Not to be missed: Various Artist - The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966

Sabtu, 08 Desember 2012

Size: 417 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped By: ChrisGoesRock
Source: From 3 DVD Series (in Excellent Quality)

Volume 1:
The American Blues Festival tours in Europe in the 1960s were instrumental vehicles for popularizing the blues on a global level. And they also preserved the legacy of many major performers in a way that few probably realized at the time, since many of the festival participants taped studio segments for German television. This DVD has 17 such performances, most of them apparently totally live, from a rich assortment of blues notables, including Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Dixon, Junior Wells, Otis Rush, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Otis Spann, Eddie Boyd, Memphis Slim, T-Bone Walker, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Walter Horton, and Sippie Wallace. 

The black-and-white footage, thankfully, has been preserved in excellent quality. And while the sets can be hokey approximations of American landscapes, the music is usually good to excellent. Particularly notable is Waters singing "Got My Mojo Working," with Williamson backing him on harmonica and whooping it up with responsive vocals; Wells's "Hoodoo Man Blues," which captures him at his absolute 1966 peak; Rush's "I Can't Quit You Baby," also from 1966; John Lee Hooker's customarily somber "Hobo Blues"; and Dixon's "Weak Brain and Narrow Mind," a good showcase for a figure known more for his behind-the-scenes contributions than his work as a spotlighted artist. 

These are among the few surviving video documents of these musicians in their 1960s prime or near-prime, and as such are to be treasured, though volume two of this DVD series is slightly better simply by virtue of its searing clips of Howlin' Wolf (who isn't represented on this disc). Also included is a good "bonus track" of Earl Hooker performing live in 1969, and fine liner notes by Rob Bowman that are way above the usual standard for historical music DVDs.

01 - T Bone Walker - Call Me When You Need Me (1962)
02 - Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee - Hootin Blues (1962)
03 - Memphis Slim - The Blues is Everywhere (1962)
04 - Otis Rush - I Can´t Quit You Baby (1966)
05 - Lonnie Johnson - Another Night to Cry (1963)
06 - Sippie Wallace - Womed Bed Wise (1966)
07 - John Lee Hooker - Hobo Blues (1965)
08 - Eddie Boyd - Five Long Years (1965)
09 - Walker Shakey Horton - Shakey´s Blues (1965)
10 - Junior Wells - Hoodo Man Blues (1966)
11 - Big Joe Williams - Mean Stepfather (1963)
12 - Mississippi Fred McDowell - Going Down the River (1965)
13 - Willie Dixon - Week Brain and Narrow Mind (1964)
14 - Sonny Boy Williamson - Nine Below Zero (1963)
15 - Otis Spann - Spann´s Blues (1963)
16 - Muddy Waters - Got My Mojo Working (1963)
17 - Finale - Bye Bye Blues (1963)
18 - Earl Hooker - Walking the Floor Over You (1969) (Bonus)

Volume 2:
Like volume one, this DVD has a wealth of performances, most of them apparently totally live, from a top roster of blues artists. Taped in a small TV studio for German television during European tours of the American Folk Blues Festival, the 16 songs include spots by Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Memphis Slim, Willie Dixon, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Sunnyland Slim, Victoria Spivey, Lightnin' Hopkins, Roosevelt Sykes, Matt Murphy, T-Bone Walker, and Big Mama Thornton. If anything, this might be even better than volume one, if only because of the three great songs done by Howlin' Wolf in 1964. Howlin' Wolf was one of the very best live blues performers, and these performances shudder with intensity, particularly "Shake for Me," with longtime sideman Hubert Sumlin on guitar. 

Also especially worthy of praise are Murphy's ultrafast instrumental "Murphy's Boogie," Dixon's (deliberately) comically stuttering "Nervous," and a lumberjack-wardrobed Big Mama Thornton, whose "Down Home Shakedown" is actually an instrumental showcase featuring her on harmonica, with Walter Horton and John Lee Hooker in support. It's true the low-budget sets can be corny, simplified approximation of American joints and vistas. But that doesn't diminish the excitement of being able to see quality black-and-white footage of these performers at their prime or near-prime, particularly since any footage of the kind is scarce. Also included are two fine "bonus tracks" of Magic Sam performing live in 1969, shortly before his death, and good historical liner notes by Rob Bowman, although these are identical to the ones that appear in volume one, with different illustrations.

