And This Is Free: The Life And Times Of Chicago’s Legendary Maxwell Street (1964)

“After languishing out of print for many years, Mike Shea’s legendary film on Chicago’s Maxwell Street Market, And This Is Free, has finally been reissued by Shanachie and I imagine news of this will stir up quite a bit of excitement in blues circles. Shanachie has done an exemplary job with the packaging; housed in a soft covered fold out set is a two disc set containing the 50 minute documentary And This Is Free, the 30 minute documentary Maxwell Street: A Living Memory, some fascinating archival footage, an interview with sound man Gordon Quinn, a separate CD of performances by artists associated with Maxwell Street plus an illustrated 36 page booklet. The history of the film and music recorded by Mike Shea over the course of sixteen Sundays on Chicago’s Maxwell Street in 1964 has an interesting if convoluted history, and I find it odd that none of this is mentioned in the lengthy booklet. Disappointed by the film’s reception, Shea let the tapes languish in a warehouse for years until the 1970’s when all the footage not included in the original edit was thrown out. At some point a VHS of the film was issued but I’m unclear exactly when. Fortunately the audio tapes had been stored separately so all the original music had been preserved. Rounder records first put some of this music out in 1980 under Robert Nighthawk’s name as Live On Maxwell Street 1964. At the time of release these recordings were incorrectly credited, both for the songs, publishing and for much of the personnel. It also turns out that the performances themselves were edited, giving two decades of listeners an incomplete and historically incorrect picture of those recordings as they were originally captured. … While music makes up much of the backdrop of And This Is Free, all the performances are truncated and it’s sad to think of all the amazing footage that was lost. Still the 50 minutes of And This Is Free is a fascinating, riveting street level view of this remarkable open air market, all the more important now that urban renewal has virtually erased it from existence. …”
Sunday Blues
On the Groundbreaking Documentary That Brought the Birthplace of Chicago Blues Alive

W – Maxwell Street
YouTube: TRAILER 1965 And This Is Free: The Life and Times of Chicago’s Legendary Maxwell St.
YouTube: And This Is Free: The Life and Times of Chicago’s Legendary Maxwell Street – Various Artists 1 / 17

Maxwell Street, Chicago

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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1 Response to And This Is Free: The Life And Times Of Chicago’s Legendary Maxwell Street (1964)

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