Etta Baker was born to a musical family and lived a full musical life before she began to share her talents widely by recording at the age of 73.
Born on March 31, 1915, in Caldwell County, N.C., she began playing acoustic country blues with her family learning the banjo, fiddle and piano but mastering the Piedmont-style finger-picked guitar. Along with her family, Baker contributed to a 1956 album, Instrumental Music of the Southern Appalachians, but was not to record again until 1988.
In the years between, Baker raised nine children and worked in a textile mill to help support them. Baker toured extensively in the '80s and received an overwhelming response. Her 1988 album, One-Dime Blues, earned praise for its timeless rendition of classic tunes such as "John Henry" (RealAudio excerpt).
Baker, turning 87 today, has not slowed down, releasing another album, Railroad Bill, last year.
Other birthdays Friday include Sam Hinton, 1917; Anita Carter, 1933; Howdy Forrester, 1922; and Lowell Fulson, 1921.