The Blues part 3 - aka the Bobby Rush Show

Christopher Burger cburger3001@YAHOO.COM
Wed Oct 1 22:21:25 EDT 2003


On Wed, 1 Oct 2003 16:05:58 -0400, Mark Pieczynski <mpie@COMCAST.NET> wrote:

>"I also got the feeling that Ike (Turner)was being very condescending
toward Sam Phillips. And Sam seemed to be kind of out of it as well."

I felt the same way, but I also think it was a great moment to capture on
film, for as much as Sam Phillips himself was a revolutionary figure
himself, he also at times could be a bit self-congratulatory, and
untroubled by the implication of the rise of the "white" Sun artists
instead of the black. But on the other hand, he profoundly rejected such
simplifications as well (making a strong case about Elvis' other (non-
black) but Southern influences, which is why he couldn't "joke" (if that's
what it was) about this with an Ike Turner. Little Milton has been himself
has elsewhere shown a bit of rare bitterness about the hype over Elvis,
Jerry Lee Lewis, etc. versus the legacies of Wolf, Rufus Thomas,and other
Sun alumi.

It's clear to me that Ike Turner and Sam Phillips were both right in their
own ways. Incidentally, Phillips looked very young for years with that
(surely-dyed) beard, but, remember, he died not long after this film. If
you look close, he was every bit of his nearly 80-something years, at least
by this time. Part of his reaction is that of an old man who was not used
to be challenged, not anymore, and not on film, but a guy he had barely
seen in 40-some years. Personally, I though it was borderline bullying, but
then many r&b and blues fans who prefer the notion of a Chess or Phillips
as being a white exploiter ("The Man") might have applauded Turner's
ribbing.

>" I also thought that Ike's performances with the whammy bar and also later
>on the keys at the jam were way over the top. It was almost like he was
>overplaying so the attention would be on him instead of B.B. or Little
>Milton or Rosco."


Agreed. The final "summit" was actually quite lackluster. In fact, although
some of the elders of the blues often have great vitality, this was almost
damagingly bad. Too concocted, I guess, is the best explanation, perhaps.
And I have to say this is some of the worst BB King footage I've seen in
some time. God love him, but more of him - and the so-far AWOL Bobby "Blue"
Bland, would have helped.

They also seemed to go out of their way to paint a dire, hollow of much
criticized Beale Street, or so it seems.


>" And speaking of being out of it, back in the 1st installment, Johnny
>Shines sure looked like he was ready to nod out during his interview
>segment. Is he on medication ? He definitely looked more than just real
>tired to me. But it was still a pleasure to see him just the same. I liked
>that wild guitar he was playing in the earlier footage."

"Out of it"? I'll say. I hate to say this, Mark, but you do know that Mr.
Shines stopped being "tired" about decade ago, right? Rest in peace, Mr.
John Ned Shines, and "Hey Bobba Re-Bop!"

-C.B.

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