peace (1K)
Sam Baker - Cotton


Sam Baker

Music Road Records - MRRCD104

Available Aug, 25, 2009 from Music Road Records

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

Sam Baker doesn't sing his songs as much as he propels them from his mouth. It isn't a pretty voice, rather kind of rough and gravelly, and yet they are still songs because of his unique abilities and perspective. In 1986 he was on a train in Cuzco, Peru when a terrorist bomb blew up, taking the lives of some of the people riding in the same car with him and mangling his hand, a leg, causing deafness and brain damage, which affects both his speech and memory. This album is the finishing piece of a trilogy that deals with the chain of events that ignited and the changes the explosion made in his world and his perception it. This disc has a theme of forgiveness versus the cost of hanging onto anger and letting it burn inside.

Sam Baker wrote all of the songs on the disc except for two of them, and it is his way with words that is the standout on this disc, both his way of putting them together to make the song, and then the presentation of those words to us in the singing of the song. There is a string of unlikely yet believable characters acting as the narrators of the songs; a field hand, a Mennonite, a serving girl among others. He has enlisted a passel of great musicians to go with these songs, Tim Lorsch on octave violin, violin, mandolin, and mandola, and Steve Conn on piano and Mike Daly on pedal steel and slide guitars, among others. Lorsch and Sam Baker produced this disc like the last. He is not going to be a voice everyone loves initially but the songs are so good that both they and his unique way of relating them soon grow on you.

Track List:

  • Dixie
  • Cotton
  • Moon
  • Mennonite
  • Signs (Sample from Meet Me in St Louis - Miles & Sterling)
  • Palestine II
  • Who's Gonna Be Your Man (traditional)
  • Say the Right Words
  • Angel Hair
  • Not Another Mary
  • Palestine I
  • Bridal Chest
  • Snow

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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