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For the past 18 months Brook's Blues Bar has been steadily building a reputation for putting on top quality acoustic blues. The original location, The Brook Green Hotel in Hammersmith was recently withdrawn by an inexplicably iniquitous Young's brewery and a difficult couple of months ensued for Ann and Tony, the organisers. After much hard work new venues have been found and Brook's now takes place in Ladbroke Grove, Twickenham and, occasionally, Camden.
The Inn on The Green in Ladbroke Grove has a large back room which, set out with low tables and comfy sofa's is an ideal spot for a bit of country blues, and a decent turnout, for a Wednesday night, shows that Ann and Tony are doing something right, chief amongst which is their booking performers of the caliber of Duck Baker.
On steel and nylon string guitars we're given a demonstration of fingerpicking - not just a variety of country blues styles but western swing and jazz too, all put across effortlessly by this affable American now resident in the UK.
Duck's easy charm and understated style belies just how good he really is. David A, bluesinlondon's fingerstyle expert sat rapt, finally seeing live a man who, through instructional video, taught him how to play. Baker doesn't show off though, for all his ability, and throughout his affection for the music rather than how pleased he is with himself for being able to play it so well is what shines.
These roots styles of music are fading from folk memory and people with
this sort of knowledge of them are increasingly rare. We're well
along the road to where we'll only be able to reference the references,
rather than tapping into the source. Inevitable, of course,
and some of those referenced references have value in their own right,
but Duck's still here, doing it for real and passing the knowledge forward.
Hats off to him.