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Lord Baldwin (Chester L. Baldwin II, born 13 January 1950, in Portland, Oregon), is a singer-songwriter, keyboardist and guitarist. Emerging from the 60s rock era, he developed a distinctive and rather eclectic style that blended folk, rock and jazz. He has recorded more than 50 albums as well as being the author of two novels, Stepping Between The Ants, and Heads, or Tales From The Summer Of Love.

Between his mother, Eva R. Scarbrough and his father, Chester (Jack) Baldwin, who were both married multiple times, he has seven brothers and three sisters. His parents divorced when he was four and he went with his mother and her new husband. Coming from an unsettled upbringing, (his mother’s marriage to a bad guy, 1954 to 1967), Lord Baldwin moved around a lot, having lived in Oregon, California, Michigan, Alaska, New Jersey, New York, and Washington State.

Music has always been a central part of Lord Baldwin’s life and from an early age he found comfort and solace from his troubled childhood. From the age of ten, he was never without a harmonica. After seeing the Beatles in, ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ in 1964, he began his lifelong quest to be a songwriter/musician/performer. He realized his writing potential in 1967 when an English Teacher, Miss Ulrich from Glendora High School, encouraged him to enter some of his lyrics (poems) in a collection of published works. He moved to New Jersey in the fall of that year and never found out if any of his works had been accepted, but with his confidence strengthened, he continued to write lyrics for songs throughout high school.

Lord Baldwin has always been drawn to the magnificence and magic of the piano, and throughout his childhood, whenever the opportunity presented itself, he would immerse himself into playing and learning more about the instrument. During recesses and lunch breaks at school, instead of spending time on the playgrounds or in the cafeterias, he could be found composing new material or playing and singing new lyrics to some new song he’d written.

In 1971, while working at Burger Chef, a local fast food restaurant a block from Portland State University, he met (and in 1973, later married), his lifelong sweetheart, Diane F. Weeks. In 1974, not long after their first-born child, Loren was born, they moved from Portland to Kelso Washington and soon transferred to Olympia Washington.

Lord Baldwin came to distinction locally in the Pacific Northwest, in Portland, the Seattle area and particularly in Olympia Washington where he has lived most of his adult life. He began writing songs and composing music in the early sixties in Los Angeles. In 1965, he won a school talent show singing a Manfred Mann song, ‘Do Wah Diddy Diddy,’ and a Herman’s Hermit song, ‘Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter.’ During the summer of 1965 Lord Baldwin was lead singer and blues harmonica player to a garage band called, ‘Seasonings.’ Unfortunately, the rest of the group was most comfortable doing ‘covers’ of other groups, specifically ‘The Stones’ (being fixated on ‘Satisfaction’), and didn’t want to experiment with a new sound, and so, after a short period of time, the group let him go.

In 1968, he worked in the Concord Hotel in the Catskills as a busboy. When not in the dining room, he would roam the hotel and play on the many pianos sprinkled about the resort hotel. It was during one of these times when he was approached by one of Raymond Parker’s sons and offered a staff job as piano player and social guide to the guests.

At the age of twenty, he bought his first guitar, a Yamaha acoustic 12 string, which was stolen from him three months later. Unfortunately, he had little money to replace the instrument and it was almost a year later before he could afford to purchase another guitar; a 1963 Fender acoustic. It was with this guitar that Lord Baldwin learned how to play, and of which he composed a healthy library of songs.

While Lord Baldwin struggled (in vain) to work his way up in his new occupation as a driver of goods for an electronics wholesale firm, he continued to write songs while he settled in to become a family man. His family continued to grow and after Loren Frances was born in 1973, Chester III was born in 1975, Elizabeth Victoria in 1977, Meridith Anne in 1979, Benjamin Hezekiah, in 1981, Stephen Andrew, in 1983, Spencer John, in 1986, Christopher Michael in 1988, Allison Jane in 1990 and Brian Theodore in 1994.

For a lot of reasons, Lord Baldwin’s inspiration and creativity seemed to lose the momentum between the late seventies and the early eighties. He attributed this dry spell to a combination of low self-esteem brought on by not meeting up to the expectations of the man, along with a lack of self-confidence, in himself as well as his works, and the disappointment with not knowing how to, or being able to, market himself to do something with his music on a wider scale.

Lord Baldwin had a renaissance and or, a revitalization to his songwriting and performing in 1983, not long after he started working for the Forest Funeral Home. It was there that, after working as a funeral director and embalmer, he reevaluated himself, his priorities in life, ultimately realizing the blessings and strengths of his family and friends. It was then that his own special style began to surface. He started to see himself and his original but eclectic material from a different perspective, and he viewed his material with a new sense of value.

