A look at the spirit of New Orleans. First a funeral: Allen Toussaint explains that you arrive slow and cut up afterwards. Then it's food, with a lesson in eating crayfish at Frankie and ... See full summary »
Blue Lu Barker,
Henry 'Professor Longhair' Byrd,
This documentary from Les Blank follows the indomitable Gerald "The Maestro" Gaxiola, who turned to a life of prolific art making after years as an aircraft mechanic, traveling salesman, and body builder.
Peter William Brown,
"Les Blank marries his passion for spicy, down home food and his love for Cajuns and Creoles in this mouth-watering, exploration of the cooking, and other enthusiasms, of French-speaking ... See full summary »
A lyrical recreation of Lightnin' Hopkins' decision at age eight to stop chopping cotton and start singing for a living. Folklorist/Ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax called Blank's stunning and ... See full summary »
A documentary on the chaotic production of Werner Herzog's epic Fitzcarraldo (1982), showing how the film managed to get made despite problems that would have floored a less obsessively ... See full summary »
Enormously entertaining half-hour documentary that not only showcases late Texas bluesman Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins's famous talent for improvisation (the only recognizable compositions here are snatches of 'Meet Me in the Bottom', a version of Buddy Moss's 'Oh Lordy Mama', and Sonny Boy Williamson's 'Good Morning Little Schoolgirl') but--maybe just as importantly--gives the viewer a glimpse of black life in the rural American South. The musical performances, stories, and incidental footage of Centerville, Texas are fascinating. I particularly enjoyed the scenes of Hopkins playing with songster Mance Lipscomb; a few years later, in Bruce Cook's indispensable tome "Listen to the Blues", Lipscomb declared simply that "I can't play with Lightnin' no more" because Hopkins was such a difficult personality. Obviously a must for country blues aficionados (to see how the form survived, authentic and virtually unchanged, well into the 1960s), "The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins" will be of interest to more general audiences as well.
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