Duck Baker — Concert and Workshop

I was familiar with Duck Baker right from the very beginning. I bought my first guitar after seeing a documentary about Bert Jansch (called Acoustic Routes) back in 1991. Duck was on that documentary and also on the soundtrack. I then got the two compilation CDs, Ramble to Cashel and the Blarney Pilgrim, both of which have Duck on them. I then got another compilation which Duck is on: Irish Reels, Jigs, Airs And Hornpipes. I’d never seen him perform before though, so I jumped at the chance when I heard that he was playing a house concert not too far my my house. And better still — he was offering a workshop!

The Blood of the Lamb

So, two Sundays ago I drove down to the Moselle (river bordering Lux and Germany) with my guitar, all ready for a workshop with Duck. There were 5 of us in all, so a nice small group.

The first thing I really noticed about Duck was his sense of humour. He’s a funny guy and has a typically British sense of humour. He likes to talk as well and it wasn’t long before we were all at ease.

After he gauged our level, he showed us a picking pattern based on a tune of his called Holding Pattern. It was one of those patterns that looks easy but is far from it. It was quite challenging actually, but ultimately worth while for improving right-hand independence. We also went through his arrangement of Amazing Grace, which is actually amazingly graceful. Very nice indeed.

We stopped for lunch and then it was time for the concert. It was one of the most enjoyable solo guitar performances I’ve seen. I’ve come really to enjoy small and intimate concerts far more than I do stadium gigs. Seeing Duck play in someone’s living room was a rare treat. He played a mixture of old timey American folk, some blues, some jazz, gospel and traditional Scots and Irish music. He also explained the songs really well and used a lot of humour. I would go and see him again in a heartbeat and even spoke with him about visiting him in London for some lessons. Highlights for me were the Blood of the Lamb and 40 Ton Parachute (both of which are on the Acoustic Routes documentary, although 40 Ton Parachute is played by Davey Graham).

All in all, a great day!