James "Jim" Blake
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Jim Blake, age 75, passed away Thursday afternoon, October 1, 2020, while being treated in the Regional One Health Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee for a fractured pelvis after a recent fall.

Blake was the ringleader of some of the most amazing underground music and art of the 60's, 70's and into the 80's. In 1968, while working for Pop-I's Records, Blake published underground newspapers, including Strawberry Fields and Atlantis. He then went on to own and run the first head shop and record store in Memphis called The Yellow Submarine, putting Blake in a central city role impacting countless early Baby Boomers. This is where he met a young teenage Jerry Lawler trading his hand-drawn artwork for records. They struck a unique bond, aided by their mutual love of art and music, that remained strong until Blake's final days.

In 1974, Blake was convinced by his good friend from college, producer Jim Dickinson, to produce a record on Lawler. This started a string of entrepreneurial adventures that followed with Lawler as he rose to fame as the wrestling King of the South. Meanwhile with Dickinson as his mentor, Blake figured the odds were in his favor as a creative visionary in the music industry. Blake embarked on a career creating "Memphis" records, using only the best Memphis musicians. Soon after, Barbarian Records was born, with studio sessions that are still legendary. In the 80's and 90's, Blake produced for local artists in Memphis and expanded to Los Angeles, producing a studio album for the band DFX2.

Blake leaves his beloved daughter, Mesmery Blake (the Barbarian Heiress), his ex-wife, Nancy Parris... as well as many true, loyal friends and a world of acquaintances from all the years he lived in Memphis.

Blake was one of the most unique people to ever grace this planet. His brilliance, creativity and sharp wit were mixed with a fun, gentle, loving soul. He was a visionary and artist like no other, a child at heart and a savior of kittens. His absence hits deep and will be felt for a long time.

Jim's wishes were to be cremated. Brent Taylor & Paul B McCarver Funeral Home has charge. A celebration of life as unique as Jim is being planned for a later date.

Brent Taylor-Paul B. McCarver Funeral Directors www.brenttaylorfuneraldirectors.com (901)707-8115

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Published in The Daily Memphian from Oct. 5 to Oct. 6, 2020.
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