Bob Dylan, Jack White and the late B.B. King are among the scores of musicians featured in the new documentary, Born in Chicago, which chronicles the remarkable transformation and evolution of the blues that took place in the city during the 1950s and 1960s.
Directed by John Anderson — who helmed the concert portion of Brian Wilson’s Smile — the film recently launched a PledgeMusic campaign to raise money to secure the rights for the music and archival footage used in the documentary. Born in Chicago is otherwise finished, and has previously screened at South by Southwest, Lincoln Center and the Chicago Blues festival to wide acclaim.
The Born in Chicago campaign runs through September 16th. In exchange for donations, the doc is offering an array of merchandise, including copies of the film, clothing and a box set collection — in a variety of formats, including double vinyl LP — that covers the history of Chicago blues, as well as the music it went on to inspire.
Also available are an array of Chicago blues posters, a chance to Skype with keyboardist Barry Goldberg ($300), tickets to the movie’s official premiere and after-party ($150) and guitars signed by Elvin Bishop and Rick Reed ($2,500).
Born in Chicago also boasts interviews and performances from Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Steve Miller, Eric Burdon, Charlie Musselwhite, Sam Lay and Hubert Sumlin. The film is narrated by Chess Records scion Marshall Chess and pays particular attention to musicians like Goldberg, Harvey Mandel, Corky Siegel and Nick Gravenites; rock and roll pioneers who, as teenagers, ventured into Chicago to learn the blues from the masters.
“In the mid-Fifties and early Sixties, we heard this really unbelievable music coming from our little radios, in our bedrooms, in our comfortable neighborhoods on the Northside and Southside, Hyde Park, and the suburbs of Chicago,” Goldberg recalls in a trailer promoting the PledgeMusic campaign. “And we wanted to learn first-hand where this music was coming from — and it was in our own backyard.”