BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

28 October 2014

BBC Homepage
»BBC Local
Travel News

Things to do
People & Places
Religion & Ethics
Arts and Culture
BBC Introducing
TV & Radio

Sites near Manchester


Related BBC Sites


Contact Us

The Great Unheard

Al Baker
Al Baker

Al Baker and The Dole Queue

in their own words...
Al learnt to play fourteen chords on an ancient fender acoustic guitar in one bloody fingered weekend in the year 2000. He’s now a little older, a little more foolish, but little else has changed.

Al Baker and The Dole Queue
Description:"Al Baker, radical folk singer extraordinaire. He's good." - Listen To Manchester
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites
What We Think:

"Al calls his music Troubacore. Agit-crusty-protest-folk might be more appropriate, if a little less catchy. Still, whatever label you want to give it, what he and his Dole Queue produce follows in the grand footsteps of Billy Bragg and the legendary Phil Ochs, who even manages to get a song dedicated to him, such is his influence. There’s a smile to the sound, just as wide as the fist to the stomach is hard. He’s aiming high, given his musical starting points, but do you know what? He might just make it."
Chris Long

At first particularly inspired by the music and poetry of Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, he played a small number of solo gigs before joining up with his first band, Dr. Strangemoose, who went on to record a very well received mini-album and win two local battles-of-the-bands in what turned out to be only a two-year career.

During his time with Dr. Strangemoose, Al gained a reputation as a charismatic front man, and developed his skills in performance for a startlingly eclectic range of music (some side projects included a heavy metal covers band, a Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band and several leading roles in musical theatre).

Al’s principal interests continued, however, to lay in folk rock. The music scene in Leeds was mainly based around punk music, and the mix of both of those genres was what lead him finally to the style associated with him today.

When Al moved to study Philosophy at Manchester University, he formed the short lived Finnegan’s Wake, who fell apart after only a few gigs, but since Al enjoyed playing the songs he was writing for the band so much, he decided to keep playing them acoustically. 

Al Baker
Al Baker

At the same time, Al began to take a serious interest in politics, being radicalised along with so many others by the anti-war movement and the re-emerging anti-capitalist movement that was growing alongside it. Through this, he discovered more political musicians like Billy Bragg, the Riot Folk collective and the man he cites as his biggest influence, Phil Ochs.

Now, at only 21 years old, and having only started gigging at open mic nights in January 2006, Al has completed a two month tour of the USA and Canada, a three week tour of the UK and Ireland (acquiring himself a loyal and ever increasing local, national and international following), has self-recorded a five track EP and a thirteen track album, has co-founded the independent label/collective Wildcat Music and has acquired an ad hoc backing band, The Dole Queue.

He has played with such well respected artists as Attila the Stockbroker, David Rovics, Evan Greer, Ryan Harvey, Alun Parry and Gideon Conn. Al has stuck firmly to his DIY ethics for his career so far and books all his own shows, makes all his own CDs and publishes all his music under the creative commons license.

Al has developed a unique style he likes to call ‘Troubacore’, but most other people call some variety of Folk or Punk. He has made himself known as an important figure in the local music scene and already made a name for himself in the wider Folk Rock and Folk Punk scenes as a great talent with a very promising future.  His stage presence is engaging, his lyrics striking, his voice powerful and his guitar style irrepressibly brutal.

last updated: 22/02/07
Go to the top of the page

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

All you need to make it in music

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy