Blind Blake Vol. 1 (1926-1927)
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Complete Recorded Works c. July 1926 – c. June 1932
Vol 1: (July 1926 to October 1927)
Featuring recordings by:
Leola B. Wilson, vocal; accompanied by Blind Blake, guitar. Blind Blake, vocal / guitar Leola B. Wilson, vocal; accompanied Blind Blake, guitar; possibly Jimmy Blythe, piano. Blind Blake with Kazoo Band: Blind Blake, guitar; possibly Dad Nelson, kazoo. Blind Blake, vocal / guitar; unknown, rattle-bones
Genres: Country Blues, Country Blues Guitar, Ragtime Guitar, Female Blues, Early Chicago Blues, Virginia Blues
Abridged from this album’s original booklet notes. Over a six year period Blind Blake recorded eighty-four titles together with numerous as house guitarist to artists like Papa Charlie Jackson, Ma Rainey, Leola B. Wilson and Irene Scruggs. This compilation covers his formative years and it has been surmised that initially he made three visits between August and December 1926 to Paramount’s Chicago studio. Blake’s first record West Coast Blues / Early Morning Blues was released on October 2 1926, the former title being basically a dance piece with Blake’s jaunty voice exhorting his listeners to do that old country rock, underpinning the spoken lyric with sophisticated, ragtime guitar accompaniment, taking the opportunity to incorporate a popular advertising slogan of the day (Good to the last drop, just like Maxwell House coffee). Early Morning Blues, on the other hand, was lyrically far more menacing, his warm, wistful and insinuating voice, at times reminiscent of Lonnie Johnson’s approach, giving lie to the seriousness of the subject (When you see me sleeping, baby don’t you think I’m drunk, I got one eye on my pistol, the other one on your trunk).
The role of Blind Blake as accompanist to Leola B. Wilson, an artist who sang on the vaudeville circuit, displays his ability to use double and stop time phrases, as well as managing to copy her vocal range on Down The Country Blues, a number inspired by a Bessie Smith song. The instrumental, Buck Town Dance, with kazoo playing from Dad Nelson, was probably the model for the piece so often recorded by John Hurt and Gary Davis during the 1960s while Dry Bone Shuffle and That Will Never Happen No More have noticeable echoes of minstrel and white influence. As both were recorded as part of a hillbilly session by the Kentucky Thorobreds perhaps Paramount were hoping to sell Blind Blake to both markets. Blake’s true guitar genius is evinced with Sea Board Stomp (perhaps the basis for some of Big Bill Broonzy’s stomps) where, not satisfied with emulating instruments like cornet, saxophone and trombone, he also treats his audience to a lesson in the syncopations of Dixieland Jazz.Alan Balfour Copyright: 1991 & 2008 Document Records.