You have heard that they save the best for last. Such is the case with the final show of this series. Even TaLkiní bLuEs filmmaker, Mako Funasaka, admits this to be his favourite. "Blues - After All" consists of 4 interviews and a music video.
Best known for his days spent with Muddy Waters, acclaimed pianist Pinetop Perkins never became a major star. He has always been more comfortable backing up someone else and playing with friends. It is in such a setting that his interview takes place. Pinetop is filmed in the recording studio taking part in the "Snooky Pryor and his Mississippi Wrecking Crew" sessions. When it comes to blues piano, the frail, almost 90 year old Perkins may easily be the heavyweight champ after nearly a 70 year career. In this segment, Pinetop comes across like a gentle grandfather. Well, letís make that a great-grandfather. This son of a Baptist preacher is the sole surviving member of his family. The grateful legend claims he canít play like he used to but youíd never know it from the clips of him performing at the piano.
Al Lerman (composer/harpist/saxophonist) is the essence to Canadaís popular group Fathead. In his interview, he appears very animated and tells two revealing stories involving his blues idols. During a chance to sit in with the great Muddy Waters, a young Lerman experienced an epiphany. He learned, "itís not how much you play, its where you put it." Waters complemented Lerman by telling him "you play nice" and that has remained a huge inspiration for him to this day. Another tale involves Big Walter Horton. Unfortunately, as Al ended up burning Hortonís pants with a cigarette, there were no compliments this time.
Blues fans will recognize R.J. Spangler as Johnnie Bassettís drummer. However, he is also the Detroit Blues Society chairperson, the manager for Alberta Adams and Joe Weaver among others, leader of his own group (R.J.ís Rhythm Rockers) and a Detroit roots music fanatic. He says, "blues is a feeling" and that he is trying to "ensure the legacy continues. Iím trying to be a torch-bearer but Iím not a founding father." As Spangler is white and came to the blues via Eric Clapton, he is honest and realistic when he says he will "never be a bluesman." R.J. considers himself to be a blues player and a blues musician. He speaks truthfully about the black and white stigma long associated with the genre. He succinctly summarizes, "itís a cultural thing."
Blues belter Darrell Nulisch describes how he learned to play the blues by ear from listening to records. He didnít know about such things as keys until later in his career. He claims one benefit to being in the blues business is that a certain amount of respect and credibility comes with age. This works to his advantage as he can no longer be described as a youngblood. His interview is cut with live clips of him performing at Torontoís Silver Dollar Room. Viewers experience for themselves why Darrell regularly sings at James Cottonís gigs. The show concludes with a video from rising Canadian star David Rotundo. Like Jack de Keyzer in the initial episode, the video was filmed live and then matched as closely as possible to audio from a studio recording. There is a noticeable out of synchronization audio/video timing but the performance is so overwhelming it helps to mask this imperfection.
Mako Funasaka definitely has film-making talent. Throughout the six-part series, he proves himself time and time again. He tackles tough subjects like can white man play the blues and what it is like to be a woman living in a male dominated blues world. His cinematography skills are proven by filming in black and white and using widescreen to create certain moods and effects. Although this was the final episode, letís hope that Funasakaís risk-taking series created enough interest and generated the ratings for more shows.
For further information, contact: www.talkinblues.com
Do you want to see more taLkiN' bLuEs? Would you like to see taLkiN' bLuEs but it isn't available in your area? Show your support for taLkiN' bLuEs by contacting Bravo! TV Canada www.bravo.ca with your thoughts. Send your comments on why this series should be continued or shown in your area for the first time to Laura T. Aylon-Regu Communications Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org With the support of the blues community, we may be able to make this happen.
Finally, if you have any questions, comments, criticisms, etc... about the series by all means, please contact the taLkiN' bLuEs producer Mako Funasaka email@example.com or enter a comment in the guestbook at www.talkinblues.com
"TaLkin' bLuEs" TV Series - Episode 5
"TaLkin' bLuEs" TV Series - Episode 4
"TaLkin' bLuEs" TV Series - Episode 3
"TaLkin' bLuEs" TV Series - Episode 2
"TaLkin' bLuEs" TV Series - Episode 1
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