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Deep Blues: A Musical Pilgrimage to the Crossroads


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Editorial Reviews

Renowned director Robert Mugge and music scholar Robert Palmer went deep in the Mississippi Delta to seek out the best blues acts in the country. From the juke joints of northern Mississippi, to the blues clubs of Greenville and Clarksdale, to the porche

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Palmer, David A. Stewart, Abraham Schwab, Booker T. Laury, R.L. Burnside
  • Directors: Robert Mugge
  • Writers: Robert Palmer
  • Producers: David A. Stewart, Eileen Gregory, John Stewart, Robert Maier
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Shout Factory
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 2003
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009VU35
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,994 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Deep Blues: A Musical Pilgrimage to the Crossroads" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Shlomo Pestcoe on July 2, 2000
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I've been a big fan of the work of the late great blues historian/folklorist, Robert Palmer, for sometime now. His book, DEEP BLUES, is generally regarded as the definitive reference on the Delta tradition... and rightly so (needless to say, if you don't have it... get it). What a treat to finally get a chance to meet the guy... albeit, on my TV screen.
In this eponymous documentary, Palmer assumes the role of the proverbial veteran "tour guide," casually offering us expert commentary, laced with entertaining anecdotes and served up with dry Southern wit. While we do hear and see a great deal of Palmer, the film never loses its main focus-- the blues and the musicians who keep this important element of American musical heritage alive and kicking. Each of the featured artists performs one or two songs in their entirety-- in sharp contrast to so many other music documentaries, which par down their musical selections to excerpted sound bites to make room for talk, talk and more talk.
Here we find everything from down-home guitars and mouth harps being played on farm house porches to full bands--influnced by the modern Chicago-style, yet still distinctly "Pure Delta"--playing in dark, smoke-filled juke joints. True to the blues tradition, the music is hot and sweaty. You can't watch this film and sit still--you gotta shake something.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 25, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
The film covers some of the same territory as Alan Lomax's excellent "The Land Where the Blues Began," apparently a few years down the line. It offers so much--the leisurely, respectful cinematography of Robert Mugge; the enthusiastic, informed, perceptive commentary of the late, lamented Robert Palmer; the riveting performances of Jessie Mae Hemphill, Roosevelt "Booba" Barnes, Junior Kimbrough, and others. The sequence featuring Big Jack "The Oilman" Johnson, particularly on "Catfish Blues," is worth the price of the ticket in itself. It's one of the best juke joint performances ever captured on film. This film is essential, indispensable, and downright captivating.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By William A. Houston on April 26, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a great documentary on blues music. The DVD version is packed with alot of extras, from the usual outtakes that most DVDs offer, a interview with producer Dave Steward (of EURYTHMICS) to bonus audio tracks. I have DEEP BLUES on VHS but the tranfer to DVD is great, this what a DVD version of any subject should be like. I had the chance to meet and see the late Roosevelt "Booba" Barnes play, one of the artist featured, and seeing his performance took me back to that day. If you love the blues, you'll love this movie.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By dreschrode on June 24, 2003
Format: DVD
Bankrolled by rockstar superstar Dave Stuart and presented by Robert Palmer, author of the superb book of the same name, this film was a very timely voyage into the blues of missisipi. Timely because a number of the cast have died since this film was shot, including the presenter.
Traditional old blues haunts such as Memphis, Clarksdale and Greenville are visited, and fine artists relatively unknown at the time were recorded such as Big Jack Johnson, Booba Barnes and Lonnie Pitchford. Delta old timers Jack Owens, Bud Spires and Booker T. Laury also turn in fine, spirited performances. But for me the highlight is the attention given over to the more obscure "hill country" blues of north missisipi, featuring Jessie Mae Hemphill, R. L. Burnside and the late great Junior Kimbrough and his original juke joint in Holly Springs. Here the music extends from country blues to "drum and fife", a hypnotic musical form that predates blues all the way back to the revolutionary war, but which now faces extinction since the passing of Othar Turner (not featured here, but a close friend of Hemphill). The bonus items are very welcome, especially the extra performances by honkytonk genius Booker T. to the drunk audience comprised of Stuart and Palmer, and Lonnie Pitchford's demonstration of the diddly bow. Also included are extra audio tracks that were originally only available on the soundtrack album (now deleted).
This film helped to revive not just interest in country and acoustic blues in general, but the careers of all of the artists featured. This film is well shot, sounds great, and shares the passion and emotion of some great bluesmen and women. After this, try the "Feelin' Good" CD by Jessie Mae Hemphill. Not only is that a beautiful album, but Jessie's an invalid now who desperately needs the cash!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David Bonesteel on March 31, 2002
Format: DVD
The late journalist Robert Palmer and director Robert Mugge toured the South and successfully documented some incredible blues performers, most of whom had never been recorded before. They open a window into a world of juke joints, fish frys, and country folk for whom the blues remains a vital part of their lives. There is some truly amazing music; for me, the highlights were Booba Barnes and Junior Kimbrough. Between the songs, there are short segments that provide some background and an opportunity for the performers to speak for themselves. Eurythmic Dave Stewart's on-screen involvement is mercifully brief--the juxtaposition of carefully styled Euro-rocker with authentic, down-to-earth rural types is jarring to say the least. The contrast inadvertantly reminds us of a major aspect of the appeal of the blues--it's purity as opposed to the way so many other genres have been shaped by concerns over saleability and fashion.
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