The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162706 Message #3875593
Posted By: Will Fly
07-Sep-17 - 03:21 AM
Thread Name: Stephen Calt's biography of Skip James
Subject: RE: Stephen Calt's biography of Skip James
Blind Blake, in the opinion of the Rev. Gary Davis - himself a consummate guitarist - was "alright", i.e. a good player. Woody Mann, who studied with Davis as a teenager (like many another) quotes Davis as having a poor opinion of many of the older blues players, such as John Hurt. "Old fashioned" was his description.
Davis himself had a superb knowledge of the guitar - as I saw for myself at the old Free Trades Hall in Manchester in '64 or '65. (Can't remember the exact year, but he was top of a bill which included Jack Elliott, Buffy Sainte Marie, etc.) - where he demonstrated an astounding technique and stage presence.
Davis was right - Blake played guitar like a pianist, alternating bass runs with treble melodic lines in a very sophisticated manner. I like other players such as Hurt, Patton, James, etc., but Blake and Davis are - for me - the giants.