The Blues (film series)

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The Blues is a 2003 documentary film series produced by Martin Scorsese, dedicated to the history of blues music. In each of the seven episodes, a different director explores a stage in the development of the blues. The series originally aired on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) in the United States.[1]

Feel Like Going Home[edit]

Feel Like Going Home
Directed byMartin Scorsese
Written byPeter Guralnick
Produced bySam Pollard
StarringAli Farka Touré
Corey Harris
Salif Keita
Son House
Taj Mahal
John Lee Hooker
Keb' Mo'
Willie King
CinematographyArthur Jafa
Edited byDavid Tedeschi
Release date
September 28, 2003

Director Martin Scorsese pays tribute to the Delta blues, tracing the roots of the music by traveling through the state of Mississippi with the musician Corey Harris and then traveling to West Africa. Willie King, Taj Mahal, Othar Turner and Ali Farka Touré give performances of early Delta blues songs, along with rare archival film of Son House, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker.

The Soul of a Man[edit]

The Soul of a Man
Directed byWim Wenders
Written byWim Wenders
Produced byAlex Gibney
Narrated byLaurence Fishburne
CinematographyLisa Rinzler
Edited byMathilde Bonnefoy
Music bySkip James
Blind Willie Johnson
J. B. Lenoir
Release date
September 29, 2003

Written and directed by Wim Wenders, the film explores the musical careers of blues musicians Skip James, Blind Willie Johnson and J. B. Lenoir.

The Road to Memphis[edit]

The Road to Memphis
Directed byRichard Pearce
Written byRobert Gordon
Produced byRobert Kenner
StarringB. B. King
Bobby Rush
Rosco Gordon
Ike Turner
CinematographyRichard Pearce
Edited byCharlton McMillan
Release date
September 30, 2003

Directed by Richard Pearce, this episode focuses on the Beale Street music scene, particularly three Memphis blues musicians with different levels of acclaim: B. B. King, Rosco Gordon and Bobby Rush.[2]

Warming by the Devil's Fire[edit]

Warming by the Devil's Fire
Directed byCharles Burnett
Written byCharles Burnett
Produced byMargaret Bodde
Alex Gibney
StarringTommy Hicks
Nathaniel Lee Jr.
CinematographyJohn N. Demps
Edited byEdwin Santiago
Music byStephen James Taylor
Release date
October 1, 2003

Written and directed by Charles Burnett, this film presents the tale of a young boy traveling to Mississippi to visit relatives. He is caught between the pressures of his religious mother and gospel music, and the eagerness of his blues-loving uncle. The film includes performance by

Godfathers and Sons[edit]

Godfathers and Sons
Directed byMarc Levin
Produced byDaphne Pinkerson
Marc Levin
StarringMarshall Chess
Chuck D
CinematographyMark Benjamin
Edited byBob Eisenhardt
Release date
October 2, 2003

Director Marc Levin follows Marshall Chess as he remembers his father's contribution to Chicago blues history as the co-founder of Chess Records and his own production of the controversial album Electric Mud. He organizes a reunion of the musicians that made Electric Mud to record new versions of Muddy Waters's blues standard "Mannish Boy", with contributions by hip hop artists, including Chuck D of Public Enemy, Common & Kyle Jason.

Red, White and Blues[edit]

Red, White and Blues
Directed byMike Figgis
Produced byLouise Hammar
Shirani Sabratnam
CinematographyBarry Ackroyd
Mike Eley
John Lynch
Stephen Standen
Edited byDavid Martin
Nigel Karikari
Release date
October 3, 2003

Directed by Mike Figgis, this episode is dedicated to blues culture in Britain and to the effect of the British Invasion on American blues culture. It contains footage from a jam session and interviews with the musicians Jeff Beck, Van Morrison and others.

Piano Blues[edit]

Piano Blues
Directed byClint Eastwood
Written byPeter Guralnick
Produced byClint Eastwood
Bruce Ricker
StarringMarcia Ball
Dave Brubeck
Ray Charles
Pinetop Perkins,...
CinematographyVic Losick
Edited byJoel Cox, Gary Roach
Release date
October 4, 2003

Directed by Clint Eastwood, this episode is dedicated to blues music played on the piano. Eastwood, a piano player and accomplished composer, interviews such key figures as Dr. John, Ray Charles, Jay McShann (shown on the DVD cover), and Pinetop Perkins.


  1. ^ Mitchell, Elvis (September 26, 2003). "TELEVISION REVIEW; The Blues: A History, A Homage". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Gallo, Phil (September 6, 2003). "The Road To Memphis". Variety.

External links[edit]