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Blues And The Alligator: The First Twenty Years Of Alligator Records (2011)

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Genres:
Documentary, Media Studies, Music, Music History

5.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Film about famous Chicago blues label, Alligator Records featuring icons such as Koko Taylor and Sonny Boy Williamson as well as newer school blues artists like Kenny Neal and Lucky Peterson. The folks at Alligator started a love affair with the blues 40 years ago and this is the story of the first 20 years. --Amazon
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Review by Bill Wolford
Added: January 17, 2012
If you know nothing about the blues, or if you're curious to know some of the workings behind a blues record label, then this DVD is for you. It focuses on the people behind, and the performers of, the largest Blues record company in the world. Alligator Records.

This film is set up in quite a unique way. It's a small part documentary about the record label and its owner, Bruce Iglauer, and a larger part concert film highlighting the artists that Alligator records employs. The concert part is most interesting, because each performance takes place in a different setting. From Koko Taylor performing the Star Spangled Banner in old Comisky Park in Chicago, to Lonnie Brooks performing Sweet Home Chicago in one of the towns local hot spots, this is where the DVD positively shines. We have archive black and white footage, studio footage, practice takes, and band interviews. Every one of these is highlighted by great stereo sound.

One of the nice things to see in the documentary is how musicians are bringing blues music into the schools. There is a nice segment showing a classroom performing a couple songs, and it reminds us that music is indeed needed as part of the continuing curriculum in schools around the country, and the world.

At points, this DVD feels like a one hour advertisement for Alligator records, which cannot be a bad thing, because it worked. I, for one do not own any Alligator Records products, and now I plan to change that the next time I'm at my local record store, and you should as well.

It's filmed in the full screen aspect ratio and comes with a nice 8 page booklet with a write up about the film. Here is the list of performances on the DVD.

1.Sky Is Crying
2.Horoscope
3.Sky Is Crying
4.You Don't Love Me
5.Snatch It Back And Hold It
6.Roll Your Moneymaker
7.Can't Let These Blues Go
8.Devil Child
9.Stormy Monday
10.You Got Me Running
11.Darling I Miss You So
12.Jealous Man
13.Like Father, Like Son
14.Star Spangled Banner
15.It's A Dirty Job
16.Sky Is Crying
17.Sweet Home Chicago

Pick this DVD up and learn more about the blues!

8/10.
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