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Blind Blake: Police Dog Blues

Arthur "Blind" Blake (1896 – December 1, 1934) was an American blues and ragtime singer and guitarist. He is known for his series of recordings for Paramount Records between 1926 and 1932 and the mystery surrounding his life.
Little is known of Blind Blake's life. Paramount Records promotional materials indicate he was born blind and give his birthplace as Jacksonville, Florida, and he appears to have lived there during various periods. He seems to have had relatives across the state line in Patterson, Georgia. Some authors have written that in one recording he slipped into a Geechee or Gullah dialect, suggesting a connection in the Sea Islands. Blind Willie McTell indicated that his real name was Arthur Phelps, but later research has shown this is unlikely to be correct. In 2011 a group of researchers led by Alex van der Tuuk published various documents regarding Blake's life and death in Blues & Rhythm. One of these documents is his 1934 death certificate, which indicates he was born in 1896 in Newport News, Virginia, to Winter and Alice Blake, though his mother's name is followed by a question mark. Nothing else is known of Blake until the 1920s, when he emerged as a recording musician.
Blind Blake recorded about 80 tracks for Paramount Records from 1926 to 1932.[3] He was one of the most accomplished guitarists of his genre with a diverse range of material. He is best known for his distinct guitar sound that was comparable in sound and style to a ragtime piano.[4] He appears to have lived in Jacksonville and to have gone to Chicago for his recording sessions, at one point having an apartment at 31st Street and Cottage Grove. According to van der Tuuk et al., he apparently returned to Florida during winters. By the 1930s he was reported to be playing in front of a Jacksonville hotel.

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