BLAKE, EUBIE. (1883-1983). American ragtime pianist and composer of “I’m Just Wild about Harry,” “Love Will Find a Way,” “Charleston Rag,” “Memories of You,” and other hits. AMusMsS. (“Eubie Blake”). 8pp. Small folio (roughly 9½” x 12½”). N.p.; after 1959. An autograph piano vocal score, in pencil, of his most famous song, “I’m Just Wild about Harry,” with notable differences from the original 1921 sheet music version. Seven pages of music and lyrics on four sheets of “King Brand” lined music paper, totaling 90 triple measures in E-flat Major set to ¾ time; each page bearing Blake’s 1959, Local 802, union stamp. Blake has written on the cover in blue ink “I think Harry would be better for W[altz] if Key of C. Sorry about this number in Lead Pencle [sic].” He has added his initials “E.B.” in red ink to each of these two lines. The first page of music is headed “‘I’m Just Wild about Harry,’ The New Arrangement for Miss Swann, Words by Noble Sissle, Music by Eubie Blake.”
Blake, the son of former slaves who nurtured their child’s musical talent, began composing while playing in clubs, bordellos, medicine shows, and on the vaudeville circuit, where he met composer Noble Sissle and formed the Dixie Duo. Together they composed the groundbreaking musical revue, Shuffle Along, with playwrights Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles whom they had met at an NAACP benefit.