Release Date: 08/12/03
He Completed his Last Cut. And Vanished.
According to Paramount publicity - not an irrefutable source, Blind Blake is thought to have been born in about 1890 in or around Jacksonville, FL. He turns up in Atlanta in the early 1920s, with a rowdy reputation. It's said that he had at least one fight over a card game. For a blind man to play cards seems reckless, to get into a fight over it is hell-raising of a superior kind. His playing style (disciplined, nuanced, accomplished) has led some critics to suggest a background in dance bands. Whatever his influences he's as much a ragtime player as a bluesman. In 1926 he moved to Chicago - a move possibly at Paramount's behest. They, having had success with Blind Lemon Jefferson wanted to sign more of the same. Jefferson's Got the Blues was recorded around March 1926. By July, Blake was in the studio backing Leola Williams - and in August made the first of the Blind Blake cuts. The first Blake session yielded West Coast Blues which was the only instrumental to be a 'race' hit. Purists describe it as a rag and not a blues, but it's undeniably fine work. The subsequent takes of West Coast Blues were the result of Paramount's use of inferior metal in their masters. Hits would wear the masters out and so have to be rerecorded. Presumably it was cheaper to rerecord the artist than to make tougher masters. Cynical it may have been, but at least the artist got a second payday - the payment of royalties was not a priority. By the end of 1926, Blake had recorded over a dozen numbers. Skeedle Loo Doo Blues and Stonewall Street Blues are further demonstrations of Blake's advanced technique. Too Tight and Come On Boys Let's Do That Messin' Around are essentially lighthearted and intended to ensure the Blake 'offer' stays varied. After an intensive recording career Blake would disappear soon after making his June 1932 recordings. Champagne Charlie Is My Name may not be by Blake, Paramount would be unlikely to have many scruples in the matter.
|Label: Jsp Records|
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