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Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey [DVD]

 Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
Price: £22.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey [DVD] + Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey + The Devil's Music: History of the Blues
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Product details

  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 7
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Snapper Music
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Dec 2008
  • Run Time: 780 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002Z9XFQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,042 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



It may have been underrated when first broadcast, but executive producer Martin Scorsese's homage to the blues is a truly significant, if imperfect, achievement. "Musical journey" is an apt description, as Scorsese and the six other directors responsible for these seven approximately 90-minute films follow the blues--the foundation of jazz, soul, R&B, and rock & roll--from its African roots to its Mississippi Delta origins, up the river to Memphis and Chicago, then to New York, the United Kingdom, and beyond. Some of the films (like Wim Wenders's The Soul of a Man and Charles Burnett's Warming by the Devil's Fire) use extensive fictional film sequences, generally to good effect. There's also plenty of documentary footage, interviews, and contemporary studio performances recorded especially for these films.

The last are among the best aspects of the DVDs, as the bonus material features the set's only complete tunes. Lou Reed's "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" and the ElektriK Mud Kats' (with Chuck D. of Public Enemy) hip-hop-cum-traditional updating of Muddy Waters's "Mannish Boy" are among the best of them; on the other hand, a rendition of "Cry Me a River" by Lulu (?!) is a curious choice, even with Jeff Beck on hand. The absence of lengthier vintage clips, meanwhile, is the principal drawback. For that reason alone, Clint Eastwood's Piano Blues is the best of the lot; a musician himself, Eastwood simply lets the players play, which means we get extensive file footage of the likes of Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, and Nat "King" Cole, as well as new performances by Ray Charles, Dr. John, and others. Overall, this is a set to savor, a worthwhile investment guaranteed to grow on you over the course of repeated viewings. --Sam Graham

Product Description

Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues - A series of 7 films by world famous directors in a luxury DVD boxed set. The Blues is a series of seven uplifting films by world famous directors who share a passion for the music.

The films, by Scorsese, Mike Figgis, Wim Wenders, Clint Eastwood, Charles Burnett, Marc Levin and Richard Pearce, capture the essence of blues music and delve into its global influence - from roots in Africa to its inspirational role in today's music.

Director Martin Scorsese (The Last Waltz, Raging Bull, Gangs of New York) pays homage to the Delta blues. Musician Corey Harris travels through Mississippi and on to West Africa, exploring the roots of the music. The film celebrates the early Delta bluesmen through original performances (including Willie King, Taj Mahal, Otha Turner, and Ali Farka Toure) and rare archival footage (featuring Son House, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker).

RED, WHITE & BLUES A Film By Mike Figgis Certificate: 15
Director Mike Figgis (Stormy Monday, Leaving Las Vegas, Time Code) joins musicians such as Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Tom Jones, performing and talking about the British blues boom from the late 1950's onwards. A thoughtful and musically uplifting analysis of the influence of the blues on British musicians and the re-export of the music to America.

THE SOUL OF A MAN A Film By Wim Wenders Certificate: 12a
Director Wim Wenders (Buena Vista Social Club; Wings of Desire; Paris, Texas ) explores the lives of his favorite blues artists — Skip James, Blind Willie Johnson, and J. B. Lenoir — in a film that is part history and part personal pilgrimage. The film tells the story of these artists' lives in music through a fictional film-within-a-film, rare archival footage, and covers of their songs by contemporary musicians, including Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams, Lou Reed, Eagle Eye Cherry, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Cassandra Wilson, Los Lobos, and others.

PIANO BLUES A Film By Clint Eastwood Certificate: 15
Director — and piano player — Clint Eastwood (Play Misty for Me, Bird, Unforgiven) explores his life-long passion for piano blues, using a treasure trove of rare historical footage in addition to interviews and performances by such living legends as Ray Charles, Pinetop Perkins and Jay McShann, as well as Dave Brubeck and Marcia Ball.

