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Blind Blake

"Blind" Blake was an influential blues singer and guitarist.

Born: unknown, probably around 1893, Jacksonville, Florida
Died: unknown, probably around 1933,

Blind Blake recorded about 80 tracks for Paramount records in the late twenties and early thirties. He was one of the most accomplished guitarists of his genre with a surprisingly diverse range of material. His complex and intricate fingerpicking has inspired Rev Gary Davis, Jorma Kaukonen, Ry Cooder, Ralph Mctell and many others.

Very little is known about his life. His birthplace was listed as Jacksonville, Florida by Paramount Records but even that is in dispute. Nothing is known of his death. Even his name is not certain. The copyright submissions for his songs use some variation on Blind Arthur Blake although there is a suggestion that his real name was Arthur Phelps.

His first recordings were made in 1926 and his records sold well. His first solo record was Early Morning Blues with West Coast Blues on the B-side. Both are excellent examples of his style. 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 later years. It is likely that this lead to his early death.

There is only one photograph of Blind Blake in existence.