Mudcat Café message #874146 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #32602   Message #874146
Posted By: harvey andrews
24-Jan-03 - 05:41 PM
Thread Name: Blind Blake Calypso singer???
Subject: RE: Blind Blake Calypso singer???
I posted this sometime ago on a previous thread. Thought I should add it here. I have the one album but oh! what I'd give for the other four!!

In the 70's I flew with a CSE (Combined Services Entertainment) tour to Belize via the Bahamas. As we were flying in to Nassau we began to sing some of Blind Blake's songs. I was surprised three or four other musicians knew them too. They'd bought the same album, remaindered in Woolworth's I think for 2/6d.

We were let off the plane for an hour as it refueled and went in to the airport lounge. I led the way. I noticed an old man sitting just inside the door, a sign beside him saying "Blind Blake and his trio". I stopped the others and knelt down and asked "Are you Blind Blake, sir?" He raised his head and grunted a soft "Yes". I couldn't believe it!! I told him we knew his songs and sang them in the folk clubs in England. He didn't really believe me, so I persuaded him to step out into the light so we could have our photos taken with him. I was ecstatic when he unpacked an old banjo and posed with me and my guitarist Graham Cooper. I have the photos still and I've never beamed a bigger smile.

I asked him to play and he started "Run come see". That's when we all joined in with harmonies. We sang "Jones" and "watermelon" too I think. When we finished there wasn't a dry eye in sight, certainly not Blake's. A couple of young men came then, his accompanists, and I told them we loved the man and his songs and that they must look after him as he was a treasure. They said they knew that.

We had a few minutes left before re-boarding the plane and I spotted a stall selling records and LP's. I rushed over and told the young girl to sell me everything she had by Blind Blake. She looked at me quizzically. "Who?" she asked. I pointed to the old man sitting on the bench by the door. "Oh, the old man who plays for the tourists when they get off the plane? No, we got nothing by him" She shrugged. He was just the old man, no more than a busker.

It was one of the most poignant, moving and special hours of my life and I think a moment that changed my life and made me feel a part of something much bigger than my own career...the world of creativity and the way it's taken for granted and cherished by so few. "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone" If you love somebody's work, cherish them, support them, and buy it. I've seen others on that metaphorical bench who should never have been there either and I've always thought it a crime.