Robert Mugge’s loving survey of the diverse musical styles and genres of the State of Louisiana.

Rhythm and Bayous MVD7492DTo describe the recent films of the documentarian Robert Mugge as cultural reference books doesn’t mean to imply that these explorations of the musical byways of Southern rural America are lacking in pungent musical sap. It’s the careful balance between music and scholarship that lends Mr. Mugge’s films a foundation of academic seriousness that flirts with dryness without becoming mired in trivia. Documents of a flourishing below-the-radar culture, often involving musicians who won’t be around much longer, they are archival records as well as entertainments. For every obscure blues or folk musician shown performing in his films, there is usually an expert standing by to explain where this artist or group stands on the family tree of American vernacular music. Instead of concentrating on the trunk and larger branches, Mr. Mugge likes to examine the smaller branches and even the twigs.

“In his new film, RHYTHM ‘N’ BAYOUS, Mr. Mugge returns to the South (this time to Louisiana) to compile a singing dictionary of the state’s roots music styles and assorted hybrids, from the blues to ‘swamp pop’ to the fusion of Cajun, Creole and rock ‘n’ roll known as zydeco. Part musical travelogue, part anthology, part archival document, RHYTHM ‘N’ BAYOUS is a rambling journey loosely divided into four sections. Begun as the official chronicle of a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bus tour…it turns into a more informal, out-of-the-way journey to blues and zydeco clubs, gospel churches and radio stations, and musical family gatherings in backwater bayous. A number of the performances are as rough-hewn as the tiny clubs in which they are filmed. But RHYTHM ‘N’ BAYOUS is finally not about being polished. It’s about the organic process by which a culture expresses itself though music and the hybrids that evolve naturally when these cultures begin to mingle. That, after all, is how rock ‘n’ roll was born.”Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Filmed in 3 parts:

Part 1: Another Country / Northern Louisiana

Part 2: Spirits of the Night / New Orleans & Baton Rouge

Part 3: Music in the Air / Southwestern Louisiana

Features Kermit Ruffins, Frankie Ford, Rosie Ledet, Dale Hawkins, Henry Gray, Henry Butler, Nathan Williams, Sister Pearlee Toliver, Warren Storm, Claude King, Hackberry Ramblers, La Famille Viator, Rod Bernard, Lil’ Alfred, Jambalaya Cajun Band, Easter Rock Church, Ever Ready Gospel Singers, Po’ Henry & Tookie, Rev. Gerald Lewis, Kenny Bill Stinson, Lil’ Bryan, Dale & Grace

“Mugge’s most satisfying work since DEEP BLUES” – John Beifuss, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis)

“RHYTHM ‘N’ BAYOUS is a joyful celebration of Louisiana music in all its permutations, a guided tour by experts illustrated with generous helpings of the real thing. Expertly filmed, exuberant performances. Wonderful performers.” – Lou Lumenick, New York Post

“What really makes this documentary work is the way Mugge’s subjects reveal their motivations for creating or producing music. There are several…performances that are so live, you might just feel like you need to jump up and applaud” – Don Palmer, Time Out New York

120 minutes on 1 disc


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Watch Frankie Ford perform his song “Roberta” for Robert Mugge’s RHYTHM ‘N’ BAYOUS: A Road Map to Louisiana Music