Cranberry Isles Music

Robert Bloom Collection

"Hard Days in McKinley" CD by Ricky Baker

Hard Days in McKinley, a CD by Ricky Baker

Honey Bee Blues (sample mp3, 280 KB)

Available for $17.95 (postage paid)
from Ricky Baker, POB 418, Southwest Harbor, ME 04679
The CD was recorded and engineered by Kevin Russell at Red Spruce Studios on Great Cranberry Island.  Cover by Mary Russell.

"Hard Days" easy to take
Review by Greg Fish

Mr. Baker (better known to many island folks as Southwest Harbor's Rick Cegelis, who skippers the mail boat to the Cranberry Isles) winds his way through 11 songs, his voice tuneful and confident throughout while accompanying himself with a tasty acoustic guitar.

Several musical styles are touched on.  The disc opens with "Country Dance," a two-step shuffle number.  Several songs that follow have a decidedly spare, and folkish, feel to them, with Mr. Baker's harmonica fills evoking the lonesome wail of Neil Young on that instrument.  There are touches of blues and rock on other tracks.

My personal favorites are cuts seven and eight, "Honey Bee Blues" and "Little Zipper Shoes," mainly because they wander a bit further off familiar paths than some of the other songs on "Hard Days."  In the former, a rolling, finger-picked guitar part invokes the blues-folk-country fusion of Taj Mahal, and the tune sets your toes to tapping almost immediately.  On "Little Zipper Shoes," Mr. Baker breaks from his singing style on much of the rest of the CD to growl à la Dr. John.  The song is accompanied by acoustic guitar and bass only, but I could almost hear a New Orleans jazz band strutting down Bourbon Street in the background.

The other musicians on "Hard Days" -- K.D. Russell (who recorded the disc at his Red Spruce Studio on Great Cranberry Island) Sig Escholz and Lesley Horvath -- add nicely to the mix, particularly Mr. Russell, a jack-of-all-instruments who complements the songs throughout with backing vocals, keyboards, electric guitar and percussion.

"Hard Days in McKinley" is a pleasant and catchy disc, one that I'll keep handy to my CD player at home.  So, I suggest you do that, too, and support a local artist by picking up a copy for your own collection.