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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best documentary i have seen on this great subject
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...
Published on 22 Nov. 2007 by E. Haughey

versus
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bargain but still a missed opportunity
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...
Published on 18 Nov. 2010 by Gizmophobic


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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best documentary i have seen on this great subject, 22 Nov. 2007
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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
This review is from: Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues (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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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bargain but still a missed opportunity, 18 Nov. 2010
By 
Gizmophobic - See all my reviews
(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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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Informative, 13 May 2013
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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 weeks. I'm guessing that it would be too much to view in one sitting for most people, no matter how enthusiastic they are about the Blues. Any of the DVD's could be watched as a stand alone film as they are all distinctly different.

The seven DVD's are:

Feel Like Going Home by Martin Scorsese. Travelling from the Mississippi Delta to the Niger River and including Corey Harris, Taj Mahal, Johnny Shines, Keb' Mo', Son House, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker amongst others.

The Soul Of A Man by Wim Wenders. The music of Skip James, Blind Willie Johnson and J B Lenoir. With performances by Lou Reed, Cassandra Wilson and Beck amongst others.

The Road To Memphis by Richard Pearce and Robert Kenner. Pays tibute to B B King. With Rosco Gordon, Ike Turner and Howlin' Wolf amongst other.

Warming By The Devil's Fire by Charles Burnett. An account of a boy whose uncle loves The Blues but whose mother said The Blues was the devil's music. There is archive footage of Son House, Big Bill Broonzy and Bessie Smith amongst others.

Godfathers And Sons by Marc Levin. Levin brings together veteran Blues players with contemporary Hip-Hop musicians. With Koko Taylor, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Willie Dixon amongst others.

Red, White & Blues by Mike Figgis. Figgis traces the history of the British Blues scene and its implications. With Eric Clapton, Humphrey Littelton and Lulu with Jeff Beck amongst others.

Piano Blues by Clint Eastwood. Eastwood explores his passion for Piano Blues. With Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck and Oscar Peterson amongst others.

If you appreciate Blues Music, there should be plenty to enjoy from this box set. It would take more than half a day on continual viewing to watch and listen to all of it. There is a booklet that comes with the set which introduces and précis the DVD's and to quote the final paragraph of Martin Scorsese's introduction. ... "If you already know the blues, then maybe these films will give you a reason to go back to it. And if you've never heard the blues, and your coming across it for the first time, I can promise you this: Your life is about to change for the better."
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4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag, but a worthwhile one, 14 Oct. 2012
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
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Seven 90 minute documentaries on various aspects of the blues by noted film makers, ranging from the disappointing "Godfathers and Sons", "Piano Blues"
to the sublime; Wim Wenders "The Soul of a Man" and Martin Scorsese's "Feel Like Going Home". The other three films fall somewhere in he middle.

As a series the overall impact was less than I hoped for, but still very worth seeing. I was surprised by the amount of overlap; not only are a number
of songs, and even specific recordings repeated in several of the films, but so are chunks of the vintage footage used.

To my personal taste, I found the series most potent and alive when it examined the roots of the blues on not just a musical, but also a political
and historic level. When it just presented little pieces of songs by various artists (especially modern ones) without the benefit of probing context,
it could feel predictably shallow. Still, an excellent overview of blues in the 20th century for those who already have a love for the form, and for
the newly curious.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Value for money, 10 Mar. 2012
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This is a very informative box set, which is based on Blues music. My father loved the Blues and was always talking about Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf, amongst others. As a child, I couldn't fully appreciate his enthusiasim for the genre and the original artistes, who developed it, however, everything has now come to light and I can see why my father felt the way he did.
The dvd, called Fathers and Sons, which is one of the films in the box set, brings Blues up to date, by including artistes like Chuck D and Common, who are Hip Hop artistes. They collaborate with the original musicians, who played on Electric Mud with Muddy Waters and give the tracks a modern feel, by incorporating Hip Hop scratching, MC ing, Soul singing and real Blues musicians.
There are seven dvd's and they cover a number of points, that relate to the Blues, I have just outlined one dvd, as I have been using it in my sessions, to educate the youth, who are new to the Blues.
This is a definite must, for your collection and if you teach music, then I would highly recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Blues DVD is value for money, 28 July 2010
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The Martin Scorcese collection of films about the blues Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey [DVD](each by a different director) is definitely for the aficianado. Some of it is rather long winded and crass (Wim Wenders take a bow) and the one which looks at the roots of blues in Africa needed so a) intellectual rigour and b) directorial talent and c) an editor. However, for the money the collection is well worth it just for the performance archive. Clint Eastwood directs the piano blues and demonstrates why he is one of the best directors around - he doesn't let his enthusiasm mask the telling of a good story. There are some gems in here - and unless you know it all you'll discover some nugget of pure joy like Skip James performing Cherry Ball or Beale Street before the white folks in charge turned it into a fecking car park.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best Blues documentary ever, bar none., 18 April 2010
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Amazon Customer (PLYMOUTH, DEVON United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Scorsese doesn't take the traditional documentary makers approach, instead he has let loose directors such as Mike Figgis, Wim Wenders and Clint Eastwood to present their own homage to a particular blues style. This may not be to everyone's taste as the collection loses some cohesion of style but each director's enthusiasm for their subject shines through and brings the genre to life. There are vintage clips, interviews and even fictional film sequences to illustrate the broad tapestry of the Blues. The Blues are brought to life by people who love the subject. Thank you Martin Scorsese for having the vision to do something different from another boring documentary. My personal favourites are British Electric Blues and Piano Blues.

A must for every Blues fan's colllection !!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant ! The best documentary on the subject bar none., 18 April 2010
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Amazon Customer (PLYMOUTH, DEVON United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Scorsese doesn't take the traditional documentary makers approach, instead he has let loose directors such as Mike Figgis, Wim Wenders and Clint Eastwood to present their own homage to a particular blues style. This may not be to everyone's taste as the collection loses some cohesion of style but each director's enthusiasm for their subject shines through and brings the genre to life. There are vintage clips, interviews and even fictional film sequences to illustrate the broad tapestry of the Blues. The Blues are brought to life by people who love the subject. Thank you Martin Scorsese for having the vision to do something different from another boring documentary. My personal favourites are British Electric Blues and Piano Blues.

A must for every Blues fan's colllection !!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great extended introduction to the genre., 16 Feb. 2013
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 heartbreaking. So many angles are covered, from exploring near-successes to going all the way back to west Africa where it started.

The Eastwood contribution is worth it alone, along with Richard Pearce.

This only gets four stars from me because of the Charles Burnett film. It's a dramatic reconstruction, and unfolds like a dull tape they play on loop in museums.

Other than that, it's definitely worth your money and more importantly your time (this is 7 feature length documentaries we're talking about here...).
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