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Ernest Baker
King Ernest
March 4, 2000
Age 60
Automobile accident 
 
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Editor's Pick:  King of  Hearts
 
 
 
 

OBITUARY 
 
     
      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
                  
    LOS ANGELES BASED BLUES SINGER, KING ERNEST, WAS KILLED IN AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT ON SATURDAY NIGHT, MARCH 4TH IN LOS ANGELES, RETURNING HOME FROM AN ENGAGEMENT. 
    *Currently, no other details available 

    THE BOOM BOOM ROOM IS SAD TO WITNESS THE PASSING OF WEST COAST BLUES ARTIST, KING ERNEST WHO DIED SATURDAY, MARCH 4TH IN AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT ON HIS WAY HOME FROM AN ENGAGEMENT.   IT IS A TRAGIC AND GREAT LOSS TO ALL WHO KNEW AND LOVED HIM. 
              
    Blues & Soul singer, King Ernest, was a rising blues artist who shared the 
    stage with several greats including, Tyrone Davis, Syl Johnson and Little 
    Milton.  He was a regularly featured artist at John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom 
    Room and was fast building a name for himself in the blues music industry. 
    As a soul and blues singer, King Ernest sang his entire life. Born in 1939, 
    in Natchez, Mississippi, to a sharecropper's family, Ernest started out 
    playing the guitar at local juke joints. 
       
    Contemporary blues and R& B sounds of peers he performed with in the 
    clubs of Chicago, such as,  Tyrone Davis, Syl Johnson and Little Milton in the 60's, 
    made the deepest impression on Ernest. 
            
    In 1964, Ernest left Chicago for New York, where he picked up the nickname 
    "King" from his new band.  The following year, Ernest made his first 
    single,  "I Feel Alright/"I'm So Tired" for Old Town Label and enjoyed success on 
    the East Coast soul/R&B circuit.   Ernest soon returned to Chicago where he yielded steady bookings and recorded a handful of singles for local labels like Sonic, Barry and his own Blue Soul Records.  He recorded a single released on the prestigious Mercury label, 
    "That's When I Woke Up." 
             
    Ernest's musical adventures took him from one end of the country to the 
    other and he was eventually lured to Los Angeles in 1980 by a record deal that 
    never materialized, which led him to retire from the music business and 
    take a day job. 
          
    Fourteen years later, Ernest decided to start performing again and was 
    re-discovered by a local blues promoter/producer who sent him back out 
    on the road and into the recording studio, which resulted in Ernest touring 
    throughout the west coast and Canada and the release of "King Of Hearts." 

    At 57 years of age, King Ernest was a seasoned musician, younger and more 
    energetic than his years, as his music was explosive and he dazzled crowds 
    wherever he performed. 

     He will be missed...

             Media Contact:         Liv Andreas 
                                 Phone:   415/923.5910 
                                 Fax:       415/673.8719
    
  
 
NY TIMES
        
 
 
       
 

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BIOGRAPHY
 
 
All-Music Guide
     
Born: May 30, 1939
Died: March 4, 2000
    
Vocalist King Ernest came up singing in the lively Chicago blues club scene of the 1950s and '60s, sharing stages with the likes of Tyrone Davis, Syl Johnson and Little Milton Campbell.  

Born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi, he learned basic blues from his father, a sharecropper who used to play guitar at local juke joints. After a year at Southern University in Baton Rouge, he moved to Chicago, where he found his inspiration in clubs that hosted the likes of Muddy Waters and Chester Burnett, better known as Howlin' Wolf. His first professional shows in Chicago were with guitarist Byther Smith. Later, he discovered the soul-blues stylings of singers like Syl Johnson and Tyrone Davis.  These singers made a bigger impact on his own singing style, and he established a reputation in Chicago's club scene in the early 1960s as Good Rockin' Ernie.  

 In 1964, Baker left Chicago for New York City, where a new band he formed there gave him the  nickname "King" for his wild dancing antics on stage. In 1965, Baker recorded his first single, "I Feel  Alright" b/w "I'm So Tired," for the Old Town label, and enjoyed modest success through the 1960s on the East Coast's R&B club circuit until returning to Chicago in 1967. He remained in Chicago for another ten years, recording a number of singles for Chicago labels, including Sonic, Barry and his own Blue Soul Records. But recognition on a national level still eluded Baker, who moved to Los Angeles in 1980. After a record deal he had there failed to come to fruition, he dropped out and took a job with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, doing most of his singing in church as a member of the Crenshaw Christian Center Choir.  

 After retiring from his day job, he began playing shows again at L.A. nightclubs, and his powerful vocals and still-energetic stage persona quickly attracted a small legion of dedicated fans to his club shows. After being discovered by promoter and producer Randy Chortkoff, he began touring up and down the California coast and into Canada.  

 His debut album for Evidence Records, King of Hearts, released in 1997, has helped to expand his audience from a regional following in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles to an international following. On his recording, Baker offers up his interpretations of songs by Charlie Musselwhite, Hound Dog Taylor, Junior Parker and Harold Burrage. He also tackles "Better Days," a track co-written by guitarist Jimmy Rip and vocalist Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. Appropriately, Rip accompanies King Ernest on this track on the album. -- Richard Skelly, All Music Guide

 
 
  
 
 

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HEAR OR BUY THE MUSIC
 
 
    • It is possible to hear the following cd's/songs by choosing from the links listed below. 
    • You can also purchase discounted cd's, tapes, vynyl, and videos from the same secure site.
           
        -- King Ernest discography 
                
          SONGS
 
      King of Hearts 

      The title is descriptive of why Ernest deserves a royal title, as his punchy  
      vocals are blues laden with a splash of soul. Also, the title serves as the  
      central theme of the material which runs the gamut of emotions ranging  
      from heartbreak ("Tell Me the Reason," "Better Days," and "Cryin' for  
      My Baby"), doubt ("I'm Not the One"), preference to escape life's problems  
      ("Black Bag Blues"), disgust ("I Resign"), jealousy ("In the Dark"), desire  
      ("Sadie"), and remorse ("Forgive Me"). Ernest's musicians are proven blue(s) 
      bloods, some of them being Paul Bryant (Robert Lucas), "Jimmy Rip" (Mick Jagger), 
      and Lester Butler. Jagger's contribution, "Better Days," was originally slated for one 
      of Jagger's solo albums, but then rightfully deeded to Ernest's pipes. Other well-chosen  
      royal subjects come from songwriters/artists Junior Parker, Charlie Musselwhite, and 
      Hound Dog Taylor.  Hats go off to producer Randy Chortkoff, whose bold moves to 
      record Ernest rightfully grants him the throne that's been denied him for far too long. 
      -- Char Ham, All Music Guide

 
 
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