Etta Baker Biography

Etta Lucille Reid, 31 March 1913, Caldwell County, North Carolina, USA, d. 23 September 2006, Fairfax, Virginia, USA. From a black family that was proficient in blues, pop, hymns, rags, ballads, dance music and, through intermarriage, white country music, Etta Reid learned guitar, banjo, fiddle and piano, playing alongside her father, Boone Reid, and her elder sister Cora (Phillips). She married in 1936, from which time her husband, though himself a pianist, discouraged public performance. She was recorded in 1956 and her fluent, raggy guitar became something of a cult among urban folk revivalists, particularly on ‘One Dime Blues’ (her father and Cora’s husband Lacey Phillips were also recorded, on banjo, in 1956). Baker returned to her musical career only after her husband had died, resuming public performances and recording One-Dime Blues for Rounder Records in 1991. This album and further releases throughout the 90s and early 00s gave clear evidence that Baker remained a magnificent guitarist and banjo player. She passed away in September 2006 at the age of 93.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.