THE ROAD TO MEMPHIS A Film By Richard Pearce And Robert Kenner Certificate: PG
Director Richard Pearce (The Long Walk Home, Leap of Faith, A Family Thing) traces the musical odyssey of blues legend B.B. King in a film that pays tribute to the city that gave birth to a new style of blues. Pearce's homage to Memphis features original performances by B.B. King, Bobby Rush, Rosco Gordon and Ike Turner, as well as historical footage of Howlin' Wolf and Rufus Thomas.

WARMING BY THE DEVIL'S FIRE A Film By Charles Burnett Certificate: 12a
Director Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep, My Brother's Wedding, To Sleep with Anger) presents a tale about a young boy's encounter with his family in Mississippi in the 1950s, and intergenerational tensions between the heavenly strains of gospel and the devilish moans of the blues. Including performances by Big Bill Broonzy, Willie Dixon, Lightnin' Hopkins, Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Bessie Smith, Dinah Washington, Muddy Waters & Sonny Boy Williamson.

GODFATHERS AND SONS A Film By Marc Levin Certificate: 15
Director Marc Levin (Slam, Whiteboys, Brooklyn Babylon) travels to Chicago with hip-hop legend Chuck D (of Public Enemy) and Marshall Chess (son of Leonard Chess and heir to the Chess Records legacy) to explore the heyday of Chicago blues , as they unite to produce an album that brings veteran blues players together with contemporary hip hop musicians. Along with never-before-seen archival footage of Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, are original performances by Koko Taylor, Otis Rush, Magic Slim, Ike Turner and Sam Lay.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 61 people found the following review helpful
the blues is, in my view, about confronting the reality of life. it may be so hard on you that you simply need to acknowledge that it is the reason why you feel bad. others learn to laugh at their troubles through the blues.

this documentary is perhaps the finest example of the myriad of styles of this cathartic music. the sheer depth of the documentary and its subject matter will instantly take you from the crossroads of ignorance to the electric realisation that you are a well informed and passioante exponent of this historic and meaningful genre. although i am not american, this documentary makes you realise that there is a sophistication and allure to their culture that in many ways goes undocumented.

whether you are a musician like me, or a hobo in the world of music you will learn an enormous amount from this collection.

there is unfortunately a major scar on the otherwise flawless face of this documentary. disc 5 - the godfather's dvd is a magical journey of music. the fatal mistake was made by the person who gave mr chess the microphone voiceover. if you can ignore his righteous swagger and self-congratulation, and realise that he is the only fraudulent aspect to this otherwise wonderful section of the documentary, you will love it. he ruins an otherwise wonderful section with prententions and shameless braggadoccio that makes the artists in the documentary squirm. but the music, and the voices of the artists fortunately drown his unbearably loud voice out!

i personally recommend discs one and seven as being the most uplifting introduction. ray charles involvement in this documentary is a beautiful celebration of his life. for those of you who love his music, you will learn to love the man even more!!

