Kevin Patrick Baiko,
Fool's Gold
(Universal Tuba, 2003)

Fool's Gold is a double CD that gives you a total of 22 songs in 92 minutes of play. So you get plenty of Kevin Patrick Baiko's work compiled into this set. It includes humor, religious and spiritual, folk, western, old-time gospel and much more. Baiko says his music is difficult to define by genre and is like: "...the folk-rock-gospel sound of Dan Fogelberg and Jethro Tull finding their spiritual center at a folk music festival."

Baiko is one gifted musician, singer and entertainer. However, I must agree that his work is most suited for church audiences and comedy clubs. His serious attempts at rockabilly left me gritting my teeth and clenching my fists, but I will be the first to admit that as a hillbilly who believes that on the eighth day God created reggae, bluegrass and rock, I am especially critical of attempts at rockabilly. It is definitely not Baiko's strength.

However, he is a master of voices and characterization. He does an "old geezer" that will have you picturing the old-timer vividly in your mind. His vocalization of a coyote will leave you laughing. It does not sound anything like a coyote, but the unexpected yelp right in the middle of the song will make you enjoy his work. As I said, he is an entertainer, and his work entertains his audience.

The humor in these folksongs is off-the-wall and knee-slapping funny. In one, you'll hear about everything that is going on at the farm ... including the rooster pooping between the boards of the chicken house. OK, Baiko, we have now accurately visualized your farm to the Nth detail. (Might have been more information than we needed, but it sure made us laugh.)

The echo effect in "Healing Happens" is a knockout. This is fantastic composition and demonstrates Baiko's serious side. "Thompson's Fishin' Hole" is another great piece, but it comes close to ripping off "The Wildwood Weed." It could have been much better if it had been more original, but I assumed that it was meant to be a parody. Regardless, it is a hilarious tale and I was rolling with laughter. How big was that shark?

My favorite of all the selections is "I Shall Praise." Folks, old-time gospel just does not get better than this. The harmony is outstanding and is well supported by the banjo and tambourine. The bass vocals are on the money and could not have been better. This is how old-time gospel should be done. It is a professional job and I commend him for the level of excellence being tossed right in with a song that finds the good qualities in his vampire woman -- at least "she doesn't spend all day in front of a mirror" or "have garlic breath."

I enjoyed this collection, in spite of the bad rockabilly attempts, and can see the talent in this man in a dozen different ways.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 3 January 2004

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