Search - Masters of the Country Blues: Lightnin Hopkins and Roosevelt Sykes on DVD

Masters of the Country Blues: Lightnin Hopkins and Roosevelt Sykes
Masters of the Country Blues Lightnin Hopkins and Roosevelt Sykes
Actors: Lightnin' Hopkins, Roosevelt Sykes
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
NR     2003     1hr 0min

Studio: E1 Entertainment Release Date: 02/25/2003


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Movie Details

Actors: Lightnin' Hopkins, Roosevelt Sykes
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Pop, Blues, Classical, Biography
Studio: YAZOO
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 02/25/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/1968
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/1968
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Of Historical Interest
FlatpickingJD | California, USA | 01/13/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD is more properly a short documentary on the two principals here, Lightnin' Hopkins and Roosevelt Sykes, as it does not present concert footage exclusively. The footage apparently was recorded by Houston news teams at a University of Houston venue, and may have aired previously. Each man is presented separately, so if you're expecting to see Hopkins and Sykes performing together you'll be disappointed. Interspersed with the songs included is footage of each man discussing his background, how he started playing music and the interesting turns each life took. Sykes in particular waxes philosophic on the Bible and its importance to his life.

The footage is filmed in a style that looks similar to news and TV from the 60s and early 70s, with the way the film is cut and presented. If you've seen footage from Woodstock and news footage of Vietnam, you'll have an idea of how this film appears on screen. That make sense as that's about the time this was filmed.

For guitar fans, you may be disappointed in that you can't really see Hopkins playing. The director and/or cameraman focused mostly on his picking hand than his fingering when it shows him playing at all. Too frequently the focus is on his face as he's playing. If he betrayed emotions as he played, that might have worked, but he was pretty stoic during his numbers. On several of the songs, he's accompanied by someone playing a rubboard (think of old fashioned washboards) and there was an inordinate amount of film devoted to that. Maybe it was just me, but I would've liked to have seen more of Hopkins' actual playing. As for Sykes' playing there seems to be more of an attempt to show him at the keyboard, but it probably is still not that useful for those who want to study his playing style.

4 songs from each performer are featured: Walkin' Down 75 Highway, Short Haired Woman, Mr. Charlie, and Mojo Hand by Hopkins; I Ain't Mad With You; Sykes Boogie, Blue Moon, and My Driving Wheel by Sykes. One song by Sykes is done with his young son, and you'll also see them fishing together. There are a number of short excerpts of other songs by each man as well. These songs do give something of an idea of each performer's style and delivery, which made the shortcomings more tolerable, but there was just too little music for my taste. The audio at times is pretty muddy, moreso with Sykes' section than for Hopkins.

All in all, I enjoyed this as an interesting documentary that fleshes out some information on each artist that might be found elsewhere, though possibly not in their own words. If you're looking for concert footage of each, try looking elsewhere because you may be disappointed in this disc."
...two wonderful films for the discerning viewer!
a listener | UK | 07/26/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"...must take issue with the other review here.
The two documentaries (one on Lightnin' and the other on Roosevelt Sykes), run approx 30 mins each, are in colour, and appear to date from late 1960s.
If you enjoy these two unique personalities, you will not be disappointed -you will love both films!
The films are not so much instructional -more in celebration of two wonderful artists.
If you liked 'The Blues According to Lightnin' Hopkins', then these films are just for you, dear viewer!
You will be delighted to see unique footage of Mr Hopkins performing at his best in rough local bars, and on the Festival stage too.
Roosevelt Sykes is seen at his home relaxing, and then performing on the Concert platform, and then playing for college students, and then also fishing by the Sea!
Both films squeeze plenty into the time available -you will not hear full songs, but I am sure you will not mind, because what you do hear is sooooo good!
Two very nice films (don't worry too much about learning the guitar -if music is in you, it will find a way out!)."