Georgia Bound: The Search for Blind Arthur Blake in 1996

Posted: April 17, 2012 in Blind Blake, Gayle Dean Wardlow, History, Joel Slotnikoff, Pre war blues
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Authors: Gayle Dean Wardlow and Joel Slotnikoff



“Around 1960, Riverside Records issued one of the first country blues albums, a tribute to Blind Blake. In the notes to the album, the writer identified Blake’s real name as Arthur Phelps, but gave no source for that last name. Obviously, the Riverside producers had not heard a copy of Paramount 12911, by Papa Charlie Jackson and Blind Blake, “Papa Charlie and Blind Blake Talk About It – Part 1,” on which Papa Charlie asks Blake, “Blake, What is yo’re right name?”
Without hesitating, Blake retorted, “My right name is Arthur Blake.” That should have ended any controversy about Blake’s last name, but it didn’t. No record was ever issued under the name of Blind Arthur Phelps, even the Broadways were issued under the name Blind George Martin. Later the name Phelps was traced to a comment made by Blind Willie McTell in a 1951 Melody Maker article written by Ed Paterson. That lone comment by McTell continued to be used into the 1970s by various writers as a source for the Phelps name for Blake before falling into disuse.”



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