This film by John Jeremy grew from photographs and field recordings made by Paul Oliver on a journey through the South in 1960. Oliver, a British architectural historian who devoted years to researching African American blues, memorialized the journey also in his 1963 book Conversation with the Blues. Both book and film explore the meaning of the blues to those who sang it, with an emphasis on those in Mississippi, St. Louis, and Chicago. The film includes the voices and music of Blind James Brewer, James “Butch” Cage, Gus Cannon, Walter Davis, Blind Arvella Gray, Sam “Lightnin” Hopkins, James “Stump” Johnson, Lonnie Johnson, J. B. Lenoir, Charles Love, “Little Brother” Montgomery, James Oden, Edwin Buster Pickens, Sam Price, Robert Curtis Smith, Otis Span, Willie Thomas, Henry Townsend, Wade Walton, and many others.
The stream of this rare film is from a print from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Library, courtesy of Dina Kaye.
For discographies on the performers in this film, see Stephan Wirz's Amerian Music.