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There's still hope to find long-missing blues records

The discovery of a Blind Blake record is proof that just because a record is missing doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

By Susan Sliwicki

Blind Blake had been missing in action for years when he finally turned up in a trailer park in 2007.

It wasn’t due to an episode of “America’s Most Wanted” or “Dog The Bounty Hunter.” This find was more along the lines of “American Pickers,” since it was one of Blind Blake’s long-lost blues records, “Night and Day Blues” b/w “Sun To Sun” (Paramount 13123) that was found tucked away in a steamer trunk in Raleigh, N.C. The record was made during Blake’s penultimate session at Paramount Records, and it hadn’t been heard since its original release in January 1932.

Blake was a very popular, prolific blues artist whose records sold well back in the day. The session for “Night and Day Blues” occurred when Paramount Records was in the midst of the label’s decline.

Blind Blake Night And Day Blues Paramount 13123

Photo courtesy Blues Images.

“I can’t say he made a bad record,” said John Tefteller of Tefteller’s World’s Rarest Records. “He made gobs of records, and they’re all decent, for what they are.”

The copy of Paramount 13123, which was acquired by Marshall Wyatt of Old Hat Records, was one of several discovered in what Wyatt has dubbed the “Trunk Full of Blues.”

Although the record wasn’t in pristine condition, it was in good enough shape to produce a decent-quality reissue, Tefteller said.

“We borrowed it to have it remastered for the Blues Calendar, and that was the first time it was released,” Tefteller said. “Sometimes they turn up looking really battered, and when you play them, they don’t play as battered as they look. Those records were actually astonishingly well made, and all of the damage is on the surface. You can get the needle into the groove where there isn’t any damage.”

While Tefteller feels Paramount 13123 isn’t Blind Blake’s greatest work, he still would like to find a way to add it to his collection someday. So far, no dice, though.

“He (Wyatt) still has the record. I tried to buy it from him, but he kind of wants to keep it,” Tefteller said.

Part of that desire could be due to the inherent value of the (so-far) one-of-a-kind record.
“A decent copy — if a second one was out there — would be around $5,000, which is a lot of money for a Blind Blake record,” Tefteller said.

If you’d like to add one of Blind Blake’s other records to your collection, you’re in luck. “You can go on eBay almost every week and there will be a Blind Blake record,” Tefteller said. “There’s a number of easily found ones. There’s probably 15 of them that turn up on a regular basis, and they sell in used shape for between $200 and $500. When you get up to one that’s really nice, it’s going to be $1,000 and up.”