Best Education: 'Take Me to the River' screening and concert
If 73-year-old blues funkateer Bobby Rush doesn't get a full Syl Johnson-style renaissance in 2014, someone is dropping the ball. In Take Me to the River, a film where Tennessee and Delta legends explore what narrator Terrance Blanchard calls the "integrated music utopia" of Memphis and pioneers are teamed with contemporary talent, he collaborates with a geeked Frayser Boy, Yo Gotti is sprung on Bobby "Blue" Bland and Skip Pitts spends studio time with Snoop.
At Bonnaroo the film came to life with a performance by a 13-piece band (including Bar-Kays trumpet player Ben Cauley, the only survivor of the plane crash that killed Otis Redding) that blasted through nearly 50 years of Southern music history as one revue. Stax hitmaker William Bell brought stunning theatricality and dynamics to his 1968 smash "I Forgot to be Your Lover" and Al Kapone used the same band to tear through 2005 get-buck anthem "Whoop That Trick." Rush and Frayser made a great team on Rufus Thomas' "Push and Pull," but none of this monster band's power could match Rush's solo harmonica blues rendition of "Garbage Man" — at once gorgeous, deep, moving and hilarious.