History has plenty of characters that flash upon the cultural landscape like the proverbial shooting star - a bright, unforgettable flash, then gone, leaving only an afterglow within those watching. Blind Blake was one such - his career spanned the years 1926-32, then nada. Yet his influence is felt far & wide: from acoustic blues avatars Josh White and the Rev. Gary Davis to the babyboomers and post-b’b’mers Ry Cooder, Dave Van Ronk, John Fahey, Leon Redbone, Capt. Beefheart and Alvin Youngblood Hart. (The oft-covered blues/rock standard "Diddy Wah Diddy" - it's Mr. Blake's.) Though he’s classified as a blues performers, that’s a slightly inadequate handle - Blake’s music was based in the blues, true, but it was never "just" the 12-bar form and my-baby-done-left-me moaning. Blake’s songs and astonishing heavy-on-fancy-picking guitar playing encompassed folk, ragtime, early country music, music hall and jugband styles, his vocal delivery was irrepressibly jaunty, and while not "polished," was full-bodied and smooth, in sharp contrast to the wailing moans of Charlie Patton or Skip James. (That’s not a "knock" on Patton or James, don’cha know.) One can imagine Blake being a one-man band for country dances in the 20s, or bringing a parlor or back-porch full of people to their feet. This isn’t "blues" to bemoan one’s lot or exorcise one’s demons (personal or not), it’s music to bring a smile to yer kisser, to start tapping your foot, to release and celebrate the joy locked within your heart. Because these recordings were taken from 78 RPM records that weren’t great sounding when new, the sound on this set is frequently hissy n' crackly - but so what, in this era of Digital Splendor, it’s kind of charming.... besides, you can always pretend someone’s frying bacon nearby. The quality of the MUSIC (all 23 tunes worth!) more than makes up for any imperfections in the recorded sound. Acoustic blues fans and acoustic guitar devotees will be in hog heaven with this platter!