LISTEN TO "DIDDIE WA DIDDIE"
While this two-LP set bears a somewhat long-winded title, Ragtime Guitar's Foremost Fingerpicker remains the definitive Blind Blake document and is certainly preferable to its abridged twenty-three-track CD counterpart. (Completists, of course, can indulge themselves in the five-disc All the Published Sides JSP Records box set if either Yazoo item proves to be insufficient.) The attractive gatefold packaging features the only known photo of the musician, which is enhanced by the beautiful color tinting work of Terry Zwigoff, as well as background pattern artwork by Robert Armstrong that is stylistically reminiscent of designs popular in the 1920s and early 1930s. In other words, had LP technology been around during Blake's lifetime, this is probably what his Greatest Hits could have looked like. Then again, since he recorded for the notoriously stingy Paramount label, it's doubtful that the company would have produced something with such attention to detail. Their cheapness manifests itself most prominently in the generally poor sound quality of Blake's 78s, a characteristic that resulted from the use of substandard material in the pressing process. Nevertheless, his artistry comes through consistently throughout these performances, which range from instrumental or spoken-word-accompanied solo guitar showcases ("Blind Arthur's Breakdown," "Southern Rag," and "Seaboard Stomp") to collaborations with small jazz combos ("C.C. Pill Blues" and "Sweet Papa Low Down") to sides backing female singers Leola B. Wilson ("Black Biting Bee Blues," "Wilson Dam," and "Down the Country Blues"), Irene "Chocolate Brown" Scruggs ("Itching Heel"), and Bertha Henderson ("Let Your Love Come Down") to risque songs ("Hard Pushing Papa," "Diddie Wa Diddie," and "Righteous Blues") and stereotypical lowdown blues sides ("One Time Blues" and "Bad Feeling Blues").
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BLIND LEMON JEFFERSON'S "'LECTRIC CHAIR BLUES"