Film Reviews

Bo Diddley, Stevie Ray Vaughan and more – A Celebration Of Blues And Soul: The 1989 Presidential Inaugural Concert

(Shout! Factory)

A Celebration of Blues and Soul, Percy Sledge, Willie Dixon, Billy Preston, Bo Diddley, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dr. John, Delbert McClinton

In 1989, an impressive collection of soul and blues artists performed at a presidential inauguration concert, which was captured on video and 24-track audio. Why wasn’t it broadcast or released on DVD until 2014? Why doesn’t the outer packaging mention which president?


The answer is Lee Atwater, whose controversial work on Ronald Reagan’s campaigns appealed to racist voters in Southern states by, for example, supporting the cutting of food stamps. However, after managing George H.W. Bush’s successful 1988 campaign, Atwater chose to celebrate with soul and blues music.

Recommended: Chuck Jackson’s upbeat breakup hits (“Any Day Now,” “I Don’t Want To Cry”); Percy Sledge’s timeless “When A Man Loves A Woman;” Albert Collins (electric guitar), Delbert McClinton (harmonica) and Willie Dixon (vocals) on a hypnotic “Hoochie Coochie Man;” Dixon and Koko Taylor, in formal wear, delivering a zesty “Wang Dang Doodle;” Carla Thomas harmonizing with Billy Preston (“When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”); Bo Diddley coaxing strange and wonderful sounds from a cigar box (“Bo Diddley,” “I’m A Man,” “Hey Bo Diddley).” Plus: Eddie Floyd (“Knock On Wood”); Sam Moore (“Soul Man”) and Dr. John (“Right Place, Wrong Time”). Lastly, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble tear up the joint, closing with “Superstition” and “Scuttle Buttin.’” Good camera work, six-channel audio mix and an extra hour not included in the PBS broadcast premiere in March.

– Annie Dinerman

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