Synopsis by Mark Deming
In 1991, Matthew Johnson was an on-and-off college student who in his spare time wrote record reviews for Living Blues magazine. Johnson liked the raw, primitive sound of rural Mississippi blues, but was disappointed that so little of it was being committed to record; after discovering a juke joint in Holly Springs, MS, where proprietor Junior Kimbrough and his friend R.L. Burnside played raucous, electrified country blues til the break of dawn, Johnson decided the music should be committed to tape. Using 400 dollars left over from a student loan, Johnson started Fat Possum Records, and began recording deep Southern blues artists such as Kimbrough, Burnside, T-Model Ford, Cedell Davis, and Johnny Farmer while struggling to bring their music to a broader audience, pay their artists and keep the business afloat. You See Me Laughin' is a documentary which offers a look at Johnson and partner Bruce Watson's ongoing mission to capture this music before it's too late, and more importantly profiles the musicians who record for his label, exploring the wild and often violent lives that inform their work and fuel their often wary relationship with Johnson and Watson. Featuring rare live footage of Burnside and Kimbrough on-stage, You See Me Laughin' was the first feature film from director Mandy Stein.
African-American, blues-music, cultural-traditions, Delta-Blues, guitar, musician, poverty, reminiscence, retrospective