The Baker Suite’s fourth album, Your Dreaming Self, rouses aural aphrodisia. The entire effort is a wonderful testament to the subtle force of John Baker and his reason-in-rhyme Gayle Buckby as performers and singer-songwriters delivering fine folk-rock, jazz and French-café-style music.
Baker (guitar, piano, vocals) and Buckby (accordion, vocals) – in collaboration with John Aue (double bass), Enrico Mick Morena (drums), the Zephyr Quartet, Kate Cerberano and many others – have produced a staggeringly great collection of 11 original tunes which paint vivid, interesting portraits of real life from a true observer’s perspective.
It’s reminiscent of Al Stewart at his finest. Like the British folk-rocker, Adelaide’s Baker and Buckby allow their characters to narrate stories that conjure up all sorts of images in the listener’s mind while the ductile music plays, allowing the spirit to wander.
From the opening track, “A Pocketful of Rhyme”, which is a kind of waltzing folk-tune, the sound is viscerally transfixing. They continue to captivate the imagination through dreamy tunes such as “Fugitive Kind and “Evidence of Love”.
Your Dreaming Self is a soul-avowing work of art that should move the darkest psyche; the deeply expressive lyrics are extravagant but never indulgent, and the music is slightly familiar yet totally engaging. It’s the kind of music that is art but not art for art’s sake, and at its heart are two fine storytellers at the very top of their game.
The Baker Suite will be performing at this year’s WOMADelaide at Botanic Park in March.