Includes liner notes by Steve Calt, Woody Mann and Don Kent.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Audio Remasterer: Richard Nevins.
Liner Note Authors: Don Kent; Stephen Calt; Woody Mann.
Little is known about Blind Blake, including the date of his birth and death. His recording career lasted six years, from 1926-1932, and included 79 titles. After this, he disappeared. His music, however, has survived. Blake's a distinguished vocalist, with a steady medium range reminiscent of Big Bill Broonzy. His easy delivery on "Too Tight Blues, No. 2" and "Georgia Bound" is immediately accessible. The ragtime flavor of many of the tunes creates a light and happy blues. Even when the songs occasionally turn bare and graphic, covering everything from suicide to sex to murder, Blake's spry delivery comes off as joyful. There are also a number of ragtime-influenced instrumentals like "Southern Rag," "Blind Arthur's Breakdown," and "West Coast Blues" that feature his complicated guitar work. "Blind Arthur's Breakdown" is a tour de force in ragtime guitar that features complicated fingerpicking and multiple changes in pacing. Blake is accompanied on several cuts by other unidentified musicians, including a harmonica player on "Panther Squall Blues" and vibraphonist on "Doggin' Me Mamma Blues." It would have been helpful to know a little more about these musicians, though this information may not be available. The liner notes provide a good overview of Blake's music and try to sort out the fact and fiction of his scant biography. These recordings have been transferred from 78s, scratches, surface noise, and all. This is particularly noticeable on songs like "Ice Man Blues" and "Guitar Chimes," but both Blake's vocals and guitar picking remain discernable, and it's probably fortunate that these recordings have been preserved at all. With The Best of Blind Blake, Yazoo has released another fine recording of vintage blues. ~Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.