miércoles, 3 de agosto de 2011

Blind Blake

"Blind" Blake (born Arthur Blake, circa 1893, Jacksonville, Florida; died: circa 1933) was an influential blues/ragtime singer and guitarist. He is often called "The King of Ragtime Guitar"
Blind Blake recorded about 80 tracks for Paramount Records between 1926 and 1932. He was one of the most accomplished guitarists of his genre with a surprisingly diverse range of material. He is best known for his distinct guitar sound that was comparable in sound and style to a ragtime piano.

Little is known about his life. His birthplace was listed as Jacksonville, Florida by Paramount Records but that is not firmly established. On one recording he slipped into a Geechee dialect, prompting speculation that he was from the Georgia coastal region. Nothing is definitely known of his death and even his name is not certain. According to one source, his real name was Arthur Phelps, although concrete evidence for this claim is lacking. The "Phelps" name theory was entirely based on a response given by Blind Willie McTell in an interview conducted in 1955 in Atlanta, where Blake has never been reported; nor did McTell ever reside in Chicago.
His first recordings were made in 1926 and his records sold very well. His first solo record was "Early Morning Blues" with "West Coast Blues" on the B-side. Both are considered excellent examples of his ragtime-based guitar style and are prototypes for the burgeoning Piedmont blues. 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. Stefan Grossman and Gayle Dean Wardlow think its possible that only one side of Blake's last record is actually by him. "Champagne Charlie Is My Name" does not actually sound like Blake's playing or singing. Allegedly, Blind Blake was drinking heavily in his final years. It is likely that this led to his early death at only 40 years old. The exact circumstances of his death are not known; Reverend Gary Davis said in an interview that he had heard Blake was killed by a streetcar.

His complex and intricate finger picking has inspired Reverend Gary Davis, Jorma Kaukonen, Ry Cooder, Ralph McTell, Leon Redbone and many others. French singer-songwriter Francis Cabrel refers to Blind Blake in the song "Cent Ans de Plus" on the 1999 album Hors-Saison.


"Blind" Blake, cuyo nombre real era Arthur Blake, nació alrededor del año 1893 en Jacksonville, Florida y falleció alrededor del año 1933. Fue un cantante y guitarrista de blues estadounidense muy influyente, tradicionalmente considerado el creador del Estilo Piedmont, recibiendo la denominación de "El Rey de la guitarra ragtime".
Blind Blake grabó alrededor de 80 temas para la discográfica Paramount Records en los últimos años de la década de 1920 y en los primeros años de la década de 1930; fue uno de los guitarristas más prolíficos en su género con una amplia variedad de material musical grabado y publicado. Su complejidad al tocar, y el manejo intrínseco que hacia de la púa, inspiraron entre otros a Reverend Gary Davis, Jorma Kaukonen, Ry Cooder y Ralph Mctell. Blake es más conocido por el sonido distintivo de su guitarra, el cual era comparable al sonido y al estilo de un piano ragtime.

Se conoce muy poco de su vida; según Paramount Records, su lugar de nacimiento se enmarca en Jacksonville, Florida, pero incluso ese dato es discutible. Nada se sabe de su muerte e incluso se duda de su propio nombre. Durante las grabaciones que realizaba se le preguntaba por su verdadero nombre, contestando él que se llamaba Blind Arthur Blake (a pesar de ello existe una posibilidad de que su verdadero nombre fuera Arthur Phelps).
Sus primeras grabaciones datan de 1926, teniendo éxito las ventas de las mismas. Su primera grabación en solitario fue el tema "Early Morning Blues", con la canción "West Coast Blues" en la cara B del disco; ambas grabaciones se consideran ejemplos excelentes de su estilo. Blake realizó su última grabación en 1932, año que marcó el fin de su carrera debido a la quiebra de la discográfica Paramount. Suele decirse que en sus últimas grabaciones hay menos 'chispa' debido, supuestamente, a que Blake bebía excesivamente durante sus últimos años; es probable que este fuera el motivo de su temprana muerte a la edad de 40 años (las circunstancias exactas de su muerte no se conocen. Reverend Gary Davis indicó en una entrevista que conocía rumores del fallecimiento de Blake debido a un accidente de tráfico).

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