Blues Country (1983)

Genres - Music  |   Run Time - 84 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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This three-part blues documentary uses still shots to illustrate the beginnings of the blues in Africa, recordings to introduce the blues sound as it developed in the 1920s and 1930s, and sounds and images from the 1940s when the blues came back in popularity. Featured artists include Elizabeth Cotten, Johnny Shines, Lightnin' Hopkins, and others such as Mamie Smith in a 1939 film clip. Director and writer Joe Vinikow found about 20 hours of short films in the storage area of KCTS-TV and in the Ethnomusicology Archives of the University of Washington, and after obtaining a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, he had the means to put together this documentary -- which really brings home the talent of the old-time blues singers.