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Author Topic: New Blind Blake  (Read 7526 times)

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Offline banjochris

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2008, 03:06:54 PM »
Just to get the record straight, I like Champagne Charlie, too. It's sort of Blake's "Hillbilly Willie's Blues." I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Depression was a request from the studio for a Sitting on Top of the World cover.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #31 on: April 14, 2008, 08:18:16 PM »
Just to get the record straight, I like Champagne Charlie, too. It's sort of Blake's "Hillbilly Willie's Blues." I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Depression was a request from the studio for a Sitting on Top of the World cover.

Yep, wasn't implying that you didn't have good sense ( ;D) just that the usual complaint is something along the lines of oh, Champagne Charlie and Depression's Gone From Me are the demise of Blake, or so bad they're not even him etc etc. Actually, listening to Depression today, there's even a nice, albeit simple, break 2/3 of the way through. Not my fave Blake tune, but there's earlier material that's not my fave stuff either.

Offline CF

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2008, 04:32:46 AM »
A lot of these negative opinions about, say, Blake's detioration at the end of his recording career or Skip James' 60s records seem to have their source from one of the revivalist musicians or writers & then others just tend to repeat that opinion . . . without doing the right thing & listening to the recordings themselves. 'Champagne Charlie' & 'Depression' are welcome additions to Blake's oeuvre in my opinion. At least they're not another damn rag in C or G  :)
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline doctorpep

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2008, 10:41:37 AM »
Yes, the claims about the demise of Blake and James are rooted in white Blues fans and collectors' opinions from four decades or so ago. I bet that the black record-buying public picked up "Depression's Gone From Me Blues" and found nothing wrong with it. Correct me if I'm wrong.
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

http://www.hardluckchild.blogspot.com/

Offline Montgomery

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2008, 11:11:57 AM »
I don't know, I think there was some basis for the speculation that Blake had lost something by his last session.  His last record Depression/Champagne Charlie" comes nearly a year after his last previously-heard record (no collectors had heard the fantastic and uncharacteristic Night & Day/Sun to Sun, which was recorded a few months before his last record).  I happen to love Depression/Champagne Charlie, but it is clearly an uncharacteristic record, and certainly suggests that Blake's playing could have deteriorated.  Champagne is sloppy (perhaps purposely, though it was enough to make some collectors believe it wasn't Blake), and Depression is languid.  Had this record been recorded in 1929, people would think differently, but it is definitely a bizarre coda to Blake's career, and it's no wonder that people speculate about it.  I also found it a little sad that collectors seem to write off this record, because it has so many interesting elements.  But I don't think that white collectors had any agenda in suggesting that maybe Blake's abilities had declined (referring to this record; I've never heard people write off "Rope Stretchin'" or his other 1931 recordings).  Fortunately the newly-discovered record suggests that Blake was perhaps at the top of his game, and even expanding his style of playing near the end, which that casts his final record in a different light.

As for James, I know it's a matter of debate, but I think his playing deteriorated in the 60s, at least compared to his pre-war work.  I still enjoy much of the 60s work quite a bit, but I would not say that he was playing as well, or better than, he was on the Paramounts. 

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #35 on: April 15, 2008, 08:15:17 PM »
At least they're not another damn rag in C or G  :)

I resemble that remark! While we're here in the blasphemy department.... Skip James's sixties recordings are a million times better, more profound, more moving, than his earlier stuff in me 'umble. The earlier ones ARE faster however.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #36 on: April 15, 2008, 08:23:26 PM »
Champagne Charlie is spiffing in my opinion chaps! We should all play in so deteriorated a fashion.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline uncle bud

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #37 on: April 15, 2008, 09:02:16 PM »
One of the things that occurs to me in listening to both Champagne Charlie and Depression's Gone From Me in particular, and to a certain extent the excerpts from the newly discovered sides, is that Blake is much more strummy. To someone focused on fingerstyle blues guitar, this may seem either lazy (a word I already used myself), or the result of drinking (as has been claimed before about later Blake), or a deterioration. But we know so little about Blake. It could be that he was playing in more band situations and strumming more on an archtop guitar, as some started to do in the 30s. As Montgomery suggests, maybe this is more a question of moving in different directions than losing it. Champagne Charlie is quite strummy, suggesting a band accompaniment style to me, but the fingerpicking accompaniment to the verses seems solid to me, his touch still great, the bounce still very much there.

Offline Montgomery

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #38 on: April 16, 2008, 07:36:03 AM »
Champagne Charlie is spiffing in my opinion chaps! We should all play in so deteriorated a fashion.

Again, I was not saying that his playing had deteriorated (I love Champagne Charlie); but I don't think that the speculation that his playing had declined near the end is necessarily unfounded, or is some based on some "white blues fans'" malevolent agenda. 

Offline doctorpep

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #39 on: April 16, 2008, 11:39:14 AM »
I didn't mean that white Blues fans have a malevolent agenda. I'm a white Blues fan myself! I just mean that the judgments about the music that some scholars and fans, who just so happened to be white, passed in the 1960s seem to have been repeated blindly in many cases. I don't think that blacks who were buying these records eighty years ago scrutinized guitar work too much, unless they happened to be serious players themselves. To the best of my knowledge, most of the record buyers were females who weren't players, and had a little extra money after a long week of work. I think "Depression is Gone from Me Blues" is a bit boring and uncharacteristic of Blake. Any idea why Yazoo chose to put it on their Blake compilation? Perhaps they have a different viewpoint of the song than some of us.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2008, 11:43:01 AM by doctorpep »
"There ain't no Heaven, ain't no burning Hell. Where I go when I die, can't nobody tell."

http://www.hardluckchild.blogspot.com/

Offline dj

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #40 on: April 16, 2008, 12:12:20 PM »
Quote
...the judgments about the music that some scholars and fans... passed in the 1960s seem to have been repeated blindly in many cases

That's at least partly because, back in those pre-internet, pre-Document days, it was so hard to get a copy of the music and hear for one's self.  Back in the late 60s when I was in high school, I hung out with a half-dozen or so people who were really into the blues and who were record collectors to boot.  Several times a year we'd go to New York City or Boston to look for records.  And still we mustered a few hundred country blues tracks among us.  Most of this stuff we just hadn't heard.  So if Sam Charters said an artist was good or bad (or implied it by mentioning or not mentioning that artist), we believed him because we had no evidence to the contrary.

   

HunkyPicker

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #41 on: June 01, 2008, 03:53:33 PM »
Wow... this stuff is incredible.  Much better sound quality than most old Blake I've heard.

Has anybody actually heard these the whole way through yet, and is this Trunk of Blues actually on the market yet?

Offline CF

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #42 on: June 01, 2008, 04:39:11 PM »
See this thread for the imminent release of the Blake tracks:

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=4956.msg37817;topicseen#msg37817

Again, I'm confused why Old Hat would license these recordings to Tefteller. I probably won't be buying the OH release now . . .
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

HunkyPicker

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #43 on: June 01, 2008, 09:32:03 PM »
I'm not sure who Tefteller is.  I know a lot of these players and have learned some here and there, but the depth of this community boggles the mind.  Is this his site:  http://www.bluesimages.com/

Does he put out blues calendar every year that comes with a CD?  Does he do other things too?  Hey... I'm heading over to the Weeniepedia...

HunkyPicker

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Re: New Blind Blake
« Reply #44 on: June 01, 2008, 09:36:10 PM »
OK, interesting guy.  He and Joe Bussard must be twin sons of different mothers!