Spent my entire shift, a little over six and a half hours, listening to the complete recordings of Blind Blake. Listened to the last CD twice, which included his final recording session up in Grafton, Wisconsin. Please make a pilgrimage to his gravesite, if you can manage it. I understand how tight your schedule must be, but it makes perfect sense that you end your tour by paying homage to this great man.
He died in 1934 in Milwaukee and was buried “at the Glen Oaks Cemetery in Glendale, Wisconsin.”
Jaysus, think about it for a moment. The parallels are too obvious and too funny to let the opportunity pass.
Many consider Blind Blake to have been the greatest guitar virtuoso of the country blues. Although I equally love many players who had less technique than him, I can’t argue with this glowing assessment. Even Reverend Gary Davis cited him as his favorite. I’d include Blind Lemon Jefferson and some others, but for now we’ll keep the spotlight on Blind Blake. I’ve enclosed directions. Do it!!!
Thanks for your directions to Blind Blake’s grave.
As you know, I had been looking forward to visiting this grave for some time.
So after our show in the Pabst Theatre, I was getting excited to head out there as it was only a few miles away. But, alas, it was getting late, and as it was the last show of the tour, everybody was in party mode and not exactly in the mood for visiting graves in the dead of night. So we hit the pub that night and got pretty drunk. (The pub, by the way, was called the Spy Bar. The entrance fee involved us doing a dance and getting into a phonebox on the street, which was actually a secret elevator that lowered us into the underground pub. Once in the pub, there was numerous other secret doorways and entrances that led to different rooms. Weird.)
Anyway, the more drunk I got the more convinced I was that we had to go to the grave. I had to convince The Goose, as he was our designated driver. I searched through the weird maze, and finally found The Goose on the dancefloor doing a backflip with a drink in his hand without spilling a drop. After a little persuasion it was decided, at 3am to go find the grave of Blind Blake!
It was a deep winter night, the snow was up to our shins as we piled into the Goose Mobile. It was hard to seperate the road from the ditch as snow completely covered the roads the further we got out of town. The Goose was getting drunker as he drove us into the outskirts of Milwaukee. It suddenly hit me that we were not far from Plainfield, the home of Ed Gein, and I got a chill.
We found the graveyard after some arguing. The gate was open so we drove in, paying particular attention to your directions of exactly where the grave lay in the yard. We weren’t having much luck finding it though. Remember, the grave is only marked by a small slab on the ground and the place was covered in snow. Plus it was pure darkness and we were drunk as hell.
We were definitely in the right area according to your co-ordinates, but due to the snow and the darkness we couldn’t see a thing, so after some cold searching we decided to give up. The beer I had been sipping now tasted rank so I began to pour the rest of my bottle out. As I poured the beer onto the ground, the snow melted away under it, and I started to see something. I grabbed The Goose’s beer and poured some more and under the melting snow we gathered round to see a stone slab that read ”Here Lies Arthur (Blind) Blake. King of Ragtime Guitar. 1896-1934”.
I passed on your regards.
See you whenever,