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Baker, Ronnie (1947-August 1990)

He was a bassist, arranger, songwriter and producer who was a member of the group The Trammps from 1972.  With them he saw success as a musician and producer with hits such as “Disco Inferno” and “Hold Back the Night” and with co-musicians Norman Harris and Early Young they became the production team Baker-Harris-Young..

Along with Earl Young and Norman Harris, also of The Trammps, he also performed as a member of MFSB (Mother Father Sister Brother) from around 1968, which was the houseband put together by Gamble & Huff’s first for Sigma Records and then for their successful Philadelphia International Records.  It also saw them having hits in their own right such as the Grammy winning “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)” which was used as the theme for Soul Train, and their “Love Is the Message” was one of the initial inductees into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2004.

After there were problems within the Philadelphia International camp with Gamble & Huff he and many of the other members of MFSB moved on to work with The Salsoul Orchestra which meant he worked with many more artists that included Jocelyn Brown, Charo, Double Exposure and Instant Funk.  Just like MFSB this group of musicians saw their own hits such as “Tangerine”.

During the course of his career he performing on countless songs during the 1970s by acts such as include Archie Bell & The Drells, Blue Magic, The Delfonics, The Ebonys, LaBelle, Major Harris, The Manhattans, Melba Moore, Johnny Nash, Laura Nyro, Billy Paul, Teddy Pendergrass, Wilson Pickett, Lou Rawls, Dee Dee Sharp, The Temptations, The Three Degrees and The Whispers among many others.

As you can imagine, he appeared on more albums as a musician, arranger and/or producer than I can think about, let alone mention, but a few of them include Wake Up Everybody by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, To Know You Is To Love You by B.B. King, Love Is The Message: The Best Of… by MFSB, Backstabbers by The O’Jays, Essential Teddy Pendergrass by Teddy Pendergrass, Anthology by Salsoul Orchestra, Mighty Love by The Spinners and Rockin’ Roll Baby by The Stylistics.

Ronnie passed away in 1990 suffering from brain cancer.

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes recordings
Don’t Leave Me This Way (Kenneth Gamble/Cary Gilbert/Leon Huff)
Philadelphia International S PIR 4909 A
To Be Free To Be Who We Are (Victor Carstarphen/Gene McFadden/John Whitehead)
Philadelphia International S PIR 4909 B

Here he is on the classic “Disco Inferno” by The Trammps

Sources:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronnie_Baker
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MFSB
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disco_Inferno_(album)
  4. http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/MFSB.html
  5. http://www.discogs.com/artist/Ron+Baker?anv=Ronnie+Baker
  6. http://www.phillysoulclassics.com/artists/mfsb
  7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salsoul_Orchestra
  8. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:gnfyxqukldfe~T4