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 Otis Grand – ‘Blues From The Heart’ – JSP 5804

There have been many people who have been in the right place at the right time with the right talents to document the blues – be they hard boiled commercial record men, folklorist documentarists or great recording engineers. But the number of film makers who have done this is very small. So the achievements of Paul Reed and his dedicated team at Blues Archive in creating a visual record of what was a really ‘jumping’ scene in England in the mid to late 1990’s is a stunning achievement. But now we have to add to that the editing and presentation skills that, with this series of DVDs, is developing into a major talent that transcends the genre of filmed musical performance films. But watch for yourself and you will see this: this film – and it deserves to be called a film – is the equal of any high budget contemporary TV production or slick promo video.

And could we get a subject who is at once more deserving of this attention and also a ‘visual’ and dynamic performer who is long overdue for a ‘DVD treatment’? When Otis Grand blasted onto the English scene in the 1980’s he almost overnight became the dominant figure – the best player with the best band and the musician who was most truly ‘immersed’ in the music. That’s because he grew up in the Bay area surrounded by the music and its players. Otis Grand’s career has now included a slew of highly acclaimed albums, a constant touring and festival schedule and some of the most important collaborations in the studio of the last 25 years.

This live set was recorded at a regular gig in a regular town in England but it’s truly a world-class performance and catches Otis and his then regular band and singer performing as if they were at the most important gig of their lives…

This DVD is the real deal – real, tough blues played by a master and filmed and presented to the highest possible standards. It’s a little piece of blues history and did I say great fun to watch and enjoy?

JOHN STEDMAN

DVD available to purchase at: