Corey Harris said in the first part of this documentary series, “To know yourself you have to know the past, and to know where you going, you have to know where you been.” They go all the way back to Africa to talk about these roots. What are your thoughts about the necessity of us, as a blues community, going back to know the past in order to know where we’re going as a community, both in the music and the dance?
What did you learn about some of these blues musicians that you didn’t know before? Or what was your favorite piece of information you got from “The Soul of a Man”?
Have any of you been to Beale Street? What are your thoughts about the history there and the destruction of the buildings that represented so much of the black musical history discussed in “The Road to Memphis”?
How well do you feel the tensions between blues and gospel were portrayed in “Warming by the Devil’s Fire”? Did you like the format of this one, or would you have preferred it to give you the information differently? Why?
“Godfathers and Sons” revolves around the creation of a new record that combines blues and hip-hop greats. The idea is that if they combine hip-hop and blues, the record can introduce a new generation to the blues that inspired these and other artists. What were your thoughts on this idea, especially given the historical context in the documentary?
My favorite part of piano blues is Ray Charles telling his story about how he learned to play piano: There was a man living next door, Wally Kidman, and Charles was three years old. The man had a little store in a small village town in Florida, and every time the man practiced piano, Charles would stop to listen. And then Charles would start pounding on the piano, and the man stopped him and showed him how to play a melody with one finger. He said, “As I became a grown man, I realized that the one thing that impressed me was that he didn’t throw me out.”
With this in mind, I’d love for people to share their stories about introductions into new experiences/skills—into blues, into dancing, etc—and what makes them so memorable for you. Anybody willing to share?