Not to be confused with Blind Arthur Blake
, the blues singer and ragtime guitarist of the 1920s and 1930s, this Blind Blake
recorded a series of album in the early 1950s amid the earliest phases of the calypso boom, backed by the Royal Victoria Hotel Calypso Orchestra. Curiously, there is a blues/ragtime feel to some of their material, though there's no way that they could ever be mistaken for players in either field.
The calypso Blind Blake
(use it sort of like "Country Johnny Mathis") was a fixture in and around Nassau in the Bahamas for 20 years before he cut his first record, and it was a little late to teach him much about showmanship. He had most of what he needed in his delivery of his songs, which included genuine island numbers as well as pieces like "The John B. Sail" (better known to most of us, especially Beach Boys
fans, as "Sloop John B."). Blake
never became a major star, lacking the smooth, pop-style appeal of Harry Belafonte
or the compositional creativity of Irving Burgie
, but he was one of the better authentic island musicians whose work made it to the United States in the 1950s.