Thursday, May 7, 2009

The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966

After almost a week, I have finally gotten rid of the mint julep flu. Trust me, it is much more deadly than anything you can catch from a pig. The Derby is a hard road, but it is still the best day of the year.

About two years ago, Guitar Johnny Nicholas turned me on to this series of three videos called The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966. If you like the blues, you will enjoy these fantastic DVDs of great American blues artists performing in their heyday.

From 1962 to 1969, a group of top American blues musicians toured Europe. I have written in this blog about British musicians being interested in American blues and roots music. Seeing our best blues players on these tours had a huge influence on the musicians of that day. In the forward to the first volume, Bill Wyman writes: "Things would have been a whole lot different in Britain without the American Folk Blues Festivals; they proved to be a rich legacy for musicians throughout Europe."

This footage, which were unreleased for over 40 years, captures these musicians live in front of a German audience. Wait until you see what a German blues audience looked like in the early '60's. The sound is excellent and the black and white cinematography is wonderful.

The highlight of volume one is Muddy Waters playing Got My Mojo Working with Sonny Boy Williamson on harmonica. Muddy is impeccably turned out in a suit and his hair in a huge conk is perfect. Rounding out the band on this cut is Willie Dixon on bass and Otis Spann on piano.

Other songs on the first volume include Otis Rush singing I Can't Quite You Baby, Junior Wells doing his classic Hoodoo Man Blues, and Sonny Boy playing Nine Below Zero. All of the songs showcase the class and talent of these great artists.

On the next two volumes, you can see T-Bone Walker doing Don't Throw Your Love on Me so Strong, as well as several songs from Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf and Magic Sam. There are also great performances from Big Joe Turner, Buddy Guy, Lighting Hopkins, Big Mama Thornton and John Lee Hooker.

These DVDs are a rare opportunity to see great blues musicians in their prime. Available from Amazon.


Post a Comment