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For immediate release
August 8, 2003

Martin Scorsese Presents THE BLUES on PBS

"The Blues are the roots; everything else is the fruits." -- Willie Dixon

BOSTON, MA - THE BLUES, executive produced by Martin Scorcese and exclusively sponsored by Volkswagen of America, Inc., is a seven-part television series driven by the beat of performances by famous players from every kind of music the blues has inspired -- hip-hop, rhythm and blues, soul, country and rock 'n' roll.

Volkswagen has provided additional funds to describe the seven 2-hour telecasts for the benefit of blind and visually-impaired people and their families. The descriptive narration is available on the SAP channel of stereo TVs and VCRs. The series will also be captioned for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing, with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Descriptive narration and the closed captioning for the series will be produced by the Media Access Group at WGBH.

THE BLUES will be televised nationally on PBS from 9-11pm on the following dates: (Check local listings for exact broadcast dates and times.)

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2003: "FEEL LIKE GOING HOME"
Director Martin Scorsese (The Last Waltz, Raging Bull, Gangs of New York) pays homage to the Delta blues. Musician Corey Harris travels through Mississippi and on to West Africa, exploring the roots of the music. The film celebrates the early Delta bluesmen through original performances (including Willie King, Taj Mahal, Otha Turner and Ali Farka Touré) and rare archival footage (featuring Son House, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker).

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2003: "THE SOUL OF A MAN"
Director Wim Wenders (Buena Vista Social Club; Wings of Desire; Paris, Texas) explores the lives of his favorite blues artists Skip James, Blind Willie Johnson and J. B. Lenoir in a film that is part history and part personal pilgrimage. The film tells the story of these lives in music through a fictional film-within-a-film, rare archival footage, and covers of their songs by contemporary musicians, including Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams, Lou Reed, Eagle Eye Cherry, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Cassandra Wilson, Garland Jeffreys, Los Lobos and others.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2003: "THE ROAD TO MEMPHIS"
Director Richard Pearce (The Long Walk Home, Leap of Faith, A Family Thing) traces the musical odyssey of blues legend B.B. King in a film that pays tribute to the city that gave birth to a new style of blues. Pearce's homage to Memphis features original performances by B.B. King, Bobby Rush, Rosco Gordon and Ike Turner, as well as historical footage of Howlin' Wolf and Fats Domino.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2003: "WARMING BY THE DEVIL'S FIRE"
Director Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep, My Brother's Wedding, To Sleep with Anger) presents a tale about a young boy's encounter with his family in Mississippi in 1955, and intergenerational tensions between the heavenly strains of gospel and the devilish moans of the blues.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2003: "GODFATHERS AND SONS"
Director Marc Levin (Slam, Whiteboys, Brooklyn Babylon) travels to Chicago with hip-hop legend Chuck D (of Public Enemy) and Marshall Chess (son of Leonard Chess and heir to the Chess Records legacy) to explore the heyday of Chicago blues as they unite to produce an album that seeks to bring veteran blues players together with contemporary hip-hop musicians. Along with never-before-seen archival footage of Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, are original performances by Koko Taylor, Otis Rush, Magic Slim, Ike Turner and Sam Lay.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2003: "RED, WHITE AND BLUES"
Director Mike Figgis (Stormy Monday, Leaving Las Vegas, Timecode) joins musicians such as Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Tom Jones performing and talking about the music of the early 60's British invasion that reintroduced the blues sound to America.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2003: "PIANO BLUES"
Director and piano player Clint Eastwood (Play Misty for Me, Bird, Unforgiven) explores his life-long passion for the piano blues, using a treasure trove of rare historical acts as well as interviews and performances by such living legends as Pinetop Perkins and Jay McShann, as well as Dave Brubeck and Marcia Ball.

Press contact:
Mary Watkins
Media Access Group at WGBH
(617) 300-3700
(617) 300-2489 TTY
mary_watkins@wgbh.org

Press contact:
Elizabeth Horton de Meza
WGBH National Promotion
(617) 300-5373


















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