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A series of documentaries about The Blues is being released in cinemas. They carry with them the signature of some impressive names in film, like Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Mike Figgis, and Wim Wenders. I've only had a chance to preview two, Feels Like Going Home by Martin Scorsese which delves deep into the cultural roots of the blues in the Mississippi Delta and Alabama. Blues musician Corey Harris goes on a search to meet the people still alive who remember some of the greats like Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker. Harris' empathy for the music that emerged from his cultural heritage is affecting. What's fascinating about this film is its use not just of archival images but of archival music, songs recorded in the 1930's by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress. The blues and Britain don't seem to go together quite as much as the blues and the Mississippi Delta but Mike Figgis' rather chaotic chronicle, Red, White and Blues is fascinating in its own right. It looks at the development of the blues in England from the Second World War on. It's actually interesting to realise how isolated musicians were during the 1950's, unlike today where the latest sounds take nanoseconds to cross from one continent to another. Many, many musicians are interviewed, like Georgie Fame, an uncompromising Eric Clapton, Chris Farlowe, and one of my passions of the 1960's John Mayall. They talk about the riffs and sounds that jolted them on a musical path, the influence of visiting American musicians like Eddie Cochrane, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williams and John Lee Hooker. They reminisce about the days of the Flamingo club, their guitars and the explosion of blues in the 1960's. Tom Jones sings as does Van Morrison. It's fascinating stuff. Some of it is pretty rough - Figgis is forced to use time-coded copies of some performances, obviously they're the only ones in existence, but somehow it doesn't matter, the music is there.