Last Of The Mississippi Jukes – DVD
An 86-minute film about Jackson, Mississippi's Subway Lounge and Clarksdale, Mississippi's Ground Zero Blues Club with performances by Alvin Youngblood Hart, Chris Thomas King, Bobby Rush, Vasti Jackson, Patrice Moncell, Levon Lindsey, Abdul Rasheed, Greg "Fingers" Taylor, Lucille, Eddie Cotton, Dennis Fountain, Pat Brown, George Jackson, King Edward Blues Band, House Rockers, and more. Also featuring interviews with Jimmy King, Morgan Freeman, Bill Luckett, Dick Waterman, Steve Cheseborough, etc.
1. Amazon - Top Customer Reviews - Funky 'Zilla on January 1, 2005 - Era of Blues
This documentary is a must have, especially for music lovers of the blues and the roots of original American music. The film depicts old and new juke joints and honky tonks throughout the Mississippi Delta region. The main focus of the documentary is on the Subway Lounge in Jackson, MS. Located in the basement of the delapidated Summers Hotel. Sadly to say, The Subway Lounge is now closed due to the condition of the building and is scheduled to be demolished. This is truly a remorseful period because the Subway had been instrumental in preserving blues, jazz, funk, R&B, and blends of indigenious soul music of the South. Notable appearances on the film include actor/true gentleman Morgan Freeman, the secret treasure Patrice Moncelle, the character Fingers Taylor, the legendary Bobby Rush and the obscure but immensely talented J.T. Watkins and Levon Lindsey. Even though one era has passed in respect to the music scene, the rediscovery of the blues in America due to performers such as Stevie Ray Vaughn and Robert Cray has allowed newer establishments to continue the rich tradition of the blues. That being said, I must mention that I am partial to the film due to the fact that I grew up the area and frequented the Subway Lounge for years. And I urge anyone who is fan of Blues to make the journey to Mississippi and experience the music still brewing from old and new juke joints alike.
I had initially intended to review this DVD mainly on the basic of the roots aspect of the documentary. Something along the lines, as I have done in the past, of paying tribute to those like Bobby Rush and King Edwards who continue the roots traditions down at the base without much hope of great recognition or riches. However, after viewing the footage of the up close and very personal indignities suffered by the older performing artists here back in Jim Crow days, day after day, as they were trying to keep the blues alive as an expression of the black cultural gradient that forms the American experience I feel more strongly the need to put on my political hat on this one.
Although there are plenty of references to blues, old and new and several performance from the new crop of blues devotees I was struck, and powerfully so, about the insights that this documentary put forth about the nature of Jim Crow society that existed in the not distant past down in Mississippi (and not just Mississippi and not just in the deeply segregated South). This policy struck the famous and those not so famous among the black population, homegrown or tourist. There are many anecdotal stories here about a number of events that revolved around the hotel, the "juke joint", and just the every day of black experience and what Jim Crow was down at the base for black people. Yes, get this one for its slice of black history. But also get it to remember as I have said it before but Nina Simone's old lyrics brings out so strongly. Once again, "Mississippi god dam".