Blind Blake Vol 2 1927-1928
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Complete Recorded Works c. July 1926 – c. June 1932
Vol: 2 (October 1927 to May 1928)
Featuring the recordings of:
Blind Blake, vocal / guitar Blind Blake, vocal / guitar; Gus Cannon, banjo on 4. Blind Blake, vocal / guitar; Johnny Dodds, clarinet (except on 6); Jimmy Bertrand, slide Whistle on 7 and 8 / woodblocks on 8 / xylophone on 6 and 9 / vocal or speech on 6 and 8. Elzadie Robinson, vocal; acc. Johnny Dodds, clarinet; Blind Blake, guitar / whistle (on 10); Jimmy Bertrand, xylophone. Blind Blake, vocal / guitar (except on 20)/ piano (on 20); Bertha Henderson, vocal on 15, 16, 17, 19 and 20. Daniel Brown, vocal; accompanied by. Tiny Parham, piano; Blind Blake, guitar; unknown, washboard. Blind Blake, vocal / guitar; possibly George Bullet Williams or probably own harmonica.
Genres: Blues, Country Blues, Early Chicago Blues, Georgia Blues, Country Blues Guitar, Blues Guitar, Ragtime Guitar, Blues Harmonica, Female Blues, Blues Piano, Virginia Blues
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. It is Blind Blakes guitar playing abilities though that gives him his place in the development of a style that commentators now classify as ragtime guitar. A dazzling display of this technique can be heard on Southern Rag, a number which hints at his background and perhaps his influences. Accompanying himself with a series of chord changes and alternating thumbed bases he begins a spoken commentary which suddenly moves into the vernacular of the Gullah and Geechie peoples of the Georgia Sea Island, underpinned by a demonstration of an African rhythm on his guitar (Im goin to give you some music they call the Geechie music now), finally lapsing back into his usual speech patterns. Blakes repertoire also extended to popular black medicine and minstrel show material as in Hes In The Jailhouse Now. In this recording he uses the song to make oblique reference to the exploitation of black political representation by carpet-bagging politicians. Some months later, probably in April 1928 Blind Blake recorded with two of Chicagos best known jazz musicians, clarinetist Johnny Dodds and drummer Jimmy Bertrand, who for the session played only woodblocks or slide whistle. How this unlikely alliance came into being is unknown but of the four numbers recorded two, Hot Potatoes and Southbound Rag, were basically instrumentals, presumably intended to feature Dodds famous virtuosity and perhaps sell Blind Blake to the jazz buying public, whilst Doggin Me Mama Blues and CC Pill Blues (C.C. standing for Compound Cathartic) were vocal blues by Blake. One of Blind Blakes greatest strengths was as accompanist to other artists and in this respect he took part in the recordings of a dozen other singers. One such was Elzadie Robinson, who recorded prolifically for Paramount, and was also present at the Dodds / Bertrand session. Jimmy Bertrand on this occasion abandoned his slide whistle in favour of the more orthodox xylophone, only to have Blake periodically warble with it during the trenchant Pay Day Daddy. Singer Bertha Henderson, like Leola B. Wilson on volume one, had her origins in the vaudeville stage but what commands attention here is Blakes piano accompaniment on Let Your Love Come Down, showing his ability to play a syncopated, almost stride, style with his left hand whilst chording with the right. A further measure of his musical versatility can be heard on Panther Squall on which he accompanies himself simultaneously on harmonica and guitar. The harmonica is obviously racked around his neck since the instrument never coincides with the vocal, precipitating a very basic guitar figure, the end result so reminiscent of bluesmen, like Daddy Stovepipe, who also adopted this one-man band technique.Alan Balfour Copyright 1991 & 2008 Document Records