Blind Blake Vol 3 1928-1929
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Complete Recorded Works c. July 1926 – c. June 1932
Vol 3: May 1928 to August 1929
Featuring the recordings of:
Elzadie Robinson, vocal, acc. Johnny Dodds, clarinet; Blind Blake, guitar / whistle (on 1); Jimmy Bertrand, xylophone. Blind Blake, vocal / guitar; unknown, cornet on 11; unknown, piano on 11; Jimmy Bertrand, xylophone on 11. Blind Blake, vocal / guitar; Alex (?) Robinson, piano. No vocal but incidental talking on 16. Blind Blake, vocal (speech on 17) / guitar; Charlie Spand, piano on 17; Aletha (possibly Aletha Dickerson), piano on 23 Blind Blake, vocal / guitar.
Genre: Blues, Early Chicago Blues, Georgia Blues, Country Blues, Ragtime Guitar, Blues Guitar, Blues Piano, Female Blues.
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. Blind Blake, one of the top blues guitarists and singers of the 1920s, is a mystery figure whose birth and death dates are not definitively known. He recorded 84 selections in six years (1926-1932), and all have been reissued on four Document albums (DOCD-5024, DOCD-5025, DOCD-5026, DOCD-5027). By 1928 Blind Blake had gathered a faithful following, his appeal probably being due to the scope of his material, his popularity rivaling that of Blind Lemon Jefferson. The third volume in the series opens featuring Blake in the role of sideman, lending his brilliant guitar leads in support of Elzadie Robinson on Elzadie’s Policy Blues and Pay Day Daddy Blues. Returning to recording under his own name, a session, or sessions, held during September 1928 seemed to find Blake obsessed by women and the problems they were causing him, at times sounding lachrymal and despondent Search Warrant, Back Door, desperate Walkin Across The Country and positively violent as in Notoriety Woman, To keep her quiet I knocked her teeth out her mouth, that notoriety woman is known all over the south. The final number recorded that month, Sweet Papa Low Down, with its cornet, piano and xylophone accompaniment, evoke the kind of bouncy tune popular with practitioners of the Charleston dance craze. It was to be a further nine months before Blake recorded again, this time in company with pianist Alex Robinson. The five titles cut were of a far less suicidal nature than previous and on one number in particular, Doin A Stretch, his approach owed much to the style of Leroy Carr. There then followed a session in August 1929 which teamed him with Detroit pianist Charlie Spand that was to produce some of Blind Blakes most vital and memorable recordings of his career. Hastings St., a swinging, boogie based piano and guitar duet, is primarily a showcase for the talents of Spand with the vocal banter between the pair celebrating the good times to be found in Detroits Black Bottom, Out on Hastings Street doing the boogie, umm, umm, very woogie in much the same manner as John Lee Hooker did in Boogie Chillun twenty years later. One of the best known mythical themes in black folklore is that of Diddie Wa Diddie, a kind of heaven on earth, a utopia of no work, no worries and all the food one could wish for. Blind Blake, while playing some mesmerising guitar, pokes fun at the idea, claiming that as far as hes concerned its a great big mystery, his Diddie Wa Diddie is one for sexual gratification. The following year he cynically accepted the meaning (see Document DOCD-5027). The theme was taken up by in the 5Os by popular R&B singer, Bo Diddley. The unmistakable resonance of the steel-bodied National guitar introduces Police Dog Blues, one of Blakes most lyrical songs and is notable for his use of the harmonics during the instrumental breaks, where he makes the guitar sound most like a piano (to borrow Leadbellys description of the technique). The haunting melody of Georgia Bound is common to the blues having been used by Charlie Patton (Tom Rushen Document DOCD- 5009), Big Bill Broonzy (Shelby County Blues document DOCD-5051) and Robert Johnson (From Four Till Late), to name but some, the sentiments of the song bearing an air of weary resignation suggesting that Blind Blake had more than just a passing acquaintance with the State. Despite the onset of the Depression, Blake went on recording, albeit sporadically, until 1932, lasting longer than many others as demonstrated in the final Document album of his work, Volume 4 (DOCD-5027).Alan Balfour Copyright 1991 & 2008 Document Records