WUMB January Program Guide

Daves Amazon Adventure

I finally succumbed and took an Amazon Prime Membership.  Not for the free 2-Day shipping but for the videos. I wanted to see the show they produced based on the Harry Bosch novels. And who could resist Transparent, which not only stars Jeffrey Tambor but was created by Jill Soloway, sister of song-writer Faith Soloway.

Over all, I found the whole “Prime Video” thing a little hard to navigate, and was, perhaps, overcome by the sheer amount of things available. If you have found yourself in the same situation, let me offer a couple of suggestions. OK, three to be exact: A performance film, A music documentary, and a “movie” movie.

The Broken Circle Breakdown is a film from Belgium, which revolves around a bluegrass band. No I didn’t know that American bluegrass was big in Belgium either, but apparently it is, at least enough so that it features in a movie. The plot is a bit of a soap opera. Love story, child dying of cancer, etc., but the warm relationship among the band members make it worth seeing. There is also the music, which is amazing. It’s all performed by the cast so when you see them playing, it’s them that you’re hearing. The movie was filmed in Dutch and is only available with English subtitles. This is not a problem for two reasons: all the songs are in English, and there isn’t much dialog. They tend to follow the old theater adage “Show, don’t tell.” Speaking of that, there is some skin and sex in the movie, which means you probably don’t want to watch it with your kids, your parents or both.  

David Bromberg: Unsung Treasure is, as you might expect, a documentary about David Bromberg. It was filmed just after his move from Chicago to Wilmington, Delaware, and following the recording of his album Use Me. There is lots of archival footage of the Bromberg Band in years past. (Including a couple of glimpses of my late friend Dick Fegy, formerly of the Spark Gap Wonder Boys) In addition to lots of interview time there is a visit to his violin shop in Wilmington. All those fiddles! If heaven looks like his shop I will not be disappointed. David’s wife Nancy is also featured. I had totally forgotten she was in the Buffalo Gals. (Which reminds me, does anyone know what became of Susie Monick.) Perhaps most touching of all are segments of David with Dr. John. The two of them walking down the street together is very sweet.

Koerner, Ray And Glover – Live At First Avenue is a straight forward performance film, and what a performance it is. Filmed in 2002 it is amazing that the guys had lost none of the power that they showcased on that first Blues, Rags, and Hollers way back when. Long time KR&G fans will be thrilled that they do a lot of songs that they recorded in the 60s. For me the Dave Ray solo performances were a highlight. Sadly we lost Snaker a few years ago. This is not a slick production, this, my friends is the real thing with no unnecessary frills or flourishes.

I should mention that there are other good films free for viewing with your Amazon Prime account. Like For the Love of the Music: the Club 47 Folk Revival and In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey. If you do decide that you’d like to get a Prime Membership, remember to do what I did. Visit WUMB.ORG first and click on the Amazon Logo you’ll find there. That way a portion of your Prime Membership will be donated to WUMB without it costing you anything. And please, let me know if you find anything good.

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