- Blind Blake
Infobox musical artist
Name = Blind Blake
Img_capt = The only known photograph of Blind Blake, circa 1927
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Arthur Blake
Born = ca. 1893
Died = 1933?
Jacksonville, Florida, USA (uncertain)
Piedmont blues, ragtime, country blues
"Blind" Blake (born Arthur Blake, circa 1893,
Jacksonville, Florida; died: circa 1933) was an influential blues singerand guitarist. He is often called "The King Of Ragtime Guitar".
Blind Blake recorded about 80 tracks for
Paramount Recordsin the late 1920s and early 1930s. He was one of the most accomplished guitarists of his genre with a surprisingly diverse range of material. He is best known for his distinct guitar sound that was comparable in sound and style to a ragtime piano. [ [http://www.gracyk.com/blake1.shtml The King Of Ragtime Guitar: Blind Blake & His Piano-Sounding GuitarBy Jas Obrecht] ]
Little is known about his life. His birthplace was listed as Jacksonville, Florida by Paramount Records but that is not firmly established. On one recording he slipped into a
Geecheedialect, prompting speculation that he was from the Georgia coastal region. Nothing is definitely known of his death and even his name is not certain. During recordings he was asked about his real name, which he gave as Blind Arthur Blake, also listed on some of the song credits. This strengthens his case on his real name, although it has been suggested by some that his real name was Arthur Phelps. There is only one surviving photographof him in existence.
His first recordings were made in 1926 and his records sold very well. His first solo record was "Early Morning Blues" with "West Coast Blues" on the B-side. Both are considered excellent examples of his ragtime-based guitar style and are prototypes for the burgeoning
Piedmont blues. Blake made his last recordings in 1932, the end of his career aided by Paramount's bankruptcy. It is often said that the later recordings have much less sparkle and, allegedly, Blind Blake was drinking heavily in his final years. It is likely that this led to his early death at only 40 years. (The exact circumstances of his death are not known; Reverend Gary Davissaid in an interview that he had heard Blake was killed by a streetcar.) [cite news
url = http://guitarvideos.com/interviews/davis/index.html
title = Reverend Gary Davis Interview
accessdate = 2006-08-04
publisher = Stefan Grossman]
His complex and intricate finger picking has inspired
Reverend Gary Davis, Jorma Kaukonen, Ry Cooder, Ralph McTelland many others. French singer/songwriter Francis Cabrelrefers to Blind Blake in the song "Cent Ans de Plus" on the 1999 album "Hors-Saison." Cabrel cites the artist as one of a number of blues influences, including Charley Patton, Son House, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson (musician), Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixonand Ma Rainey.
Other people that used the same name
It should be noted that on a few records where white
jazzguitarist Eddie Langsat in with African Americangroups, the record companies listed Lang as "Blind Blake". Most of those recordings, principally with Lonnie Johnson, gave Lang the name "Blind Willy Dunn".
There is also an entirely different artist who recorded multiple LPs under the name "Blind Blake". Alphonso "Blind Blake" Higgs was one of the most popular singers in
The Bahamasin the 1950s, leading the house bandat the Royal Victoria Hotel. His records were spread all over the U.S. by tourist fans, and several of his songs became folk standards. (Even Johnny Cashwas influenced, basing his hit "Delia" on an old blues balladfrom Georgia that Blake had adapted into a calypso).
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