Reviewed January 2001

King Ernest
Blues Got Soul
Fat Possum Records, 80334-2
photo credit: Billy Turner

Suffer and Stay; Blues Conviction; Contentment; Rock Me In Your Arms; House Where Nobody
Lives; Fallin' Down On My Face With The Blues; 'Till The Day I Die; Must Have Lost My Mind;
Wood Rat; Regular Man

"A lot of blues nowadays has become homogenized and overly focused on guitar virtuosity.
Meanwhile the truest, most important instrument of the blues -the Voice- gets pushed off to the
side. A lot of blues fans today listen for the instruments rather than the voice, and the main
reason for that is that there are so few great voices left…."
"King" Ernest Baker was one of the great voices.
Baker heard this cd on Thursday, March 2, 2000, and later that weekend, Sunday, March 5th,
was killed in an automobile accident on Highway 101 while on his way back to Los Angeles.
"The blues is in a delicate spot right now. Many of the creators have died over the past five
years. And now another one - one who could have carried the torch for the next generation of
real blues - has left us."
This was the second release for Baker, the first one "King of Hearts," released in 1997. While
the quote above seems to disparage virtuoso guitar, Rick Holmstrom appears on several tracks
of this release. Nothin' wrong with havin' some killer guitar on your record!
And while this is only his second release, Baker has performed over the years with artists such
as Howlin' Wolf, Wilson Pickett, Buddy Guy and Tyrone Davis.
A big fan of King Ernest, as chronicled in previous issues, I mourn his loss, while at the same
time celebrate the release of this, his last record. Baker has an incredible voice, and you'd do
yourself a favor by picking up "Blues Got Soul" for your collection. I know I'll be playing this a lot.

Quotes by: Gary Chiachi, Long Beach Blues Festival Producer
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