Blues in Chicago


Arthur Blake was born in 1896 in Jacksonville Florida. He died in 1934 in Wisconsin. And even those two facts are not sure. Almost nothing is known about him, except, well, he was a blues and ragtime singer and made about 80 records between 1926 and 1932. In 1932 his record company Paramount had to file for bankruptcy, which meant the end of Blake’s career.

Arthur called himself Blind Blake, but that might be a way to make more money: blind blues singers felt more authentic, so they sold better. Promotional material from the record company suggest that he was born blind.

He might also have died by getting hit by a streetcar, and there was a rumour he died in a blizzard when he fell and couldn’t get up for being overweight. Violent stories, but nothing was ever proven. Most likely he died of tuberculosis on the way to the hospital.

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