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Roosevelt Sykes and Big Bill Broonzy - Masters of Blues [1951] [DVD] [NTSC]

 To Be Announced   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £16.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: To be announced
  • Studio: Yazoo
  • DVD Release Date: 22 July 2002
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B000068MCD
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 106,669 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Roosevelt Sykes (1961), tv recordings, and Broonzy in a jazz club in Belgium (1956); plus rare footage from a Michigan summer camp. Impressive documents. (Region: 0, NTSC, 4:3, mono, schwarzweiß/b&w, running time: approx. 60 mns.)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Great stuff! I'm a blues player myself so was taken right back to my roots, especially with Broonzy. What a guy he was! And what a hero - remember 'Black, Brown & White (Get Back), which he wrote as an early protest against the treament of black US soldiers during WW1. In those days he took a big chance on lynching.
Roosevelt Sykes is as good as ever on this DVD - interested to note he only played one song in a 'black' key - Eb. The rest were in white note keys. Love his version of Sunny Side of the Street.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Honey Dripper Is In The House 11 Jan 2009
By Alfred Johnson - Published on
The last time that the name Roosevelt Sykes was mentioned in this space was to highlight his boogie-woogie piano performances in a country blues compilation entitled "Rural Blues', Volume 3. There I mentioned the following- "However, the `king of the hill' on this one is Roosevelt Sykes's piano work and vocals on "Hush Oh Hush" and "I'm Tired". Roosevelt Sykes is one of those guys you keep hearing about if you listen to enough blues. Now I know why. Needless to say you will be seeing a separate individual review of his work in this space later." And here it is.

In this documentary film you get to see Roosevelt in person with old soft hat on his head (I think that's what they call that kind of hat. Being a child of the hatless Kennedy times I am not up on the sartorial distinctions on this question.), cigar in his mouth, keeping time with his foot and stretching his fingers all across the keyboard just like you would think that the old time boogie woogie guys would do it if you had to describe what they were up to in words. The smoked-filled 1950's jazz club atmosphere of the film gives just the right feel to Sykes' work. Outstanding here is his version of "The Nighttime Is The Right Time".

I should note that the reason I got this film was to get a look at Roosevelt. As an added treat there is footage of Big Bill Broonzy doing a separate nightclub act in the same kind of atmosphere as that of the Sykes segment. And maybe just a little it more provocative with a hipster `dame' in the picture. Moreover, there are added segments of Big Bill wailing his acoustic guitar in practice that, I believe, came from one of Stefan Grossman's "Legends of The Country Blues" volumes. Nice.
4.0 out of 5 stars A rare chance to see old time blues masters at work 31 Aug 2013
By Jeffrey McFadden - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is marketed as one DVD, but it is two separate and distinct programs. I was not aware of Roosevelt Sykes before buying this DVD and bought it because I am such a fan of Big Bill Broonzy, but the Sykes portion of the program is a better presentation than most of the Broonzy portion.
If the DVD were all done in the format of the Roosevelt Sykes portion I would have given it 5 stars. It's a pretty straightforward recording session in which Sykes looks at the camera, introduces the next song he's going to play (and in some cases sing.) He was a blues, boogie woogie, and stride piano player, and his music was powerful.
Unfortunately, if it were all done in the format of the Broonzy portion I would have been stretching to give the DVD 3 stars. Rather than a straightforward, man playing on camera, recording session, most of the Broonzy session was presented as a dimly lit, artsy, European short movie showing him playing in a candlelit club, with far too much footing of a doe-eyed girl leaning over a piano dreamily watching him, too much footage of her drinking, too much footage of cigarettes burning on a piano keyboard, and not nearly enough footage of the man himself, playing and singing. If he had a left hand at all you couldn't tell it by watching this movie, but that's just the guitar player in me fussing.
The Broonzy portion was saved by a brief "front porch" recording done by Pete Seger in 1957, reported on the video's jacket to have been recorded just the day before Broonzy went under the knife for that throat cancer that was to take his life the following year. He performed flawlessly on these short recordings, and yes, guitar players, we did get to see both his hands at work.
If I had known exactly what I was buying I would still have bought it. There are so few video recordings of the geniuses of their era that even the needlessly artsy-fartsy European movie portion is better to have than to not have.
4.0 out of 5 stars Precious footage of two greats -especially Roosevelt Sykes 17 July 2013
By The Delite Rancher - Published on
This "Masters of the Country Blues" DVD features Big Bill Broonzy and the great Roosevelt Sykes. This is one of the few videos in circulation to show either bluesmen. The Roosevelt Sykes performance is simply amazing. Between puffs on his cigar, the legend sings and plays piano. While recorded in a studio, Sykes handles this as if he were playing a live set. His endearing charm really comes through. Indeed, it's easy to imagine this riveting set in a smokey club somewhere in the French Quarter. Beyond this, the setlist is close to perfect. He starts off with his anthem, 'The Honeydripper.' As a nod to Fats Domino, he plays 'Poor Me.' Next comes the standard, 'Night Time Is The Right Time.' Sykes' version of 'Sweet Old Chicago' is so good that it could have been the version that inspired The Blues Brothers. 'Sykes Boogie' is an instrumental that demonstrates the bluesman's piano prowess. The set finishes with his closer, 'Sunny Side Of The Street.' The song reminds us that while this is the Blues, Sykes has always played feel good music. The black and white camera work is straight-up. The audio is great while the picture quality is a bit fuzzy but good. This 1961 performance is pure satisfaction for anybody that has ever longed to watch Roosevelt Sykes perform. By the way, he can also be seen performing in the obscure documentary, "Out of the Blacks Into the Blues." The second half of the DVD features Big Bill Broonzy. The 1956 set was recorded in a Belgian night club. Off the top of your head, imagine what a European Jazz/Blues club looks like. This is that exact, iconic club! As an artistic black and white time capsule, the creative cinematography is stronger than the set of music. Imagery includes cigarette smoke drifting to the low ceiling, candles dripping on wine bottles, leopard skin coats and the dance of light that happens when liquor is poured into backlit cocktail glasses. Broonzy sings and plays solo acoustic guitar. Recorded the following year, the DVD closes with footage of Big Bill Broonzy playing outside on a porch. 'John Henry' is a welcome standard and 'Guitar Shuffle' is much appreciated. This "Masters of the Country Blues" disc offers musical and visual satisfaction. A big thanks goes to Shanachie for keeping this precious footage available.
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