Essential and indispensable, not to mention entertaining.
Shlomo Pestcoe | 07/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The film covers some of the same territory as Alan Lomax's excellent "The Land Where the Blues Began," apparently a few years down the line. It offers so much--the leisurely, respectful cinematography of Robert Mugge; the enthusiastic, informed, perceptive commentary of the late, lamented Robert Palmer; the riveting performances of Jessie Mae Hemphill, Roosevelt "Booba" Barnes, Junior Kimbrough, and others. The sequence featuring Big Jack "The Oilman" Johnson, particularly on "Catfish Blues," is worth the price of the ticket in itself. It's one of the best juke joint performances ever captured on film. This film is essential, indispensable, and downright captivating."
Can the impact of "deep blues" be measured?
dreschrode | 06/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bankrolled by rockstar superstar Dave Stuart and presented by Robert Palmer, author of the superb book of the same name, this film was a very timely voyage into the blues of missisipi. Timely because a number of the cast have died since this film was shot, including the presenter. Traditional old blues haunts such as Memphis, Clarksdale and Greenville are visited, and fine artists relatively unknown at the time were recorded such as Big Jack Johnson, Booba Barnes and Lonnie Pitchford. Delta old timers Jack Owens, Bud Spires and Booker T. Laury also turn in fine, spirited performances. But for me the highlight is the attention given over to the more obscure "hill country" blues of north missisipi, featuring Jessie Mae Hemphill, R. L. Burnside and the late great Junior Kimbrough and his original juke joint in Holly Springs. Here the music extends from country blues to "drum and fife", a hypnotic musical form that predates blues all the way back to the revolutionary war, but which now faces extinction since the passing of Othar Turner (not featured here, but a close friend of Hemphill). The bonus items are very welcome, especially the extra performances by honkytonk genius Booker T. to the drunk audience comprised of Stuart and Palmer, and Lonnie Pitchford's demonstration of the diddly bow. Also included are extra audio tracks that were originally only available on the soundtrack album (now deleted).This film helped to revive not just interest in country and acoustic blues in general, but the careers of all of the artists featured. This film is well shot, sounds great, and shares the passion and emotion of some great bluesmen and women. After this, try the "Feelin' Good" CD by Jessie Mae Hemphill. Not only is that a beautiful album, but Jessie's an invalid now who desperately needs the cash!"
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 03/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Any fan of the Blues would be in Blues heaven viewing this incredible and wonderful documentary. Although the film was made in the early 90's, you will feel like you are taking a trip back in time, to the early beginnings of this powerful genre of music. The culture of the creation of the Blues, seems to have remained the same, as we tour Mississippi and get a taste of the different styles and wonderful performances by the musicians that not only keep it alive, but show us that it is still the heart and soul of the area.
Director Robert Mugge and guide Robert Palmer, who writes about the Blues(also joined by Dave Stewart for a while) take us right to the front porches, and inside the local juke joints for some fabulous performances. Palmer does a great job of filling us in on the history, but the real treasure of this film is the music. There are quite a few performances in this film that runs about an hour and a half, some even played on homemeade instruments, featuring several styles of the Blues.
The camera does and excellent job of getting up close and personal with the musician's emotions as well as the amazing way these artsits have with their instruments.
A few of the performances we are treated to are:
"Jr. Blues" - Jr. Kimbrough,"Daddy, When Is Momma Coming Home" -Big Jack Johnson (this was an extraordinarily moving song)"You Can Talk About Me" - Jesse Mae Hemphill, and "Heartbroken Man" -Roosevelt 'Booba' Barnes. There are many more performances that are just facsinating to watch and listen to. The musicians will move you, make their instrusments speak and cry to you, and give you a great taste of true Blues.
This film is an absolute treasure for fans...enjoy...Laurie
Dust My Broom