Red and Blues
Germany | 2005 | Documentary | 65 min | DVCPro50 16:9
A musical journey into the past of the Southern States, to the roots of African music and a life in Germany.
Hanover: As a one-man show, Louisiana Red captivates the concert hall. His fingers flit virtuously over the guitar strings, finding new and old blues riffs. His deep, raspy voice fills the hall. Red’s music is a dialogue with the audience. Red has lived in Hanover for over 20 years. In the meantime, several American musicians have moved there. There are studios, exchanges with colleagues and small clubs. He also met his African wife Dora here. Dora manages him, takes care of him, she is also his tour roadie sometimes. Only when he doesn’t do what she says, there is trouble. Otherwise they are a harmonious older couple.
Mississippi: Red was born in 1932, twenty years before the black civil rights movement. The Ku Klux Klan murdered his father. He lost his mother when he was still a baby, and after his father’s death the boy grows up with relatives and in children’s homes. Poverty and hunger shape his youth. As a young adult, he looks for a home in the army – and ends up in the Korean War. Only the blues remain his reliable companion. He learns to play the harmonica as a child, and at fourteen Muddy Waters gets him on stage. He begins to play the guitar and develops his own style. He was invited to studio sessions, became a professional musician, became Louisiana Red. Even today, he is always drawn back to his old home in Mississippi. The southern states have changed. Today, only a few black farm workers still work in the cotton fields, no one says nigger with impunity. Blacks are now called “African American” and the cotton is picked by machines. But blacks and whites still live apart from each other. The small country roads are still dusty and dead straight. Just as his music describes them.