THE BLUES ACCORDIN’ TO LIGHTNIN’ HOPKINS
(director/writer: Les Blank; cinematographer: Les Blank; editor: Maureen Gosling; cast: Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb; Runtime: 31; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Les Blank; Janus: 1970)
“Likable short documentary features the great Texas blues singer Lightnin’ Hopkins.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
He was born Sam John Hopkins, but changed to Lightnin’ Hopkins after recording his first album at age 34 in 1946. The Les Blank’(“In Heaven There Is No Beer?“/”Burden of Dreams”/”A Well Spent Life”) likable short documentary features the great Texas blues singer Lightnin’ Hopkins, who tells us the blues is a feeling that overcomes one and the singer’s job is to convey to the listener his blues feeling.
Living always the simple life, Hopkins is seen in the 1967 film, shot in Texas, fishing, performing, interacting with friends, musicians (like guitarist Mance Lipscomb) and relatives, and story telling. Most poignant tale is about the time he was in N.C. and went into a ditch trying to avert hitting a black pig on the road. The corrupt cop brings him to the corrupt butcher traffic court judge, who fines him $500 after insulting him. When the judge asks if you were ever up before me before, Hopkins responds by saying I don’t know what time you get up. The moral of the story is to be wary about doing good deeds.
REVIEWED ON 8/5/2015 GRADE: B+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/