The Blues A Musical Journey: The Road to Memphis

Film
Lovely, subtle, low key film from Pearce, a director whose qualities are not much in demand in Hollywood. An oasis for African Americans in the cultural desert of the segretated South, Memphis - and in particular Beale Street - was central to the development of the blues. Pearce tells the story by following Bobby Rush, still grinding out funky R&B after decades on the road, still dreaming of crossover success; BB King, moved as he recalls the first time his audience turned white; and Rosco Gordon, a '50s star who disappeared when Elvis took the blues into rock'n'roll - there's a brief but pointed exchange about this between Sam Phillips and Ike Turner. You can argue about the impact white patronage had on the music, but ultimately this is Gordon's film, a poignant figure dismayed by the face Beale Street puts on today.

By: TCh

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