From blog archives: Obscure Documentary About The Blues Features Twin Cities

There’s old blog content worth revisiting, like this one from a former KFAI program, Fun Time Music Festival:

Back in 1984, some producers for West German television produced a documentary about Blues music called “Survivors: The Blues Today,” which was once featured at the Cedar Cultural Center. This obscure documentary was filmed entirely at the old Wilebski’s Blues Saloon in the Frog Town neighborhood of St. Paul.

The movie has some great performances including some by local Blues bands at the time—Willie Murphy & The Bumble Bees and The Minnesota Barking Ducks.  The film also featured performances by John Lee Hooker, Dr. John and the Gravenites-Cipolina Band.  This group featured Nick “The Greek” Gravenites–a long-time 60’s blues and rock guy who wrote and produced songs for many artists, including Janis Joplin and Paul Butterfield.  He also was a founding member of the 60’s San Francisco group, The Electric Flag (which included Buddy Miles and Michael Bloomfield).  John Cipolina was the lead guitar player for another old 60’s hippie band–Quicksilver Messenger Service.

There are not many clips from this old documentary out there. Every time someone posts a clip, the German producers file a cease and desist, and the videos are taken down. For some reason, however, the two clips below remain on YouTube. You should check them out. Not only is it great to see a video of the Minnesota Barking Ducks in their prime, but it is also cool to see the interior of the old Wilebski’s Blues Saloon.




Your support makes all the difference.