Today, the Los Angeles Film Festival will screen Ballads, Blues, and Bluegrass, a film documenting a New York house party hosted by folklorist Alan Lomax in 1961, reports Billboard. Lomax invited folk musicians like Doc Watson and blues artists including bassist and songwriter Willie Dixon and pianist Memphis Slim. The resulting film, planned for a British television broadcast that never came together, contains the oldest known footage of Watson performing.
“It was just a party, but somebody in England said that if he could make a passable film on some aspect of the folk revival, they’d pay for it,” said Anna Lomax Wood, daughter of Alan Lomax. “They just improvised the whole thing. It’s a little corny in spots, but basically it’s really good to see these wonderful people who were not filmed very often.”
Today’s screening at the Grammy Museum will be the world premiere of Ballads, Blues, and Bluegrass. Watson died in May in North Carolina. He was 89.