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The Real Thing: Roots, Fruits in Fertile Soil
on September 2, 2003
Miraculously unearthed and licensed by Reelinintheyears and released through Experience Hendrix, the 3-hours featuring 36 performances by 24 artists are the real thing filmed at the peak of many of their careers. Filmed in a Baden-Baden Germany studio with sets designed to reflect the realities of the urban blues, the sound and B&W footage is amazing. Imagine seeing Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Lightnin' Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton, Lonnie Johnson, Big Walter, otis Rush, Otis Spann, blues brother Matt "Guitar" Murphy (as exciting as he is today) and others (with 1969 bonus footage of legends Magic Sam and Earl Hooker) in your living room.
Watch closely Sonny Boy's virtuoso "Bye Bye Bird," "Mojo" with Sonny Boy and Muddy, a five-harp jam with Big Mama, John Lee, Big Walter, J. B. Lenoir and Dr. Ross, and the magic of Lightnin' Hopkins doing "Mojo Hand" and laying out enough hot guitar licks in one song to fuel a rocker's whole career.
Hip-O has released a highlights CD but these two DVDs must be seen to believe. These are the performances that American audiences have never seen since they were filmed but which inspired the Rolling Stones, John Mayall, Ten Years After, Yardbirds, Animals, Van Morrison, Ten Years After and so many of the British blues-rockers.
This was no small event. These artists played the finest concert halls of Europe, stayed in the best hotels, and ate in the best restaurants finding a deep respect they never lived to see in America. Their performances show it. Some didn't want to leave. Sonny Boy Williamson stayed on for over a year after the 1963 festival appearing in clubs and on numerous TV shows and recording with the Yardbirds, Animals, Jimmy Page, jazzman Chris Barber and even Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
As talent scout Willie Dixon said, "The blues are the roots; the rest are the fruits." These are the roots and the British Invasion were only the first blossoming of the fruits. Miss these DVDs at your own risk.
Bill Donoghue AKA 'fessor Mojo,