Featuring Skip James, Howlin’ Wolf, Son House, Rev. Pearly Brown, Bukka White
Imagine you have stumbled into a juke joint where the mentor of Robert Johnson, Son House, and the idol of the Rolling Stones, Howlin’ Wolf, dis one another. Picture a place where Wolf taunts Bukka White while the robust Parchman Farm alumnus spins his proto-funk dance grooves and the spectral skip James weaves his haunting “Devil Got My Woman.” It’s an archetypal blues “crossroads” where legends of the 1920s Delta and 1950s Chicago share the same musical space, suspended out of time in a super-real present, a non-specific blues time. This is no fantasy. You enter this very juke joint in Devil Got My Woman, a video of extraordinarily powerful footage captured by Alan Lomax at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival. This is not, however, concert footage from Newport. Alan Lomax recreated a juke joint at Newport, stocked the bar, and let nature take its course. The resulting footage captures the blues experience in its first and truest milieu, one in which African-American men and women drink, dance, and share their troubles and triumphs. Brooding faces absorbing the wailing pleas of Son House and rubber-legged dancers strutting to Bukka’s buoyant blues are as much a part of the mis en scene as the legendary principals of the cast, themselves more relaxed and unguarded than in any comparable performance footage. A heretofore-unseen glimpse of a unique blues summit, Devil Got My Woman offers a bracing reminder of this music’s elemental vitality and the blues culture that nurtured it.
Skip James: Devil Got My Woman, I’m So Glad, Worried Blues;
Bukka White: Baby You’re Killing Me, Old Lady Blues, Please Don’t Put Your Daddy Outdoors, 100th Man;
Son House: Forever On My Mind;
Howlin’ Wolf: Meet Me In The Bottom, How Many More Years, Dust My Broom;
Rev. Pearly Brown: Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning, Pure Religion, It’s A Mean Old World.
971MB | 1h 01m | 704×480 | mkv