Unknown Hinson – (b. 1954 – )
Authored by Dale Nickey:
This Outsider is not only the greatest guitar player you never heard of, he’s also the funniest. Unlike many Outsider Music icons, he has no diagnosed mental condition or obvious pathology. There is no artistically transcendent ineptitude. Unknown Hinson (real name Stuart Baker) is a totally calculated and self-aware construct. The Unknown Hinson character has been carefully crafted with a compelling and ridiculous backstory. Unknown Hinson never breaks character and never refers to his alter ego Stuart. However, his rootsy, guitar mastery and songwriting are so bracingly authentic and hilarious; he easily earns his admittance into The Muse Patrol’s – “Outsider Music Hall of Fame”.
He may have appeared as a faint blip on your radar screen as the voice-over actor who played the character of Early Cuylor in the animated comedy Squidbillies. He also played it straight as the hired-gun guitar slinger in Billie Bob Thornton’s short lived rockabilly band the The Boxmasters. His trademarks are an exaggerated Southern drawl, a comically undersized snub-nose pistol and a pair of jet-black glued-on sideburns that suggests the demon spawn of Bat Masterson and Bela Lugosi. Indeed, Southern Gothic vampire chic hangs heavy around Hinson as he has been described as “The Hillbilly Vampire”. He chronicles his distaste for heavy metal music with note-perfect demonstrations of the guitar style on video.
Hinson’s early years were troubling and fascinating. He named himself after his MIA father whose name is listed on Hinson’s birth certificate as ‘Daddy: Unknown’ He was given a guitar by his mother at an early age. After her mysterious disappearance, he hit the road and joined the circus; where he learned the impressive skill of lifting 25 pound weights with his tongue. A series of trumped up criminal charges (3 counts of murder and 19 paternity suits) landed him in prison for 30 years. Upon his release he went forth into the world with his guitar to reclaim his rightful musical legacy.
As a live performer, Hinson shows himself to be a virtuoso in most American music forms including – Country, Blues, Rockabilly and Blues Rock. Search his video archives and you will also find Hinson doing an expert parody of British Psychedelia. His recorded discography boasts song titles such as: “A Black and Blue Christmas”, “Satan in a Thong”, and “Your Man is Gay”.
Both Stuart Baker and his alter-ego Unknown Hinson are enigmas wrapped in a black bolero jacket and ribbon tie. His unique mixture of chauvinism, audacity and virtuosity are at once alluring and wonderfully obnoxious.
Unknown Hinson may remain among the great unknowns. Unknown Hinson announced his retirement from touring in 2012. Stuart Baker’s beloved wife Margo died in 2013. Hinson and Stuart seem destined to preserve their mystique and Outsider credentials for the ages.
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