Various Artists

Chicago Blues [Rhapsody]

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There have been better documentaries about Chicago blues, such as Sweet Home Chicago, than this fifty-minute film, which alternates performance clips with footage of the Chicago ghetto and laconic narration about the most oppressive aspects of the culture from which electric blues sprang. The unsentimental cinema verite scenes of inner-city African-American life are a refreshing contrast, though, to the feel-good tone of some modern blues studies. What really makes this video worth checking out for blues fans, however, are the scenes of Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, and J.B. Hutto live on stage circa 1970, along with lower-keyed bits with the lesser-known Floyd Jones and Johnie Lewis. Guy's version of "First Time I Met the Blues" is an electrifying highlight.