If you’re a guitar player, there’s definitely some tasty licks to be copped from this DVD. The Mississippi Sheiks were a late 1920s and 1930s guitar and fiddle group based around a family named the Chatmons. The two most well-known members were Bo Carter (Armenter Chatmon) and Sam Chatmon, who also recorded on their own. Probably their most famous song is Sitting On Top Of The World, popularized by the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Cream and, lately, Harry Manx. This tribute concert DVD follows on the heels of an audio recording released in October 2009, compiled by the fine roots guitar player Steve Dawson. The venue is the Capilano Performing Arts Theatre in Vancouver. The concert has a certain looseness (there was only one rehearsal) but the footage is taken from the second night when the musicians obviously felt confident and their affection for both the music and each other is palpable.
In the field of guitar giants, it doesn’t get much better than watching Steve Dawson, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Bob Brozman and Dave Alvin demonstrating their art and trading solos. John Hammond contributes a rousing version of Kind Treatment. Music legend Van Dyke Parks is also on hand and Vancouver multi-instrumentalist Daniel Lapp makes his mark all over on fiddle, trumpet, mandolin and tuba. Other artists include Oh Susanna, The Sojourners, Geoff Muldaur, Colin James and Jim Byrnes. One of the stranger choices is avant garde composer Robin Holcomb, who usually is in Nonesuch Records territory but even she’s memorable, if out there. No extras but with musicians of this calibre, who needs ’em?