Monday, December 08, 2008
I'm shocking myself in that I actually liked this movie a lot... Maybe it's because I love the music so much and a lot of the scenes, the style, the southern influence, the whole vibe of the film took me back...way back to a place and time that I'd much rather be, strangely enough... I dont know. I've just always loved those times, perhaps romanticized in my mind but to me, it just seems like folks valued things, each other a little more... Of course times was rough, prejudice was serious and this movie more than depicted it on several occasions. The movie wasn't really historically correct from a musical standpoint; a lot was left out and a few important people completely left out of the story like Philip Chess(brother of Leonard Chess depicted in movie), Bo Diddley, and countless other musicians that would make the story very long and maybe less entertaining to a general audience. Each musician pretty much deserves a movie all to themselves, telling their story. The best way to describe this particular film, is a fictional account of the Chess Records story. And one thing its not, is an Etta James story... The previews kind of have you thinking that way.. It's not that at all... The characters of Leonard Chess and Muddy Waters dominated the story and also Little Walter was a big part of it as well... They went over the top with his way of hard living but I've read about him definitely having a penchant for getting into fights and basically dying young because of injuries sustained but musically speaking, he was the best harmonica player ever and in real life back in those days, Muddy Waters had the tightest band in all the land... Me being a music fan, a musician and a lover of the blues, I'd more like to hear stories about what was passed over briefly in this film... Stories about this man named Alan Lomax and why, how and what he discovered by traveling to the south to record these various musicians on behalf of the Library Of Congress... Must be some truly fascinating stories and images that he took with him from his travels... And then also why musicians from Mississippi and other areas of the south tended to travel to Chicago to eventually create the incredible music that they did... In the movie, they also touched upon a rivalry between Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf and they had these two men not liking each other at all. I wonder if that was true. No doubt as musicians there was probably rivalry amongst everyone because of all the great players from Howlin Wolf to Muddy to Little Walter, Jimmy Rodgers, Hubert Sumland, Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, Elmore James, Jimmy Reed, Chuck Berry, and later on the incredible and often overlooked and appreciated, Buddy Guy who is a living legend right now..... Anyway, it was great to see this movie and I hope that it generates interest in these incredible stories, musicians, artists, people from the past... so many stories left behind and so many forgotten that should be told as often possible.... As a side note, I loved the strength and honest conviction portrayed in "Cadillac Records" by the character of Howlin Wolf. A strong man who took control.. Nice to see on the screen... I'm looking forward to the upcoming film, "Who Do You Love," which is also about Chess Records; sure to be entertaining as well and based upon the title, they haven't forgotten Bo Diddley in that one.