Mississippi Delta Blues

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.

Watch the entire film at Folkstreams

Bill Ferris writes, ”This film was originally edited by Josette Ferris and me from super-8 and 16mm footage that I shot in 1967 and 1968 in Lorman, Leland, and Clarksdale, Mississippi. It was later edited with the titles now featured in it by Judy Peiser. The filming was done during my field work for my PhD dissertation in folklore at the University of Pennsylvania. The dissertation is entitled “Black Folklore From the Mississippi Delta”(1969). Interviews with many of the musicians in this film are featured in my book Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues.

Musicians who perform in the film include Louis Dotson (Lorman, MS), Lovey Williams (Morning Star, MS), Jasper Love (Clarksdale, MS), Cleveland “Broom Man” Jones (Leland, MS), James “Son Ford” Thomas (Leland, MS), “Little Son” Jefferson (Leland, MS), Joe Cooper (Leland, MS), “Poppa” Neal (Leland, MS), “Sonny Boy” Watson (Leland, MS), Shelby “Poppa Jazz” Brown (Leland, MS), Wade Walton (Clarksdale, MS), Wallace “Pine Top” Johnson (Clarksdale, MS), Maudie Shirley (Clarksdale, MS), and “Big Jack” Johnson (Clarksdale).

  • Film by: Judy Peiser, Bill Ferris
  • Produced by: Bill Ferris, Judy Peiser, Center For Southern Folklore
  • Cinematographer: Bill Ferris
  • Sound: Bill Ferris
  • Editor: Bill Ferris, Josette Ferris, Judy Peiser (16mm version)
  • Funding: The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Original Format: Super8
  • © Judy Peiser, Bill Ferris 1974
  • 18mins, Black & White