Category Archives: Documentary

Memphis ’69 (2019).

For a limited time, you can watch Joe LaMattina’s terrific concert film Memphis ’69 (2019) for free on YouTube — thanks to the fine folks at Fat Possum Records. Click on the poster to see it.

The footage was originally shot by Adelphi Records founder Gene Rosenthal and crew, shooting as the heat reached 106 degrees. With over 40,000 feet of film, the entire budget was used up just to process all the film. Fat Possum’s Bruce Watson came on board in 2016, bringing with him filmmakers Joe and Lisa LaMattina. The LaMattinas edited the footage, crafting it into the finished film. 

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Blu-Ray News #304: Bluegrass Country Soul (1972).

Directed by Albert Ihde
Starring Earl Scruggs, The Osborne Brothers, Ralph Stanley, Del McCoury, Sam Bush and many more

The great bluegrass documentary Bluegrass Country Soul (1972) — shot at Carlton Haney’s three-day Labor Day Weekend Festival in Camp Springs, North Carolina, in 1971 — has been restored and released on Blu-Ray and DVD in an incredible set that includes CDs and book and lots of other stuff.

Bluegrass Country Soul is considered the first bluegrass movie. It got some theatrical runs back in the day, putting folks like Earl Scruggs, The Osborne Brothers, Ralph Stanley, Del McCoury, Sam Bush, Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, J.D. Crowe & the Kentucky Mountain Boys and more on the big screen.

A crowdfunding campaign has helped fund the restoration, and a big thanks to all those who helped make it happen. To find out how to get your copy, click on the old ad up top (for a showing in Dayton, Ohio, in 1976).

I love bluegrass, and this movie sounds like a dream come true. 

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DVD/Blu-Ray News #303: Elvis – That’s The Way It Is (1970/2001).

Directed by Denis Sanders
Starring Elvis Presley, James Burton, Glen D. Hardin, Charlie Hodge, Jerry Scheff, Ron Tutt, John Wilkinson, The Imperials, The Sweet Inspirations

Warner Archive is bringing back a very cool thing — the original theatrical cut of the Elvis concert movie That’s The Way It Is (1970) on DVD and the 2001 re-edited “Special Edition” on Blu-Ray. This twin-pack came out in 2014 and has been missing for quite a while.

The 1970 theatrical film plays like a documentary, covering the rehearsals and buildup to Elvis’ return to live performance at the International Hotel in Las Vegas (in August of 1970), while the 2001 cut is more of a straight-up concert movie. Both are terrific — Elvis was at the top of his game, his TCB band was incredible and it was all captured in Panavision by the great DP Lucien Ballard, in-between Sam Peckinpah movies.

Highly, highly recommended. (My wife and I named our daughter Presley, which might indicate a bit of a bias where Elvis is concerned.)

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Filed under 1970, Documentary, DVD/Blu-ray News, Elvis Presley, MGM, Warner Archive