From Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, PBS will broadcast "Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues — A Musical Journey" on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) channel in the US. Scorsese is the executive director of the series and directed the first film.
"The Blues Have A Truth"
Scorsese, a longtime blues devotee, is the executive producer of the show, PBS' flagship fall program. The episodes — each directed by a different well-known filmmaker — are intended as personal, sometimes impressionistic, reflections on the blues. The episodes air each night at 9 pm, Eastern Standard Time.
Sept. 28: "Feel Like Going Home," directed by Scorsese and written by Peter Guralnik, pays homage to the Delta blues though rare archival footage of Son House, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker and new performances by Willie King, Taj Mahal, Otha Turner and Ali Farka Toure. Bluesman Corey Harris travels through Mississippi and West Africa, where he explores the roots of the music.
Sept. 29: "The Soul of a Man," directed by Wim Wenders, explores the lives and music of Blind Willie Johnson, Skip James and J. B. Lenoir; the first two are examined via a surprisingly moving fictional film-within-a-film and rare archival footage. Original recordings alternate with contemporary covers by such artists as Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams, Lou Reed, Cassandra Wilson and Los Lobos.
Sept. 30: "The Road to Memphis," directed by Richard Pearce and written by Robert Gordon, features B.B. King, Bobby Rush, Rosco Gordon and Ike Turner, as well as historical footage of Howlin' Wolf and Rufus Thomas.
Oct. 1: "Warming by the Devil's Fire," directed by Charles Burnett, is a fictional narrative about a young boy's encounter with his family in Mississippi in the 1950s, and intergenerational tensions between the heavenly strains of gospel and the devilish moans of the blues.
Oct. 2: "Godfathers & Sons," directed by Marc Levin, finds Marshall Chess, son of Leonard Chess and heir to the Chess Records legacy, and hip-hop legend Chuck D of Public Enemy, touring Chicago and its grand blues history as they produce an album bringing together veteran blues players and contemporary hip-hop stars.
Oct. 3: "Red White & Blues," directed by Mike Figgis, revisits the music of the early '60s British Invasion that reintroduced the American blues sound that had been pretty much ignored at home. Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Van Morrison and Tom Jones perform and talk about inspirations such as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Freddie King.
Oct. 4: "Piano Blues," directed by Clint Eastwood, explores his lifelong passion for piano blues.
The DVD and CDs are now available for sale.