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with Jesus

On February 7, 2003 about fifty famous blues musicians gave a benefit concert at Radio City Music Hall to celebrate 100 years of the blues. Starting with an African piece from Togo, and moving through slave and turn of the century black music, the concert functions as a sort of history of the movement. Except for a few back stage interviews, marvelous black and white archival material, and short interviews, this unadorned documentary lets the concert speak for itself. Listening to ninety minutes of the blues, I was struck by the powerful simplicity of the words, and how merely knowing the words and the music by no means adds up to the blues. Except for John Fogerty, Bonnie Raitt, Aerosmith and a couple others, all the musicians are black, which makes for a strange setting when you realize that most all the people in the audience are wealthy whites (similar to an NBA basketball game in this regard). Yes, BB King gave the final two songs. This film is a music lover's delight.

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