And This is Maxwell Street


The interview

During the summer of 1964, while Mike Shea was making "And This is Free" he was persuaded by blues guitarist Michael Bloomfield to film an interview with Robert Night Hawk. The video portion of the interview has been lost, but four reels of sound tape survive--nearly forty minutes in all--most of which has not been heard in decades. A 13-minute, unauthorized edit of the tapes was released in 1991, but the entire historic interview with Night Hawk is available again.


In the interview Night Hawk talks about his early days in the blues...

"Well, music been in my family all my life....Mother and dad, brother and sister all played....I started guitar in 1931....Guy lived down in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, he, name a Houston Stackhouse, he learned me to play."

About the great names of the blues...

"Well, first one of 'em was Sonny Boy an' just a lot of different [people]...mostly every musician around Chicago mostly played on Maxwell Street, includin' Muddy Waters."

About the Chicago blues club scene...

"Well, different clubs now like Pepper's, Turner's Place on 40th Street--Pepper's on 43rd and Wentworth--and we takes in a Sunday over on Maxwell Street."

About the life of a traveling bluesman...

"Well, that's about all I been doin' all my life....I been in Florida. I was down in Florida about three years and back up in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri and Iowa, New York and some other places."

And much more.

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