In all honesty, I really don’t know much about Big Bill Broonzy. Although I love a lot of the older blues stuff, it’s just one genre I never quite gained that much historical knowledge in. I knew of the legend that was Big Bill — influencing Keith Richards and a host of other important British rock and roll groups of the era — but I never knew the magnitude of the role he actually played.
This is a really well done documentary produced by the BBC Four station, and has been rather well received amongst blues aficionados and historians alike. It looked like a good place for me to start my search and further my education of the blues, and I believe I was correct. There are some really interesting stories here, and I look forward to hearing, reading and watching more as I continue to learn about this wildly important genre of music.
It clocks in at just under an hour, so no lengthy investment of time is needed — it’s a good lunch break watch. Let me know what you guys think, and if you have any other recommendations for blues documentaries or books, I’m all ears.
From the BBC Four:
Big Bill Broonzy would inspire a generation of musicians, yet he was not the man they believed him to be. This first, very intimate, biography of the pioneering bluesman uncovers the mystery of who Broonzy really was and follows his remarkable and colourful journey from the racist Deep South to the clubs of Chicago and all across the world. With contributions from: Pete Seeger, Ray Davies, Keith Richards, Martin Carthy, John Renbourn and members of the Broonzy family. Broonzy’s own words are read by Clarke Peters
Via BBC Four