The Winner in Me: Don Baker’s Story

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Release Date: October 18, 1999


by Jacqueline Hayden (Author) , Don Baker (Author)

The Winner in Me is a story of lost love, betrayal, tragedy, recovery and hope. Don Baker is one of Ireland’s most revered musicians – a singer, songwriter and guitarist of stunning individuality whom U2’s Bono described as “the greatest harmonica player in the world”. He has been feted by audiences, the media, the music industry and fellow musicians all over Europe and the USA. As an actor he has starred in In the Name of the Father and several other films.

5.0 out of 5 stars Don Baker’s Story – A Real Winner, 15 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Winner in Me: Don Baker’s Story (Paperback)

Jackie Hayden’s best-seller “The Winner In Me,” chronicles the unique personal trials and tribulations of Don Baker, a man hailed as one of Ireland’s most gifted musicians, declared “the greatest harmonica player in the world” by U2’s Bono, and cited as “the best Rock & Blues Harmonica player” fellow harmonica-master Charlie McCoy says he has ever heard. A multi-talented musician, Baker is a gifted singer, composer, guitarist and harmonica wizard, and he has paid his dues to play the blues many times over. If this book (and Don Baker’s music) testifies to anything, its that the Blues born out of the realties of pain and suffering have virtually no color barriers or geographic restrictions. Blues inspiration from the depths of a life gone askew is not so much different then, whether born out of the back roads and shanty-towns of Mississippi, the dark alleys of the southside of Chicago, or the poorer tenement quarters of Dublin, Ireland in the 1950’s and 60’s. The Blues is an equal opportunity provider of pain relief.

Born in Whitehall, a working-class suburb in northwest Dublin on August 26, 1950, Don Baker’s young life became tempered by ravings of an alcoholic father and his accompanying physical and mental abuse. The toxic combination of domestic violence, his mother’s eventual affair with another man, and the overwhelming feelings of abandonment he suffered during a stay as a young tuberculosis patient in Blanchardstown Hospital set the stage for Baker’s troubled adolescence and early adulthood.

From there Baker’s journey reels through two years in the infamous Daingean reform school, a prison stay and deportment from The Isle of Man, a time at St. Patrick’s Institution for underage offenders near Mountjoy Prison, and time served in the open prison at Shanganagh Castle. It was at Shanganagh that Baker discovered the guitar and his love of music Yet his own alcoholism, violent behavior, and broken personal relationships would continue to plague Don Baker’s life for a time. Eventually his collective demons would dump him off one fateful morning in the middle of a Dublin public roadway, sick and alone, as the world around him headed off to work and school. “The Winner In Me” is a story of one man’s intolerable suffering, dejection and self-destructive behavior, a celebration of his victory over those personal demons – and the Blues as born out of the heart of a true survivor, and ultimate winner.

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