From MVD Entertainment, comes a great concert/documentary film. It is a film from well known director Robert Mugge, that covers the influential blues label that is Chicago based Alligator Records. So why the hell does this film review go on this site? Well there are two major reasons.
First off, the content of blues music is the dark personification of what is portrayed in numerous horror genres. While this film focuses more on the upbeat Chicago Blues style, it is still good to know about. If you start getting into blues music through Chicago style rhythms, you may soon find yourself deep in the cursed darkness that is the world of the Delta Blues. I have forever equated the hopelessness, dark settings, and lyrical sadness in the blues with films of the darker variety. I even wrote a story that mashes up the torture film genre with Leadbelly’s classic song Where Did You Sleep Last Night? This song was also made popular by Nirvana, another band that would have truly understood the world of underground films.
The second major reason this film is important to this site and scene, is the fact that it is about the underground/indie world. Alligator Records was a small independent label, put together in a record store. It was a company that wanted to manage, promote, and sign independent artists and bring them out into the open. This is very similar to the mission of Beneath the Underground. We want to provide a place for fans and filmmakers. Just like Alligator was a label by fans for fans, BtU is a site by fans for fans. While it would be amazing for us to become as big and influential in the film world as Alligator is in the music world, we are currently fine writing about what we love.
Aside from brutally dark metal, I love blues music. This film has excellent concert footage from the Alligator Records 20th Anniversary Tour. The sound quality is great and the performances are intense. The work of Koko Taylor and Lonnie Brooks are memorable to say the least. If you don’t know about this stuff, give it a chance. Live music DVD’s are out there, and they tend to be fairly cheap. So if you are a collector, I suggest going out and picking some up, even if it isn’t in the blues genre.
This film presents musical highlights from one of the 4-plus-hour concerts (March 12th at Philadelphia’s Chestnut Cabaret) that made up the Alligator Records 20th Anniversary Tour. The “pride and joy” on display are not only that of fine musical artists plying their trades, but also that of a passionate and highly principled entrepreneur succeeding in a business mostly controlled by corporate giants and littered with the wreckage of countless small, independent labels. Songs in the film include “Pride and Joy” and “Ed’s Boogie” (Lil’ Ed), “Pussycat Moan” and “Lord, I Wonder” (Katie Webster), “El-Bo” and “Beer Drinking Woman” (Elvin Bishop), “I’d Rather Go Blind” (Koko Taylor), “Wife For Tonight” and “I Want All My Money Back” (Lonnie Brooks), “It’s A Dirty Job” (Koko Taylor with Lonnie Brooks), and “Sweet Home Chicago” (final joint encore). A companion soundtrack-and-tour CD set is available from Alligator Records. Transferred to HD from the original 16mm film and lovingly restored.