Friday, November 22, 2013

Blind Blake - Reborn and Remastered - The Rough Guide to Blues Legends

Blind Blake is famous for his "piano-sounding" guitar playing, and has influenced any guitar picker to follow, and his sounds are especially evident in the likes of Gary Davis, Willie McTell and Ry Cooder. His style was rag-time and blues and, as with most musicians of the time, blended these and other styles to make up his own. Per the liner notes of this CD, he is credited as one of the earliest practitioners of Piedmont finger style (the Carolina Chocolate Drops are well versed in this and cover at least one of his songs) and recorded 79 sides between 1926 and 1932 after which he disappeared  from music and passed away around the age of 40.

Of course, his music lives on - thankfully! The songs here range from terrific rag-time breakdowns ("Blind Arthur's Breakdown"), to goofy tunes ("He's In the Jailhouse Now", "Diddie Wah Diddie" - very different than the r'n'r song that we all know), to more standard blues - albeit with fine finger-pickin'. Some of his talking numbers are a little hokey, but the playing is always stellar. Great stuff!

This comes with a 24-track bonus CD of artists doing similar music (often influenced by Blake), including Blind Willie McTell, Big Bill Broonzy, Charlie Patton, Robert Wilkins, Robert Johnson, Rev. Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Lemon Jefferson and many more. This set also includes at least a number or two that the Chocolate Drops cover. This is a superior set and a terrific buy!