Much of the extremely rare performance footage presented in this DVD has never before been publicly seen and documents the diversity of a music which was as personal as a fingerprint yet as universal as the blues itself. John Jackson, Pink Anderson, Rev. Gary Davis and the charismatic Josh White manifest different aspects of the rich Piedmont ragtime/blues tradition.
Thirty-five years have now come and gone since the 'rediscoveries' of the blues revival startled us with their corporeal presence. IT seems little short of miraculous that so many of the greatest pre-War bluesman were found ready, willing, and able to recreate the passion of their youth's music for a moving Last Hurrah. Now they are, to a man, gone, making the window which briefly shown into their world all the more precious. That these men were filmed in performance is fortuitous for us today; they need no longer be disembodied voices.
As a genre, blues music was developed at the beginning of the twentieth century by rural black musicians. They shaped it with brilliant inspiration from disparate elements of black song. By the early 1920's, recorded urban performers solidified the standard three-verse, 12 bar meter structure that has identified most blues. Fortunately, during that same period , there were recorded musicians who grew up with the blues and whose guitar-styles were more fluid and improvisational.
On this excellent release from the World Music Network's ever-reliable Rough Guide series, a host of unknown early blues artists get their due. While Robert Johnson, Son House, and a handful of other greats from the 1920s and '30s have become widely recognized icons of the pre-war blues era, so many lesser-known, though no less talented, players have slipped through the cracks. Opening with Henry Thomas' spirited "Fishing Blues" (complete with a pan flute solo), The Rough Guide to Unsung Heroes of Country Blues winds its way through a series of wonderful and obscure country-blues gems.
John Miller presents this guitar tutorial based on the music of Jackson, Mississippi from 1910 to 1940. The Jackson blues scene was stylistically rich, spanning the gap from the sophisticated pop blues of Bo Carter to the low-down blues of Rube Lacy.