United States - 1972
Director - Harley Cokliss
Rhapsody Films, 1991, VHS
Run Time - 50 minutes
Cokliss has continued to work in film and has some noteworthy films to his name, however Chicago Blues is not listed among his credits. Nor is it listed among the credits for cinematographer Tak Fujimoto who has an even more impressive resume. Perhaps they're not proud of this film now that they've gone on to the big time. I can't understand why that would be the case though, Chicago Blues is a great piece of history.
Chicago Blues is an exception to this trend namely because it doesn't present its subject matter as an exhibit. Icons Muddy Waters, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy (all of whom recorded together in the early 60's) and lesser known bluesmen like Floyd Jones discuss the experiences that led to the creation of the Chicago Blues sound. In the years during and after World War II, large numbers of Blacks left the south to find work up north. As a hub of national commerce, Chicago proved to be one of the most promising destinations. For people born and raised in the south, and for the music they brought with them, the change proved to be utterly transformative. In fact, it is that experience which the film claims was the context for the creation of the Chicago sound. More than any other blues film or documentary that I've seen, Chicago Blues attempts (and mostly succeeds) in allowing the subjects, from the musicians to the city, to speak for themselves.
See also: Legends of Country Blues Guitar