February 1st, 2012
Title: Maxwell Street Blues (documentary)
Label: Facets Video
Formats: DVD (56 min., NTCS); stream via Amazon Instant Video
Release date: October 25, 2011
Fans of the blues are in for treat with the re-release of Maxwell Street Blues (1981) on DVD. The documentary film takes its viewers on a walking tour of Chicago’s famous Maxwell Street market in the late 1970s where, among the merchants selling a variety of goods, there are street corner musicians, young and old, playing their instruments and singing to express the sweet sounds of the blues while still trying to make a living. Interspersed among the musical segments are tidbits of commentary that add a sense of history by explaining what is happening presently compared to what happened in the past.
Included in the re-release package are bonus features such as an 11 minute interview with blues historian Justin O’Brien about Maxwell Street, a photo gallery that chronicles the musicians of Maxwell Street photographed by Paul Procaccio, and a 1:30 minute slide show illustrating how the original Maxwell Street video was re-mastered and the quality enhanced. Additionally, a new booklet has been added to the package that includes an introduction to Maxwell Street Blues, biographies of the musicians of Maxwell Street, and a historical timeline of the happenings on Maxwell Street. For history buffs this is a one of a kind look at a street where a who’s who among Chicago blues singers mingled and played among the shoppers. For those who have not seen the original film, this is a must see!
Reviewed by Clayton McConnell
Editor’s note: readers might also be interested in And This Is Free: The Life and Times of Chicago’s Legendary Maxwell St. (1964), re-released on DVD in 2008 by Shanachie.
Review Genre(s): Blues