Sunday, December 18, 2016

Pride and Joy: The Story of Alligator Records

A Robert Mugge Film
Pride and Joy: The Story of Alligator Records

Among recent Robert Mugge films getting reworked for Blue-Ray release is his 1992 film, "Pride and Joy: The Story of Alligator Records." This film was centered around a Philadelphia Concert during Alligator's 20th Anniversary Tour," that featured performances by Koko Taylor and Her Blues Machine; the Lonnie Brooks Band; Elvin Bishop; Katie Webster; and Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials. Interspersed with the performances are interviews with Bruce Iglauer and others involved with Alligator, along with clips of staff meetings and discussions that give of sense of what was involved in running this independent blues label that is now celebrating forty-five years.

The core of the film is the musical performances withe exceptional performances by all the named performers. Seeing Katie Webster was especially moving with her solo boogie and blues piano and vocals standing out even in such august company as Koko Taylor and Lonnie Brooks whose own performances are splendid. Everybody comes together for a closing, and rousing "Sweet Home Chicago," that is the musical climax of this wonderfully constructed documentary that marvelous integrates the performances and documentary segments. It is so welcome to have this new improved release.

I received my review copy from MVD Visual. This review originally appeared in the July-August 2016 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 367). Here is the trailer for this movie.

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