The Blues Report
I don't get to see the vast number of live blues I used to, due to the fact that our local Blues Club sold it's soul for the love of money and more mainstream pop and rock music. That however is somewhat compensated for with the many fine CD's I receive for review which I can leisurely listen to over a nice meal, beer, glass of wine, or all the above. At least once or twice a year I am lucky enough to have a Blues DVD sent to me for review and the following is one I recently received.
It was all the summer, and all the fall,
Just trying to find my little all and all,
But now she's gone, I don't worry,
I'm sittin' on top of the world
Many of us have heard the song "Sitting On Top Of The World", but how many of us new it was originally a song written by The Mississippi Sheiks, in 1930?
"The Mississippi Sheiks were one of the most popular and successful string bands of the 1930's. Most of their members were part of the same family, the Chatmans, which included Charley Patton and Peter Chatman as members. They recorded under many different names: Walter Jacobs and the Carter Brothers; The Chatmon Brothers; The Mississippi Mud Steppers; The Mississippi Blacksnakes, as well as the better known Mississippi Sheiks. The name was adopted from an old film starring Rudolph Valentino called "The Sheiks". Their brother Bo's real name was Armenter, but he recorded under the name Bo Carter throughout his career. The Sheiks themselves were extremely sophisticated compared to similar groups, playing in various keys, utilizing complex chords, etc. They played for both black and white audiences. They played many styles of music, hokum, folk, dance music, waltzes, two-steps, black bottom, and of course country blues."
The Mississippi Sheiks Tribute Concert (DVD) is the second of 2 projects envisioned and put together by Vancouver songwriter, musician and producer Steve Dawson, the first project being, the Tribute Album, "Things About Comin' My Way - A Tribute To The Music Of The Mississippi Sheiks".
The concert was filmed at the Capillano Performing Arts Theatre in North Vancouver, British Columbia, over a period of two nights, March 12th and 13th, 2010, and along with Steve Dawson and his house band, their were also a great lineup of guest performers including, Oh Susanna, The Sojourners, Geoff Muldaur, Colin James, Bob Brozman, Van Dyke Parks, Robin Holcomb, Alvin Youngblood Hart, John Hammond, Dave Alvin, Christy McWilson, and Jim Byrnes. Some of the Guest Artists played on the original Tribute Album, such as, The Sojourners, John Hammond, Oh Susanna, Jim Byrnes, Geoff Muldaur, Bob Brozman, and Robin Holcomb, however they did sing different songs on the DVD Tribute, except for Robin Holcomb who sung "I've Got Blood In My Eyes For You", on both projects.
Of the 17 songs that were part of the Tribute Album, only 5 were used for this Tribute Concert DVD. This of course makes for another fresh new experience and in doing it that way, it also becomes a good companion set to have, with a lot different on each Project.
The Mississippi Sheiks Tribute Concert (DVD) has a run-time of 85 minutes and consists of an introduction by Steve Dawson, and several of the guest performers, and other artists going through how the projects were put together, including some preliminary rehearsing.
The show starts in fine fashion with Jim Byrnes doing commentary about The Mississippi Sheiks, as the band quietly played "Sitting On Top Of The World". That opening to the Show set the tone beautifully for the all the great songs that followed, by all the great guest artists. I specifically liked the extra touch that they added to the ambience of the concert by having the picture of each songs record label as it was being performed.
Each performance from each of the Guest Artists where not only very special, but they also offered us a unique look into who The Mississippi Sheiks were and how differce and special their talent and writing, and musical ability was. As the Guest Artists showed, The Mississippi Sheiks were certainly on of the best groups of it's era and created a lot of music that will forever be timeless.
As for all the Artists whom contributed to this Project, one only has to Google their names to bear witness to their immense talent, which shines through on each and every song, especially The Sojourners, redention of "Sweet Maggie", one of my favorite performances on this DVD.
The Mississippi Sheiks Tribute Concert (DVD) contains, as one might expect, a lot of highlights, from the opening Chapter to the final gathering of all the Artists to sing "Sitting On Top Of The World", which of course is the way a lot of concerts end when they are a Tribute Style Concert.
The Mississippi Sheiks Tribute Concert (DVD) is certainly a DVD worth having in ones collection, filed under the category of very important blues history. It is also a more than worthy companion to the Tribute Album that preceded it.
As far as Blues Oriented DVD's go, this is certainly one of the finest productions I have have had the opportunity to Review, thanks largely to the efforts of Steve Dawson and those more than willing to help and contribute for their good friend and fellow Artist.