Sunday, February 07, 2010

Various Artists - M For Mississippi DVD (M For Mississippi, 2008)

Subtitled "a roadtrip through the birthplace of the blues," M for Mississippi is a documentary about two blues lovers traveling through the state over the course of seven days interviewing musicians and fans of the music and visiting the few remaining juke joints left in this part of the country. The filmmakers allow the music and the musicians speak for themselves, giving them a chance to tell their stories about growing up in the south and why the blues appeals to them. Seeing the musicians interviewed on the street and in their own homes, you realize that these men aren't playing music for any monitary reward, but rather for the love of the music. I had thought the tension between secular and religious music was a relic of the past, but not so according to The Mississippi Marvel, who refused to give his identity or allowed his face to be filmed because he didn't want members of his church to see him playing the blues. It is fascinating to hear "T-Model" Ford discuss his rough and tumble life which was filled with as much violence as music. Terry "Harmonica" Bean talks about growing up and how he turned to the blues after losing a chance to be a major league pitcher. Jimmy "Duck" Holmes plays a solo set in his own juke joint and discusses how long the music can last in its native land. This may be the most important facet of this documentary, to capture these wonderful musicians in a live and raw state. Many of the musicians were advanced in age, and are a living link with the blues of the past which is fading fast. Definately a must see for fans of blues and roots music. M for Mississippi -

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