01 - Sonny Boy Williamson - Bye Bye Bird (1964)
02 - Sonny Boy Williamson - My Younger Days (1964)
03 - Sunnyland Slim - Com On Home Baby (1964)
04 - Willie Dixon - Nervous (1962
05 - Lightnin´ Hopkins - Mojo Hand (1964)
06 - Victoria Spivey - Black Snake Blues (1963)
07 - Memphis Slim - Everyday I Have The Blues (1963)
08 - T Bone Walker - Don´t Throw Your Love On Me So Strong (1962)
09 - Roosevelt Sykes - Tall Heavy Mama (1966)
10 - Willie Dixon - Sittin´ and Cryin´ The Blues (1963)
11 - Matt Guitar Murphy - Murphy´s Boogie (1963)
12 - Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee - Stranger Blues (1962)
13 - Howlin´ Wolf - Shake For Me (1964)
14 - Howlin´ Wolf - I´ll Be Back Someday (1964)
15 - Howlin´ Wolf - Love Me Darling (1964)
16 - Big Mama Thornton - Down Home Shakedown (1965)
17 - Magic Sam - All Your Love (1969 (Bonus)

Volume 3:
The third video compilation in this series is arguably the weakest, but is nonetheless required viewing for all roots/blues fans. As in the previous two DVDs, the material is culled from professionally shot and recorded European television shows from 1965-1968. Only one tune dates from before that period (1962's closing group performance of Helen Humes' "The Blues Ain't Nothin' But a Woman"), making the titular years a bit misleading. Regardless, there is some powerful music here. 

Half of the tracks, nine out of 18, are taken from 1967's newly discovered Danish television footage. Unfortunately this material was not played in front of a live audience, and without that immediate feedback, the predominantly country blues tunes, while emotionally moving, lack the bite and tension that the artists were used to delivering for their typically more vocal stateside crowds. Much is made about this being the only known live video of Little Walter, but the detailed notes in the 24-page book recount how unhappy he was on this tour. 

His non-amplified harp backing on Hound Dog Taylor's "Wild About You" and Koko Taylor's classic "Wang Dang Doodle" is much more sedate than what most would expect for a man known the most riveting electrically enhanced harmonica player in blues. Sonny Terry, who joins partner Brownie McGhee for three 1967 tunes and shows up for the 1962 finale, is much more impressive on harmonica, spitting out machine gun notes with precision. Buddy Guy's funky, James Brown-styled "Out of Sight" isn't really blues, but it does capture the guitarist at his most animated. Three "bonus" closing tracks not from the American Folk Blues taping, but from the same time period, are revelatory. 

One features the incredible Earl Hooker (playing with his teeth on "Earl's Boogie" in 1969) and two catch 1968 stingers from Muddy Waters. A fiery "Long Distance Call" might be the DVD's most intensely shot song, with extreme close-ups that capture Waters' expressive facial nuances. Skip James, Dr. Isaiah Ross (a one man band on vocal, guitar, harmonica, and even rudimentary drums), Bukka White, and Roosevelt Sykes are in prime form, playing the more rootsy, non-amplified music that dominates this volume. Startlingly crisp video and audio transfers make this another classy offering of music that might otherwise have been lost to the ages.

01 - Big Mama Thorton - Hound Dog (1965)
02 - Roosevelt Sykes - Gulfport Boogie (1965)
03 - Buddy Guy - Out of Sight (1965)
04 - Isaiah Ross - Feel So Good (1965)
05 - Big Joe Turner - Flip Flop & Fly (1966)
06 - Skip James - All Night Long (1967)
07 - Skip James - Crow Jane (1967
08 - Bukka White - Got Sick and Tired (1967)
09 - Son House - Death Letter Blues (1967)
10 - Hound Dog Taylor & Little Walter - Wild About You (1967)
11 - Koko Taylor & Little Walter - Wang Dang Doodle (1967)
12 - Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee - Stranger Blues (1967)
13 - Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee - Burnt Child (1967)
14 - Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee - Gonna Move Across the River (1967)
15 - Helen Humes - The Blues Ain´t Nothing But a Woman (1962)
16 - Earl Hooker - Earl´s Boogie (1969 (Bonus)
17 - Muddy Waters - Long Distance Call (1968) (Bonus)

Part 1: Link
Part 2: Link
Part 3: Link
Part 1: Link
Part 2: Link
Part 3: Link

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