FEATURED ARTIST / S
Blind Blake, vocal, guitar.
With contributions by; Elzadie Robinson, vocal, Charlie Spand, piano, Jimmy Bertrand, xylophone.
Genre: Country Blues, Ragtime Guitar, Blues Guitar
Informative booklet notes by Alan Balfour
Includes detailed discography.
From this CD's booklet notes:
By 1928 Blind Blake had gathered a faithful following, his appeal probably being due to the scope of his material, his popularity rivalling that of Blind Lemon Jefferson. The third volume in the series opens featuring Blind 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 Blake’s 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 Detroit’s 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. Blake, while playing some mesmerising guitar, pokes fun at the idea, claiming that as far as he’s concerned it’s 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 Blake’s 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 Leadbelly’s 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).
Blind Blake was one of the top ragtime blues guitarists and singers of the 1920s. He recorded 84 selections in six years (1926-1932), and all have been reissued on four Document CDs (DOCD-5024, DOCD-5025, DOCD-5026, DOCD-5027).