Directed by Scott D. Rosenbaum
“Once Simply Sidemen, Now They’re the Stars” – NY Times
Narrated by Marc Maron.
Some jouneys take a lifetime… Having grown up on Martin Scorsese’s valediction to The Band, The Last Waltz, filmmaker Scott Rosenbaum wanted to make a film that similarly honored the life and musical legacy of these aging bluesmen: Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Hubert Sumlin. Luckily, several of these performances were filmed before their deaths. Those treasured moments are complimented by over two dozen subsequent interviews with some of blues and rock’s biggest names, demonstrating the true impact and tremendous respect that these three men engendered over the course of their long careers.
These men thrilled Rosenbaum with their tales of a lifetime spent on the road. First hand accounts of experiences with the mythical Robert Johnson, the larger-than-life Howlin’ Wolf, the seminal Muddy Waters and disciples such as Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones got the director’s creative wheels spinning.
Members of The Doors, The Allman Brothers, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Aerosmith, The Dave Matthews Band, as well as artists like Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Winter, Bobby Rush and Shemekia Copeland share their personal and professional recollections of these men and the impact that they’ve had on their own careers. When asked how they hoped to be remembered, Willie, Pine and Hubert consistently expressed their wish to be known for both having kept the blues alive and to serve as an inspiration for the younger generations of musicians. Several of these musicians have even contributed searing on-camera solo performances in tribute to these late blues legends. Haunting imagery of the Mississippi Delta region, the birthplace of the blues and these legendary bluesmen, punctuates this powerful piece of history. This film succeeds in capturing the personal triumphs, tragedies and tremendous perseverance of three of the last original Delta and Chicago bluesmen while preserving a critical legacy that is nothing short of our last links to the origins of all popular music.