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Posted October 1, 2010
Broad Side of the Barn
This comprehensive presentation of the Blues succeeds like a musical sawed-off shot gun actually hitting the broad side of a barn. The good news is that most of the blues pellets hit the proververbial broad side. The problem is counting them up and discerning a pattern. Those of us who are familiar with the broad spectrum of the Blues can discern some beautful patterns. The average music novice in music can reasonably play connect the dots. Mr. Scorsese is to be lauded for producing and assembling a daunting task in covering the history and evolution of what began as a simple musical form based on basic human emotions, be they sorrowful or joyful. The package, in a back-handed manner, shows how various musicians took the blues and ran. Some successful (read: being true to their style and self-expression), some highly competent musicans, some working with no more than pure emotion and found objects. There are the knock-offs that are evident, and again this series exposes the charalatans and 'knock-offs' through out blues history. There were knock-offs among the god-fathers of the blues (Read: he or she is making money-I can do that).Some contributed to and helped to creatively expand the Blues genre, Some were quick -buck artists who even posed as the originals. Even the common musical historical blues buff can spot the fakes a mile away. Of course, it is not just the artisits, but the record companies, producers, managers, and music industry at-large that also has much to do with what is presented on on this collection. This is touched on, especially in Mr. Figgis's segment. The pure joy of blues artistry is loving presented by Mr.Eastwood. (Who Really gives the Blues 'Man with No Name' his due.) As with a production of this magnitude, we do get the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Questions are raised: was Jimi Hendrix a Blues hero? Is Blues -rock the Blues? etc, But the big question is who is the current 'audience'. There is no doubt about the massive historical importance and impact of the Blues. The relationship of Jazz and Blues. Why did an African-American audience collectively turn their backs on the Blues only to have it resruected by young college intelectual types and their need for a 'hip check'. Why did it become 'cool' and importatnt for a young white audience. Money is one answer. The sickening endless quoting of Blues influences by rock or pop stars, and the shameless patronage and bone-tossing to their 'heroes'. Not to doubt Ms. Raitt's sincerity love of the Blues, but you have to wonder when you cannot read about Charles Brown without having Bonnie Raitt's name in the same sentence. Let us not forget current problem with the designer blues of one 'K'eb Mo'. Shimmerering cloned sell-job for the PBS crowd. The trials and tribulations this Robert Johnson look-a-like must have had howing the fallow fields of pop glitter and re-inventing himself as the Blues avatar for yuppies for the PBS crowd. Screaming Jay Hawkins hit the mark with his 'black Music for White People' album. Screamin Jay would have loved Mr. Mo and his ilk. They ouught to name a PT Cruiser after him. So we have a template from Mr. Scorcese let's us pick and choose by way of overview as to what the real deal is. Just don't get the DVD Collection and accompanying CD sets thinking you have your bona fides. Pardon the double entendre, but a lot of 'Blood, Sweat, and Tears went into this great music called the 'Blues'. I can only suggest that Mr. Scorcese put the rst of his chips on the table and do for the Blues what 'Casino' did for gambling...
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Posted March 14, 2009
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