D. B Pepper | Plainview, NY United States | 03/01/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is the worst Blues DVD I've ever seen. Many essential points to understanding the history of the Blues are missed: Mamie Smith recording the first Black vocal song with the word "Blues" that became a huge hit ("Crazy Blues"), the subsequent popularity of Bessie Smith, Blind Lemon Jefferson becoming the first male Blues star in the Race Records industry, the birth of electric Blues that was necessary when blacks moved north and needed to amplify music in order to be heard in huge crowds, the birth of Rock 'N' Roll around 1954, and the Country Blues revival during the early 1960's. Facets of the terrible documentary which should have been taken out were the footage of Kennedy during the Jimmy Witherspoon song, which was simply idiotic and without reason (not to mention the documentary's failure to state that Witherspoon was covering a song Bessie Smith had popularized), the excessive talk of Blues constantly being associated with the struggle for Civil Rights (many Bluesmen's daily activities were not in line at all with morality), the mentioning of the Beatles and Michael Jackson being heavily influenced by Blues (this is plain absurd), and associating Aretha Franklin with Sarah Vaughan (they were separated by three decades). The Muddy Waters footage was terrible, as they selected one of the worst Muddy performances I've ever seen. There was no effort to fix up the sound quality of not just the performances, but also the narrator's statements, despite the DVD coming out in 1993, and then being touched up during the current decade. In addition, Babe Stovall was not a hugely popular performer during the 1920's, as the DVD states. The closing footage of B.B. King is from the early 1960's, so why was it shown after the narrator talked about B.B. being the representative of the Blues in today's world? Also, Sleepy John Estes was not hugely popular in the 1940's and 1950's, and Elmore James died in the 1960's (instead of being a huge star throughout the decade, as the DVD states). From top to bottom, this is the worst Blues documentary ever. For all of you who claim to know about Blues and give this terrible work 5 stars, you should be ashamed of yourselves."