In the 1970s and 1980s, “Soundstage” was arguably the coolest show on PBS this side of “Sesame Street” and “The Electric Company.” The event that started it all was a July 1974 “Blues Summit in Chicago” concert featuring the legendary Muddy Waters and a handful of the era’s top blues musicians. The success of the “Blues Summit” — now available on DVD — spawned a 10-year run of “Soundstage” concerts featuring the likes of Harry Chapin, The Pointer Sisters, Randy Newman, Tom Waits, John Prine, Jose Feliciano and Roberta Flack.
“This first edition of our ‘Soundstage’ series definitely stands the test of time,” executive producer Ken Erlich says. “The same greatness that these blues legends like Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Junior Wells and Koko Taylor showed in this iconic gathering of blues greats continues to influence current generations of blues players and fans.”
The hour-long DVD features 10 rip-roaring performances from some of the all-time greats. Waters is the featured player and he shines bright on “Blow Wind Blow,” “Long Distance Call,” set highlight “Mannish Boy” and “Got My Mojo Workin’.” Additional highlights come courtesy of Dr. John (“Sugar Sweet”), Wells (“Stop Breaking Down” and Dixon & Taylor (“Wang Dang Doodle”). If you love the blues, this is an essential addition to your DVD collection. (Jeffrey Sisk)