Film by Bill Ferris; 21 minutes, color; 1975. An account of the blues
experience through the recollections and performances of
Son Thomas, inmates from Parchman prison, a barber from Clarkesdale, a
salesman from Beale Street, and others. Give My Poor Heart Ease is one
of a series of films made in Mississippi in the mid 1970s by William Ferris
and the Center for Southern Folklore and produced in association with Howard
Film by Bill Ferris, Josette Ferris; 41 minutes, color; 1969. Black and White
16mm documentary film based on fieldwork Bill Ferris conducted with Leland,
Mississippi, bluesman and folk artist James "Son" Thomas. Included
is footage of Thomas performing at juke houses, his wife preparing dinner,
and Thomas making skulls out of clay. The film was made before the advent of
16mm cameras that could take syncronized sound.
Film by John M. Bishop, Alan Lomax, Worth W. Long; 58 minutes, Color; 1979.
A self-described "song-hunter", the folklorist Alan Lomax traveled
the Mississippi Delta in the 1930s and 40s, sometimes in the company of black
folklorists like John W. Work III, armed with primitive recording equipment
and a keen love of the Delta's music heritage. Crisscrossing the towns and
hamlets where the blues began, Lomax gave voice to such greats as
and many others, all of whom made their debut recordings with him. In the
late 1970s Lomax returned with filmmaker John Bishop and black folklorist
Worth Long and made the film The Land Where the Blues Began. Shot on
video tape, the film is narrated by Lomax and includes remarkable performances
and stories by J.T. Tucker, William S. Hart, Bill Gordon, Belton Sutherland,
Reverend Caeser Smith, James Hall, Johnny Brooks, Clyde Maxwell, Bud Spires,
Jack Owens, Beatrice Maxwell, Walter Brown, Wilbert Puckett, and Othar Turner.
Alan Lomax's book by the same title won the 1993 National Book Critics Award
Film by Tom Davenport; 29 minutes, color; 1976. A portrait of Arthur "Peg
Leg Sam" Jackson - black harmonica player, singer, and comedian who made
his living "busking" on the street and performing in patent-medicine
shows touring southern towns. Footage includes excerpts from one of his last
medicine shows, videotaped at a county fair in 1972, and material filmed near
his home in South Carolina in 1975. The performance includes harmonica solos,
songs, a parody of a chanted sermon, folktales and reminiscences, and three
Film by Alan Lomax. An examination of the talents and wisdom of elderly
musicians, singers, and story-tellers, who perform not for fame or fortune
but to preserve and share their culture. Stories told by Janie Hunter (80
years old) of Johns Island, S.C.; ballads sung by ex-coal miner and union
organizer Nimrod Workman (91), of Chatteroy, W.V.; fiddle tunes and tales of
moonshining and feuds from Tommy Jarrell (83) of Toast, N.C.; Blues by Jack
Owens and Sam Chatman of Mississippi, footage from the Alabama Sacred Harp
Convention in Fyffe, Alabama, in which people of all ages gather to sing
old-time shape-note hymn, and Jazz performed in Preservation Hall in New
Orleans. Runtime: 00:57:21.
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