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Greenlit: Blues America, BBC4

Blues America (2 x  60′) –  Narrated by Huey Morgan and produced by rock photographer and documentarian Mick Gold, this star-studded series sets out to explore how the blues crossed borders and shows that it was not based only in racial oppression and rural poverty but also entertainment, dancing and sexual excitement.

The first programme looks at the birth of the blues from minstrel and medicine shows into a commercial industry. Gold and contributors including Keith Richards, Taj Mahal and Chuck D. look at key moments in its development, including the arrival of records in the 1920s, the first blues recording stars, and the effects of the 1930s economic depression which drove tens of thousands of black Americans from rural poverty in the South to factory jobs in the North.

The second part begins in post-war Chicago, Detroit and Memphis and charts the blues migration to the cities which forged a style that would give birth to rock’n’roll in the 1950s. With insights from Keith Richards, Bonnie Raitt, Seasick Steve and Buddy Guy, Gold charts its progress to the modern day, showing how the blues has now transcended racial and national boundaries to become a central strand of America’s DNA.

Channel: BBC4

Producer: Mick Gold

TX: 29th November 2013

Source: BBC press release

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