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Duck Baker made his name as a preeminent fingerstyle guitarist in the folk/acoustic world, as one of several players of his age who expanded the fingerpicking repertoire from blues, ragtime, and Merle Travis-style instrumentals to include Irish and Scottish music, swing numbers and modern jazz. Less well-documented is Baker's free jazz - free improv style, something he began working on after hearing Sonny Sharrock in the 1960s. Baker's approach to this music was also heavily influenced by people like Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor, and took another evolutionary turn in the mid-1970s when he heard Derek Bailey and, slightly later, began working with people like Eugene Chadbourne, John Zorn, and Bruce Ackley. Baker saw this as consistent with his involvement with traditional forms, noting that, for him, people like Albert Ayler, Elmore James and Roscoe Holcomb all played the same music. Apart from isolated tracks and one side of an early Eugene Chadbourne LP, this side of Duck Baker went undocumented on record until 2009.
Outside helps fill in the blanks, with unreleased studio recordings made in Calgary in 1977, London in 1982 and Torino in 1983. A few of Baker's 'inside' arrangements are included for the sake of completeness, but most of the music is solo original pieces and free improvisations. Also included are two very adventurous guitar duets with Chadbourne.