This is a short preview trailer. You can watch the entire film at no charge on the Folkstreams website. Folkstreams is a nonprofit whose mission is to find, preserve, contextualize, and stream documentary films on American folklife.
The history of the blues that sprang from the Mississippi Delta. Rare photos and performances by Big Joe Williams, Houston Stackhouse and Furry Lewis help to weave the story of this music born in the Deep South. Narrated by B.B. King. Traditional blues songs were handed down by word-of-mouth from one performer to another, and artists would often add new lyrics to an old song and make it their own. The guitar and the harmonica were the primary tools of the Delta bluesman, mostly because of the ease of carrying them around. Many of the musicians of the early blues era (1910-1950) were sharecroppers or worked on one of the many plantations that dotted the Mississippi Delta. The Delta blues are typically identified by the music's highly rhythmic structure, sometimes featuring clashing rhythms, accompanied by strong vocals. Although the lyrics of Delta blues are often simple, with repeated lines a trademark of the style, they also tend to be highly personal and reflective of the hard life of the African-American farmer in the South.