FEATURED ARTIST / S
Blind Blake Vol 4 (August 1929 to June 1932)
Blind Blake, vocal, guitar.
With contributions by Papa Charlie Jackson, banjo; Irene Scruggs, vocal; and others...
Genres: Ragtime Guitar, Country Blues Guitar.
Informative booklet notes by Alan Balfour.
From this album's booklet notes:
Despite the name of Blind Arthur being used for two guitar solos recorded in October 1929, there can be little doubt that it is Blind Blake who is playing his "famous piano-sounding guitar" (to quote a Paramount advertisement) on Guitar Chimes. It has the same use of harmonics as in 'Police Dog Blues' (DOCD-5026) but played in the key of C and latterly commented on by a noted musicologist thus, "most country blues guitarists were not sufficiently well versed in C to have hazarded such an instrumental". By comparison, Blind Arthur's Breakdown is an object lesson in finger-picking, the playing more in keeping with the technique of Virginian, William Moore. For Baby Lou and Cold Love, Blake again returns to his theme of the mistreating lover, Baby Lou having the chord structure and tempo of the South American tango. In May the following year Blake was in the studio, both in his own right and as accompanist to former St. Louis vaudeville singer, Irene Scruggs. Recording as 'Chocolate Brown', on one song, Itching Heel, Scruggs scoffs at chauvinistic blues singers ("he don't do nothing but play on his old guitar, while I'm busting suds in the white folks yard") to which Blake, in knee-jerk reaction, responds by speeding up the rhythm indicating that the remark hadn't escaped unnoticed. Diddie Wa Diddie No. 2, unlike the first song (DOCD-5026), now finds Blake admitting that he knows what "diddie wa diddie means" which he delivers with heavy irony. In his long career Blake only once recorded a two part blues and in Rope Stretchin' Blues, suitably sung to the tune of 'St James Infirmary', he uses the occasion to recount, with a degree of morbidity, the ultimate penalty resulting from the infidelities of others ("Don't trust no woman who mistreats a man, when you think she's in your kitchen cooking, she's got a stranger by the hand, I have a lots of women I sure don't want none now, she always milks me dry, than ever you milk a cow").
Blind Blake's final two recordings took place in June 1932 and so uncharacteristic is one of the songs that commentators have argued that perhaps two singers were involved with the session. Despite doubts it is fairly certain that Blake sings on Champagne Charlie Is My Name, a song composed by George Leybourne and set to music by Alfred Lee in 1868, found fame in the Victorian music hall. The equally topical Depression's Gone From Me, appropriately sung to the tune of 'Sitting On The Top Of The World', witnessed Blind Blake ending his six year recording career and, one assumes, his life, on a positive note.