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Etta Baker with acoustic guitar
|Birth name||Etta Lucille Reid|
|Born||March 31, 1913|
|Origin||Caldwell County, North Carolina, United States|
|Died||September 23, 2006
Fairfax, Virginia, United States
|Labels||Rounder, Tradition, Reprise, Music Maker|
She was born Etta Lucille Reid in Caldwell County, North Carolina, of African American, Native American, and European American heritage. She played both the 6-string and 12-string forms of the acoustic guitar, as well as the five-string banjo. Baker played the Piedmont Blues for ninety years, starting at the age of three when she could not even hold the guitar properly. She was taught by her father, Boone Reid, who was also a longtime player of the Piedmont Blues on several instruments. Etta Baker was first recorded in the summer of 1956 when she and her father happened across folk singer Paul Clayton while visiting Cone Mansion in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, near their home in Morganton, NC. Baker's father asked Clayton to listen to his daughter playing her signature "One Dime Blues". Clayton was impressed and arrived at the Baker house with his tape recorder the next day, recording several songs.
Over the years, Baker has shared her knowledge with many well known musical artists including Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Baker received the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award from the North Carolina Arts Council in 1989, the National Endowment for the Arts' National Heritage Fellowship in 1991, and the North Carolina Award in 2003. Along with her sister, Cora Phillips, Baker received the North Carolina Folklore Society's Brown-Hudson Folklore Award in 1982.
Baker had nine children, one of whom was killed in the Vietnam War in 1967, the same year her husband died. She last lived in Morganton, North Carolina, and died at the age of 93 in Fairfax, Virginia, while visiting a daughter who had suffered a stroke.
- 1956 : Instrumental Music From the Southern Appalachians (1956, Tradition Records; reissued 1997)
- 1990 : One Dime Blues
- 1998 : The North Carolina Banjo Collection (various artists) (1998, Rounder)
- 1999 : Railroad Bill
- 2004 : Etta Baker with Taj Mahal (Music Maker 50)
- 2005 : Carolina Breakdown with Cora Phillips (Music Maker 56)
- 2006 : Knoxville Rag with Kenny Wayne Shepherd (CD Title: "10 Days Out- Blues From The Backroads", it also includes a DVD that shows Kenny & Etta playing guitar in her kitchen), Reprise Records, 2006. UPC 093624929420
- Renowned Piedmont Blues Guitarist Etta Baker Dies at 93, from World Music Central
- Etta Baker MP3s, from Music Maker Relief Foundation
- Live recording of "One Dime Blues," performed by Etta Baker (track 7; recorded at the 1994 Florida Folk Festival and made available for public use by the State Archives of Florida)
-  Archived February 18, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- Coltman, Bob (2008). Paul Clayton and the Folksong Revival. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 297. ISBN 0-8108-6132-1. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
- "North Carolina Folklore Society | Promoting the appreciation, study, and preservation of North Carolina’s rich folk cultural heritages". Ecu.edu. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
- Etta Baker page from North Carolina Arts Council site
- Etta Baker page from North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources page
- Etta Baker page from Music Maker Relief Foundation
- "Etta Baker and Cora Phillips". Retrieved 2006-06-17.
- "Music Maker Relief Foundation Biography page". Retrieved 2007-09-24.
- "Story and Interview on NPR's Morning Edition". Retrieved 2007-09-24.