Almost illegal

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Release Date: January 19, 2002



This is the album Don Baker was recording in a studio in Dublin when, unknown to Don, the studio had gone bankrupt. While trying to lay down rhythm tracks with Brian Downey from Thin Lizzy and John Kearns of Stockton’s Wing, the Bailiffs arrived to remove equipment. Baker had paid for a three-week recording session with the royalty advance from his first harmonica music tutorial book. In short he was left high and dry.

A friend, Kevin Finnerty, came to the rescue and financed the recording in an alternative studio and so the track “Finnerty’s Blues” was born. In the chaos of the studio being repossessed Don turned to Brian Downey and said “It feels like we are doing something almost illegal” and Brian said “ALMOST ILLEGAL, great title for the album” and that’s how it all began. The re-released album retains the original artwork that accompanied the Vinyl LP. The pictures of buildings now long gone and replaced in recent times with the Finance Centre show scenes from Sheriff Street in Dublin’s Inner City where Don grew up.

Vintage Don Baker, “ALMOST ILLEGAL” is about as in-your-face Rock/Blues as you can get. Don’s first album, originally released on Vinyl LP, went straight into the Irish Album charts. The album features Don’s stunning harmonica performances on the title track “ALMOST ILLEGAL”, “LOUISE”, “FINNERTY’S BLUES” and the show-stopping “DON’S TRAIN”. Don’s emotive songwriting comes to the fore on “I WISH I HAD RELIGION”, “NEED SOMEONE” and “BEEN ALONE TOO LONG”. The album rocks along on tracks like “HOOCHIE COOCHIE MAN”, “BRING IT ON HOME” and “SAME OLD BLUES” capturing the raw energy, excitement and prowess of Baker’s music. Featuring powerful performances from Don with Brian Downey (Thin Lizzy), Keith Donald (Moving Hearts) and John Kearns (Stockton’s Wing) digitally re-mastered and re-released on audio CD for the first time – a definite ‘must have’.

Recognised throughout the world for his debut role in the Jim Sheridan movie “IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER” starring alongside Daniel Day Lewis, Don recently swapped his harmonica for the role as a hard man to become FAIR CITY’s latest star. Don joined a cast of mobsters, convicts, paramilitaries and prostitutes who featured in the sensational “Fair Seedy” soap bonanza on RTE’s ( long running and popular soap. Don has had many film roles including “MIA” directed by Giovanni Soldati and starring Claudia Cardinale, and “ON THE NOSE” starring alongside Dan Ackryod and Robbie Coltrane. Don also starred alongside Milo O’Shea and David Kelly in “MYSTICS” directed by BAFTA award-winner David Blair and released in 2003. Don is author of several music instruction books on the harmonica, which have been translated into several languages and distributed throughout the world, as well as five teaching videos. Jackie Hayden tells Don’s story in the Irish best seller “The Winner in Me – Don Baker’s Story”. Jackie Hayden’s last full-length work was “My Boy: The Philip Lynott Story”. Jackie is a director of Hot Press magazine, Ireland’s premier music magazine, and is a music industry consultant.

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