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Author Topic: Sam Charters film The Blues  (Read 1917 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Sam Charters film The Blues
« on: February 22, 2015, 01:01:10 PM »
Article from The Scotsman. Gary Atkinson from Document has restored the film from what the article says is the sole surviving copy, which Charters recently found in his house. They're making a documentary about it.

http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/arts/news/how-a-visit-to-scotland-helped-save-the-blues-1-3697923

Although I don't think it's the sole surviving copy. A couple years ago, the film briefly showed up on YouTube. I was travelling and never saw it before it was taken down.

Offline Lignite

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2015, 03:00:01 PM »
I was lucky enough to see this film in color. It was shown as part of the Blues Festival at UNC in Chapel Hill where I was an undergraduate in 1973. It's been a while, but the parts of it I remember are Furry Lewis sweeping the street and Sleepy John Estes and his wife found in dire poverty in a very rundown shack with him using a pencil and rubber band for a guitar capo. Bruce Bastin was a graduate student at UNC at the time and was organizer of this wonderful Festival. I remember that he didn't think too kindly about the way Charters presented some of the artists (especially Estes) in the film. I think that he thought that they should have been presented in a more dignified manner. At the time I just thought that it was very cool to see all these bluesmen in their natural environment that we'd only been able to hear via their recordings.I'd like to see this film again to see how I would feel about it now.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2015, 04:31:07 PM »
I saw it back in the day as well, around the time that Lightning saw it--perhaps a little earlier. I picked up the LP, which is  still available as a custom CD or download, and the liner notes are  available on-line:

http://www.folkways.si.edu/the-blues-music-from-the-documentary-film-by-sam-charters/soundtracks-musicals/album/smithsonian

http://media.smithsonianfolkways.org/liner_notes/folkways/FWASCH101.pdf

Offline harriet

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2015, 04:48:54 PM »
Saw it on youtube I wish it would come back - this time I am ready with a converter to save to desktop. I looked for and found one after it disappeared.

Offline oddenda

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2015, 07:06:53 PM »
Lignite -

          While Bastin was the public face for the Chapel Hill concerts, he and I were partners in it all. I tended to collect the performers, and I recorded all the performances over the three days. I missed out on ancillary stuff like the film due to chauffeur duties! Did the same for a "preamble' concert the previous fall with Willie Trice, Peg Leg Sam, and Henry Johnson. It was a "one time only" occurrence at Chapel Hill, but it was a great one! Bruce went home at the end of that school year and I kept on keeping on through 1980 to an underwhelming reception.

Peter B.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2015, 07:08:22 PM by oddenda »

Offline Lignite

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2015, 08:02:40 AM »
Well Thanks so much for all you did to put on those shows in Chapel Hill back in the day, Pete. I went to the preamble shows in Gerard Hall too and the Willie Trice concert was especially unforgettable and life changing to me.

Offline daddystovepipe

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2015, 11:08:58 AM »
message from Document Records!!

We are currently editing the filmed interview of Sam and Ann Charters who discuss the making of the film “The Blues”; from concept, through the filming of it and the final result. There must be around two hours of fascinating interview which we are having to edit down. Eventually, this will be released as a DVD, along with the original, uncut film "The Blues". There will also be a CD of the music from the film, including unreleased recordings which never made it to the film. The package will also include an accompanying booklet.

Offline jostber

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2015, 02:42:23 PM »
Anyone heard more on when this will be released?

Offline PDGRANT

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2015, 03:44:36 PM »
Would love to see this - any footage of John would be great to see. I passed through Brownsville a couple of years back and took some photos of his place. The computer's in storage 'til the end of year - going travelling - but I'll post them up with I get a chance.

Offline banjochris

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2015, 04:25:20 PM »
Would love to see this - any footage of John would be great to see. I passed through Brownsville a couple of years back and took some photos of his place. The computer's in storage 'til the end of year - going travelling - but I'll post them up with I get a chance.

You have seen this, right?

Offline StoogeKebab

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2015, 01:52:30 AM »
Would love to see this - any footage of John would be great to see. I passed through Brownsville a couple of years back and took some photos of his place. The computer's in storage 'til the end of year - going travelling - but I'll post them up with I get a chance.

Here are a few more which were admittedly harder to find in case you haven't seen them :) There are some crowd shots and documentary style cuts too but on the whole, great footage from Japan, 1976.





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Offline daddystovepipe

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2017, 07:53:13 AM »
Here's an update from Document Records on "The Blues" Sam Charters movie.,

The arrival of your email has been something of a coincidence, as the subject of the Sam Charters film was part of a general meeting only this morning, which had “productions” on its agenda.
 
There has been a long delay in the post production of the film because of various reasons, non to do with the making of the film itself. Nevertheless, the film had to be pushed down the list of priorities for a much longer than I had hoped. That being said, it has since moved up in the que and we are expecting to get back to it by the summer, from which it will be among our top priorities. The hope is that we would have it ready by Christmas but the timing for the completion of such projects as this can be hard to calculate accurately. Nevertheless, what I can say is that we will be working on it, again, soon and we have certainly not forgotten this wonderful project.

 

Offline Johnm

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2017, 08:55:42 AM »
Thanks for the update, Carl.  This movie was under discussion just the other day, and it's good to hear that it will be available sometime in the not-too-distant future.  I'm very interested to see Charters' footage of Baby Tate.
All best,
Johnm

Offline harriet

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2017, 10:52:20 AM »
Oh boy :)!

Offline Stuart

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2017, 07:26:03 PM »
I'm looking forward to watching the restored version with the additional material. I have a mp4 that I must have downloaded from YT-- the file is dated 10/13/2013. So it definitely was available for around that time. The running length is 19:43, which is shorter than the 35:33 total for the album tracks at the S-F page. Perhaps what was up on YT was a truncated version, but if it wasn't, hopefully Sam Charters had additional footage that didn't make it into the original film, but he held on to and will be available on the Document release.

Offline daddystovepipe

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Re: Sam Charters film The Blues
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2019, 10:59:12 AM »
I asked Gary Atkinson of Document Records an update for the movie "The Blues" by Sam Charters.  Here's his reply :

The documentary film was finally completed in the autumn of last year. We are very pleased with the results.

It has been given the title of 'Searching For Secret Heroes - The Making Of A Film'. It is made up in two sections. The first is made up of interviews with Sam and Ann Charters discussion how, as a young couple in 1962 the ventured south with a wind up 16mm camera and a reel to reel tape recorder hoping to catch on film, for the first time, some of the "country blues" artists who could still be found and were still performing at their homes and locally. This section lasts for fifty-seven minutes ending with Sam and Ann describing what they had found in the segregated south of the time. As a young couple from the north, they were shocked yet they were also elated with what they had captured both on film and on the microphone. The remaining section is that of the entire film that they shot and which Sam simply called 'The Blues'.

We are now working on the notes and the album, which will accompany the DVD, which is due to be released at the end of this year.