Thursday, December 29, 2011

The American Folk-Blues Festival - The British Tours 1963-1966

Wow - this DVD is nothing short of phenomenal! The British learned to appreciate American legends long before we did in our own country and they managed to bring some major superstars over on tours to supremely appreciative audiences. The performances on this DVD show just how breathtaking these masters were!

This set is a who's-who of American blues! Starting out with Sonny Boy Williamson, decked out in a bowler hat and umbrella as a caricature of a proper British gentleman - except for his missing teeth! - he blows his harp sideways and through his nose, and still remains a genius at the instrument! He later returns in a suit made of alternating squares of material, like a crazed blues Two-Face! Muddy Waters is the handsome prince of the genre, Lonnie Johnson amazes with his acoustic guitar licks, and Big Joe Williams is literally breath-taking and he mercilessly pounds his 9-string (!) guitar! I immediately picked up my laptop and ordered a CD of his after seeing this - incredible!

Lightnin' Hopkins is suave and dapper and Sugar Pie Desanto is raucously and blatantly sexy as hell. Howlin' Wolf is larger than life, even on screen - what a presence! Man, I can't even imagine what it must have been like to be in the same room with this cat! And he brought along Hubert Sumlin & Willie Dixon, along with Sunnyland Slim on piano and Clifton James on drums to back him up.

Big Joe Turner belts it out with none other than Otis Rush on guitar, Little Brother Montgomery on piano, Fred Below on drums and the super-cool Jack Myers on bass. Junior Wells does his best James Brown impression (kind of a bummer that he's not playing harp, but he is an entertainer!) and then the bonus tracks include more Muddy Waters and the ultra-talented Sister Rosetta Tharpe!

Not a bad note on here and some stellar performances! Absolute must-have!