Few blues artists go back and preserve the source of the music, tied with the minute splashes of modern themes. Big Al Blake is a rare bird in that club.
As a child in Oklahoma, he heard and fell in love with blues from the radio. Moving to California in the mid-60's, he hung out at the Ash Grove, meeting Junior Wells, Freddie King, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Sunnyland Slim. Soon after, he moved to San Francisco, where he formed his first band. By the early 70s, he was hanging out with King at the Ash Grove, when he met a plunky long haired large kid playing unearthly guitar. That kid was Hollywood Fats. Quickly they formed the Headhunters with pianist Fred Kaplan, which evolved into the Hollywood Fats Band by adding Richard Innes, and Jerry Smith, later replaced by Larry Taylor. They recorded their self titled album (later titled Rock This House) in 1978, and then broke up in the early '80s. They were a step away from reforming when Fats' died in 1986. Once disbanded, Blake lay low until joining Kim Wilson's Blue Collar label in 1997, releasing Mr. Blake's Blues.