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Duck Baker and Kieran Fahy "The Fairy Queen" Day Job DCD103
Duck Baker
"My Heart Belongs To Jenny" Day Job DCD104

Since 1976 Duck Baker has remained one of the foremost American fingerstyle guitarists of recent years. Such peers as John Renbourn and Stefan Grossman have recorded his compositions. He also commands respect for his many and varied playing styles, from jazz to bluegrass to name but two. Both of these recordings focus upon his love of Irish tunes for either guitar, or guitar combined with fiddle.

On 'The Fairy Queen' Duck is accompanied throughout by County Galway fiddler Kieran Fahey. This collection of tunes was recorded in December 1998 and features 12 sets that are enchanting in their simplicity. Kieran's delicate strokes of the bow are a perfect accompaniment to the guitarist's baroque style. It should come as no surprise to those familiar with Duck's work that the CD is named after its opening tune written by the famous and influential Irish composer Carolan. Baker has often cited him as a major influence, and in 1986 he even dedicated a whole collection to Carolan's work.

Although Kieran doesn't appear on Duck's most recent recording 'My Heart Belongs to Jenny', it is a similar collection; in as much as it's subtitled 'A collection of Irish tunes arranged for solo guitar'. Recorded last year Duck again weaves his way through 16 pieces, including the rarely performed 'The Blackbird and the Thrush'. Each tune is approached with both the depth and passion that have become characteristics of his recorded work.

Together these CDs make a powerful anthology of Irish tunes arranged for guitar. Even for the casual listener there is much to be enjoyed throughout.

Keith Whitham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 44 of The Living Tradition magazine.