Memphis, Tennessee is one of the premiere music cities in the entire United States. The music roots there are deep and wide. Director Martin Shore (first film) is at the same time releasing an album that goes along with the documentary. The guy is obviously invested in telling the musical tale of this city.
Very quietly the city of Memphis has made its mark on American music. Through the contributions it has made especially with the genre dubbed Memphis Soul and the large amount of musicians that call Memphis home it is certainly one of the more musical cities in the U.S. Many of us love music but we don’t know much about the roots of different genres or sounds we like. Take Me to the River gives you a little insight into the origins of the music from Memphis and the Mississippi River area.
A problem that Shore and the film encounter is that there are so many significant musicians who hail from Memphis that their appearance in the documentary is often of the “blink and miss” variety.
The format of the film is one in which the recording of the album is the backbone. Younger artists are paired with legends from the Stax Records days of old. Which results in some magic at times. The older musicians act as mentors and educators for the younger ones. You get to witness the passing on of a tradition. Watch impressive musical talent like Booker T. Washington, Snoop Dogg, Mavis Staples, Charlie Musselwhite and Otis Clay plus actor/musician Terrance Howard, who functions as the host of the film, interact with one another.
There comes to be, through the music and other things, some rather emotional moments. As they work together bigger issues like race, gender and age surface. This ends up being about more than music. Poignant because you get to be a fly on the wall as these people work to record the album in the historic Royal and Stax Studios.
Bonus Performance “Be Like Me” with 8 Ball and MJG (1080p; 3:58)
Extended Interview with Snoop Dogg and William Bell (1080p; 22:22)
Extended Interview with Terrence Howard and Al Bell (1080p; 8:19)