Songs began to flow out, even in his dreams, and he was wise enough to take the time and document the tunes and words while they were fresh in his mind. In 1991, after typing the bulk of the lyrics of his continually expanding work, Lord Baldwin purchased a 4-track, Tascam Cassette Recorder, and immediately began recording his material. Not long after, taking what he believed to be the best of his then material, he recorded his first two albums, ‘Lonely Too Long,’ and ‘A Working Man.’ Because he was dealing with 90-minute cassettes, he engineered these albums to be 45 minutes each, so as to fill both sides of a 90-minute cassette. This was a practice that he continued to follow all the way up to his forty-first and forty-second albums, and thereafter he used a mixed combination of analog to digital technology.

These first two albums were very well received and were followed by the third and fourth albums, ‘Forever Friends,’ and, ‘Something Must Be Wrong.’ To Lord Baldwin, these two albums are considered to be his least favorite works, perhaps because when constructing the first two albums, he had a cache of recordings, of which he took out the best material for those albums. He then took the other songs; songs that he later labeled as, ‘B’ songs, and with a few added newly recorded good songs, he constructed the third and fourth albums. Lord Baldwin realized it was a mistake to use already unwanted songs or to be precise, renditions of his songs that did not meet his standards; an error he did not repeat, except for the 28th and 29th albums, for where there were more new, ‘A’ than ‘B’ material songs, and of which, he also felt that some of the ‘B’ songs were marginally classified.

Lord Baldwin borrowed a keyboard from Diane’s Cousin Martha where he was able to add a percussion of sorts, along with keyboard and organ music to grace his songs. The Keyboard was cheap and had a funky, plastic sound to it, but he nevertheless used it to its capacity and embellished six albums with its sounds before Cousin Martha asked for it back.

In May of 1992, Lord Baldwin lost his three-year-old son, Christopher Michael, which sent him into a long period of mourning. Perhaps more than anything else, Lord Baldwin’s music brought him comfort and relief from his anguish. After a Yamaha keyboard was sent anonymously to his house, he began to record again. This new keyboard had a stronger, realer piano sound along with other percussion settings that allowed him expand the scope of his work and embellish his recordings with a truer sound. ‘Spinning My Wheels,’ his ninth album, and, ‘Heaven,’ his tenth album, were the first albums to reflect this new sound.

In September of 1992, while driving his daughter Lori, (along with the rest of the family), up to Western Washington University, they listened strictly to country and western stations during the three hour drive to get up there. It was while driving that Lord Baldwin compiled the words to the song, ‘You’ve Got To Believe,’ and on the way back home, decided to record a country and western album. As per his methodology of the past, using a combination of newly written and already written but newly arranged songs, he recorded albums eleven and twelve; ‘A Long Way From My Home,’ and ‘You’ve Got To Believe.’ Although Lord Baldwin was limited to the four tracks and was not able to record exactly what he’d imagined, much of the material reflects the spirit of his lyrical and musical vision.

In 1993, Lord Baldwin recorded another ten albums, working off of more newly written material, and prolifically writing songs and lyrics. While writing and recording songs, many musical ideas came to Lord Baldwin that he recorded to maybe find words for at a later time. He recorded six albums of these musical pieces, a few of which were later converted with lyrics. More material came to him and by 1994 more than half of each album was graced with new songs.

In 1994 he began writing short stories about his life and times as a young Boy Scout in 1963. When his mother passed away in 1996, his motivation diminished and he shelved the stories and went back to songwriting full time. In early 2001, Lord Baldwin returned to writing, but this time he began working on a novel, compiling the stories from his past as chapters. He continued to slowly work on this book, called Stepping Between The Ants, spending an hour each day to write. Almost two years later not quite done with the book, he let some of his family and friends read the stories, but after getting negative responses he tabled the project.

In late 2002, he started working on a new book, this one called. Heads, or Tales from the Summer Of Love. This story chiefly documents the life of a 17-year-old boy named Reuben, a teenager in the late sixties living in Los Angeles, that, through a comedy of errors, finds himself living out on the streets during the summer of 1967. This story also follows the lives of six other characters as well as Reuben’s family. This book took about four years to write and another half a year to edit.

After getting much more favorable reviews on Heads, or Tales from the Summer Of Love, Lord Baldwin was encouraged to go back and rewrite the first book, Stepping Between The Ants. The rewrite took another two years and eventually was available in the summer of 2011. After he finished that project, Lord Baldwin went back to recording, and continues to write songs to the present day.

Lord Baldwin has had many performances, headlined benefit concerts and made appearances on radio and television.

With the help of his friend, Gregory Flothe, this web site became a reality.