Synopsis by Mark Deming
By day, Link Wyler was a character actor who often appeared on TV Westerns, most notably Gunsmoke. By night, Wyler was a passionate blues fan, and in 1971, when he discovered that Muddy Waters, Big Joe Turner, Big Mama Thornton, and George "Harmonica" Smith would be making their way up the West Coast as part of a package tour, he persuaded several cameramen from Gunsmoke to pack up their camera equipment and sound gear and follow the tour for the weekend, catching up with them at a college gig in Oregon. Gunsmoke Blues is the result, which features the long-lost footage from this weekend adventure, capturing these master blues artists in fine and funky form. Selections include "Got My Mojo Working," "Long Distance Call," and "Mannish Boy" (Muddy Waters), "Shake, Rattle and Roll" (Big Joe Turner), "Ball and Chain" (Big Mama Thornton), and "Leaving Chicago" (George "Harmonica" Smith).
archival-footage, blues-music, entertainer, icon, musical-styles