Beginning with a stirring African folk song (Zélié performed by Angélique Kidjo) the roots are established and rapidly swell into a trunk thickened by the hardships of the Great Depression (Gamblin' Man performed by David 'Honeyboy' Edwards) and the oppression of segregation (Jim Crow Blues performed by Odetta). Finally, this Blues family tree shows off vibrant new growth as it reveals the Blues' influence on our modern wealth of talented musicians (Midnight Special performed by John Fogerty and Hound Dog done by Macy Gray). Ruth Brown gives Blll Cosby a full-throttle serenade (and a playful smoldering gaze), along with Mavis Staples and Natalie Cole. Angélique Kidjo persuades Buddy Guy to an unforgettable rendition of 'Voodoo Child,' shortly before Bonnie Raitt and Robert Cray accompany B.B. King and Lucille for the final number, 'Paying the Cost to be the Boss.' This documentary presents to the audience, with authority and candor, an authentic history of this musical form. The ... Written by
Brother, the director totally blows. There's way too much close facial camera work and not enough actual musician work, as this brand of music demands. Every chance to show guitar wizardry, magical band interplay, or joyous group activity is squandered with MTV style ADHD spastic fast-cuts and illogical camera movements. Shame, damn shame. It's a fine DVD to put on to cook, read, or dance to, but way too frustrating to watch.
Also, don't expect to learn everything there is to know about the blues in one 2 hour DVD, even if they seem to suggest it's what they're attempting. As a record of ONE particular blues STUNT, it's OK. A TRUE blues event is a dive bar, a buzzing PA system, a dancing drunk grandmother, and unbelievably honest music.
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