on 23 January 2007
Having recorded pre-war, Gary, an ordained preacher and blind man, gravitated to preaching on the street corners of Harlem. Discovered and taken up during the Folk Revival of the late 50s and early 60s, his superb guitar style was widely copied by enthusiastic white admiers, a series of whom 'guided' him around and sat at his feet. In general, Gary had decided to play blues no more, concentrating on gospel song accompanied by a heavily emphasised ragtime style. Despite this he did drink on occasions and could be persuaded to play the old tunes. This allows us access to ragtime glories such as Cocaine Blues, and also the sublime Candy Man, sung in the latter case in a voice much damaged by street life but, nonetheless of touching emotional power. There is not a track on this whole disc which is not worthy of extended listening. Not only is this a recording of priceless historical importance, but it is an absolute joy to listen to.