1996.

Lyrics

Miss You

Written By: © Don Baker (P) Campbell & Connelly Ltd

Oh my heart is in sorrow and my heart is in pain
I watch the grieving faces as I stand here in the rain
So long friend of mine I’ll miss you

I see your face before me remember things you said
The way you used to laugh at me
The way you’d shake your head
All these memories are with me forever

I know your light is out there and it’s shining down on me
Thank you for the love you gave it’s still here with me
It’s still here with me

Now the glory train is coming its time to set you free
You’ll always be here in my heart
You touched that part of me
So long friend of mine I’ll miss you

I know your light is out there and it’s shining down on me
Thank you for the love you gave it’s still here with me
It’s still here with me

Oh my heart is in sorrow and my heart is in pain
So long friend of mine I’ll miss you
So long I’ll miss you
I’ll miss you

Don says "I wrote this for my friend, John Tierney, who died at the age of 25. Gay Byrne (RTE) introduced him to me many years ago, I took him under my wing. I still Miss him."

Rain on the Wind

Written By: © Don Baker & (p) Campbell Connelly Ltd

Standing there on a platform
I came in on the six forty five
I was hoping I’d see your face there
I was searching the crowd with my eyes
The road was long and lonesome
I thought of you every day
Thought about when I’d see you
And all the things I’d say
You cried the day I left you
I’ll be waiting when you return
I believed you would well I guess I’ll never learn

Rain on the wind it’s all over now
When it comes to lying baby you sure know how
Rain on the wind where are you now
When it comes to losing baby I don’t know how

First you told me you loved me
And you opened my heart with a lie
And you wait until my back is turned
Running around with some other guy
With love and lust there’s difference
You age before you know why
Just to keep the record straight
You didn’t even cry

Rain on the wind it’s all over now
When it comes to losing baby I don’t know how
Rain on the wind where are you know
When it comes to lying baby you sure know how

Rain on the wind where are you know
When it comes to crying baby you showed me how
Rain on the wind it’s all over know
When it comes to loving baby you don’t know how

Don says "A song I recorded with Christy Dignam (Aslan), we recorded it live, I wrote it after I read a Walter Macken book of the same name."

Almost Illegal

Written By: © Don Baker (P) Campbell & Connelly Ltd

Instrumental

Don says "While recording this the studio went bust we felt like we were doing something illegal, when the sheriff arrived to throw us out. Brian Downey (Thin Lizzey) who played Drums on the track also gave me the tune title, it’s an instrumental on harmonica."

Discography

CD 1989 Almost illegal
CD 1991 Born with The Blues
CD 1993 No Nonsense Live
CD 1995 No Regrets
CD 1998 Just Don Baker
CD 2000 Miss You
CD 2003 Duckin' n Divin'
CD 2006 Rain on The Wind

Set List

The set is mainly original songs and instrumentals and some standards. The set varies as there is over 60 original songs to choose from, juding on atmosphere and what the crowd wants we go with the flow. The show generally lasts 2 hours but with encores goes on longer.

Original Songs:
Almost Illegal
Baker's Shaker
Been Alone Too Long
Can’t Take No More
Chains
Childhood Blues
Don’s Train
Down On My Knees
Drivin’
Duckin’ & Divin’
Finnerty's Blues
Glory Train
Goodtime Woman Blues
Help Me Work It Out
Henrietta Street
Jiggin' the Blues
The Holy Vow
Its Over
Jackin’ It In
Jordanna
Lonesome Road
Lord Have Mercy
Lost Lover Blues
Louise Baby
Mama
Maria
Miss You
Need Some One
Never Let You Down
Politician
Rain On The Wind
Religion
Runnin' From Freedom
Running Man
Shoeshine Man
Stompin’ The Blues
Used Shoe Blues
Waiting For Daylight
Wake Me With The Risin’ Sun
Wake Up
Worried Blues
Wouldn’t Treat A Dog

Covers:
Ain't Goin Down This Time
Ain't Got