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Billy Baker

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b. 5 July 1936, Pound, Virginia, USA. With the strong encouragement of his musician parents, who both played banjo, Baker was very much a child prodigy. He played banjo at four, fiddle at six and he was soon playing at local dances with his father. In the early 50s, he began playing professionally with local bands. He recorded with Earl Taylor and worked with him on WBMD Maryland in the early 60s. In 1963, he joined Del McCoury and played on recordings made for Arhoolie Records. The following year he spent some time with Bill Monroe before relocating to Los Angeles, where he played on television with the Golden State Boys during 1965. His talented playing of both fiddle and banjo meant that he was never out of work. In the mid-60s, he worked briefly with Alex Campbell before returning to spend three more years with McCoury. He played on many artists’ recordings and in 1968, he also recorded one side ofDobro And Fiddle, released by Rebel/County on their Zap label (the other side featured the dobro of Kenny Haddock). During the late 70s, he became friendly with John Morris at Old Homestead and worked on recordings for that label, including recording fiddle albums with the Bluegrass Kinsmen and Kentucky Grass.