Down Home Music 1963 Film

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AFDVD205_web_versionDown Home Music A Journey Through the Heartland 1963

filmed by Dietrich Wawzyn In 1963 German filmmaker Dietrich Wawzyn set out to shoot a series of films for German television that took him through the southern US in search of American jazz and roots music. He contacted Arhoolie Records founder Chris Strachwitz, who jumped at the chance to join him and share his enthusiasm for regional musical traditions. Wawzyn made three films dealing with blues, gospel, and hillbilly music. The negatives to those films were lost. This film re-creates the journey from the best elements still available and includes much previously unreleased footage. There is an optional audio track featuring off-the-cuff commentary by Chris Strachwitz. Edited by Maureen Gosling. Black and White. 75 minutes. NTSC, all regions.

Performances by:

Jesse Fuller — Lightnin’ Hopkins — Lowell Fulson — Red Sovine — King Louis H. Narcisse — Mance Lipscomb — George Lewis Quartet — Chief White Cloud — Black Ace — Rev. Louis Overstreet — Sweet Emma Barrett — Barbara Dane — Blind James Campbell — Whistlin’ Alex Moore — Lewis Family — Willie Thomas — Goodtime Washboard 3 — Shorty LeBlanc —  Ed Lee Natay — Hodges Brothers — Eddie Schaible —J. E. Mainer — Tohono O’Odham Conjunto — Willis Brothers — Brother Davis

A few scenes from the DVD:


“…Just typing the names makes me salivate. Watching the film, nugget after nugget, sets the pulse racing! Some segments are just fragments of a performance but it’s still enough to ignite a frisson of delight. The DVD comes with alternative commentaries. The first has comments from Dietrich Wawzyn with some of his views on the trip, the second has an off-the-cuff, informative (often amusing) running commentary by Chris Strachwitz. For me this is, without doubt, the finest music DVD of the last year. 75 minutes of pure gold!” – Dave Peabody, FRoots Magazine

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Statement on the passing of Chris Strachwitz

Arhoolie Records Founder
July 1, 1931 – May 5, 2023

We celebrate the life of our founder, friend, and great record man Chris Strachwitz. He died peacefully at home in Marin County, CA, surrounded in his last days by dear friends and family. Over his 91 years, Chris captured the music that represents the best “down home music” the world has to offer.

He was at the forefront of nearly all the roots revivals over the last 60 years including blues, zydeco, Cajun, Norteño and Tejano music. His drive to document traditional music helped introduce the nation to our diverse musical heritage. He had the foresight to save music that might have otherwise been lost to obscurity and played a role in strengthening cultural traditions through his records, films, and most recently the Arhoolie Foundation. He cared for those around him, fought for royalties and recognition for Arhoolie artists, and provided counsel to countless musicians, writers, film makers, and academics.

Plans for a public celebration of his life will be announced in the coming weeks. Today we’re thinking of all that Chris brought to our lives and the lives of the musicians and fans with whom he shared his passion.