Masters of the Country Blues

Taken from ’60s kinescopes of bare-bones TV shows, these three tapes — each featuring two legendary country bluesmen in separate performances — are a little blurry to see and fuzzy to hear. But that doesn’t take away from the power of this music.

Watching the charismatic intensity of Son House here, you can understand how he inspired such blues greats as Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. From the poker-faced crooning of Mance Lipscomb on ”Baby Please Don’t Go” to the conversational exhortations of Sonny Terry on ”My Baby Changed the Lock on the Door,” these men played it as they lived it — in fact, music was their way of understanding the stark, often bleak world around them. Masters shows just how uncluttered and unaffected country blues was at its best. A-

Masters of the Country Blues
  • Movie