so turn down the lights, take a julep and tune in to the raw sound of the beautiful south, and the way they sing them blues.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction 12 Jan 2004
Format:Audio CD
People new to the blues are faced with a daunting prospect - where do you begin when faced with one of the most important musical art forms of the 20th century?
There are numerous sub-standard blues collections out there, but this box-set, released to coincide with a huge documentary series and America's Year of the Blues, is a pretty good place to start. Arranged chronologically, some of the recordings date back as far as 1920. The first couple of discs range from Bessie Smith's impassioned jazzy wailings to the legendary country blues men such as Son House, Charley Patton and Robert Johnson. The final disc features some new stuff recorded especially for the series by the likes of Keb' Mo', Bonnie Raitt and, incongruously, Los Lobos, none of which is particularly essential. However, disc three is as perfect a blues compilation as you're ever likely to have, capturing the golden age of electric blues with some choice cuts from Bob Diddley, Muddy Waters, Elmore James and numerous other big names. And as this is as much historical overview as straight compilation, you even get Elvis and Chuck Berry thrown in for context. 25 tracks, and not a dud in sight, even if the selections tend to be a tad on the obvious side. Not that that matters when the source material is this good.
The handsome booklet boasts some erudite notes and great photos, although it would have been good to have included more of the British bands who did much to popularise blues again in the 60s. I suppose licencing precluded the Stones being on there.
Disc 1-3 are the motherlode. Disc 4 is okay, but could have been better, and disc 5 doesn't gain anything from the new tracks. In conclusion, a flawed but never the less worthy collection - a great introduction for novices and a nice way of replacing getting some classics together in one place for those already in the know.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bargain but still a missed opportunity 18 Nov 2010
By Gizmophobic VINE VOICE
Seven movies about the blues by seven directors, most of whom profess "not to want to just make another documentary about the blues", well they could have done worse and most did. I've reviewed each separately under their individual names but given the comparative bargain that the box set represents most will go with that. No argument there, you'll get a lot of fantastic blues clips, some,but not a great deal, of good live footage, a great dollop of interesting interviews and some appalling pseudo drama. The trouble is of course that its all spread over seven dvds, with little overall coherence, and a pretty poor selection of extras.
Two of the directors try and innovate with dramatized incident, by far the worst of these is 'warming by the devli's
fire',by Charles Burnett. Wim Wenders' contribution, 'Soul of a man' is clunky but still has enough charm to get by.
All the others are effectively in the talking heads format with live contributions intermixed with stills and clips. Almost without exception the historic material dwarfs the new, sometimes embarrassingly so, Tom Jones, Chuck D., and when it doesn't its cut frustratingly short, T-Bone Burnette, Los lobos....... Eastwood and Richard Peace come up with the best films,probably because there enthusiasm for the music isn't swamped by the need to put their artistic stamp on it. Wish Ken Burns had been given the whole brief. Oh and get the book-its actually much better.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 2 July 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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5.0 out of 5 stars blues on film 24 Mar 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
this is a must for all devotees of the old blues music, so many different stories and artists. set to the pulsating music of the times. excellent value for money
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fast delivery and great DVD
Published 6 days ago by Will
5.0 out of 5 stars Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues
If you like the Blues, then this is for you. It is very good value, it has lots of extra features, that let you select single tracks etc. A must for any Blues fan
Published 4 months ago by Mr John Hodge
5.0 out of 5 stars What a joyful overview of blues / classic Jazz
In a couple of DVD's the whole spectrum of B / CJ were covered with personal / involved musicians comments and contributions.
Published 4 months ago by Kobus Pienaar
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT COLLECTION!
This is one of those 'must haves' for Blues lovers …
OK, so not every cut is the 'best' by that artist, but I really enjoy watching this one over and over. Read more
Published 6 months ago by R A Tripp
5.0 out of 5 stars Great documentary
Great documentary on the history of Blues, Martin Scorsese never disappoints. Music is amazing all throughout, this is really good gift.
Published 6 months ago by Pia Spratley
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential
Totaly essential for all lovers of or just those interested in the history of the Blues .. really no more to say!
Published 7 months ago by Mr Philip D Etgart
5.0 out of 5 stars Scorsese A Musical Journey
Havent watched all of them yet, waiting until I light log fire and its cold and dark outside so I can curl uo and enjoy. Bliss!
Published 10 months ago by S. Dunstan
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Informative
If you are a fan of the Blues you should find plenty to entertain and inform on these DVD's.

I have watched the seven films films in this box set over the last few... Read more
Published 14 months ago by andy
5.0 out of 5 stars Blues history par excellance.
If you love the blues get this while it is still available. Not exactly a history but very informative and a joy to watch.
Published 15 months ago by jasper
4.0 out of 5 stars A great extended introduction to the genre.
Scorsese turns to a wide range of people to produce this series, and it works for the most part. These films are always informative, often entertaining and occasionally... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Ben Oliver
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