The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1965, Vol. 1 [DVD] [2003]

Thank the fates for the folks at Germany's SWR broadcasting network, who not only had the vision to put some of America's greatest blues talents on television when they toured Europe for the first time in the early '60s, but had the good sense to treat the archived videotapes with the care they deserved. While the quality of the performances on The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966, Vol. One is, to a certain degree, a given (just how often were Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, or Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee lousy on-stage?), the quality of the presentation is the very pleasant surprise of this package. The images and audio are both of strikingly strong quality, and the transfer to disc -- with the images in their original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and the audio mastered in crisp PCM Mono -- is little short of flawless. It would be a treat to be able to see this stuff in any form, but in this quality, the collection is little short of a knockout. This disc is short on bonus materials -- a 1969 performance by Earl Hooker and a gallery of still photos are all the extras on board -- but the combination of superb performances from legendary artists in excellent picture and sound quality will make this a must-have item for any serious blues collector.
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Special Features

  • 24-page booklet with an essay by Rob Bowman
  • Bonus track from Earl Hooker in 1969, "Walking the Floor Over You/Off the Hook"
  • Foreward by Bill Wyman (The Rolling Stones)
  • Newly discovered photo archive


American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966, Vol. 1
In 1962, German concert promoters Horst Lippmann and Fritz Rau were a pair of music enthusiasts who, after bringing a number of top jazz artists to Germany, struck upon the idea of assembling a package tour of leading blues artists for a series of shows in Europe. The inaugural American Folk Blues Festival marked the first time that many music fans outside the United States had the opportunity to see some of America's great blues performers in person, and the tour had a seismic impact in many of the countries where they performed, especially England (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones, who would later form the Rolling Stones, were all in the audience for the first tour's sole British date). After the initial tour's rousing success, The American Folk Blues Festival became an annual event, and Lippman, who also worked in broadcasting, arranged for the festival's artists to appear on a series of German television specials. The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966, Vol. One was assembled from videotaped performances of headliners from the festival's first four years; included are rare performances from Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Sippie Wallace, Otis Rush, and many more. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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