Born In Chicago (Review)

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Born In Chicago

Directed by John Anderson and Bob Sarles

Executive Producer: Timm Martin

Producer: Barry Goldberg

Narrated by Dan Aykroyd

“I got a Sweet Little Angel…” or “How many More Years have I got to let you dog me around….” Does this sound familiar lovers? Whoa, I am not here to choose sides, I’m here to sing praises for the documentary Born in Chicago. 

In our current-time and space of true division, this film uses the atomic music and transcendent story of the Blues to remind us we are all one. The History of Music dictates The Rolling Stones doing Little Red Rooster helped bring The Blues to white kids, but they were a small kernel of popcorn from a massive bowl of the real (non-microwavable) s**t that was COOKING on the South-Side of Chicago. 

In the small clubs Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin Wolf, Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy, Otis Spann and an illustrious list of future Blues-giants were about to change music forever. 

The music of these men had attracted young white musicians Paul Butterfield, Michael Bloomfield, Charlie Musselwhite (to name a few). There are more, but I don’t want to spoil some fun surprises about this movie. 

The old and young came together through a love of music, respect for one another and trust from the audience that the “jam” would always be good. It was time for The Blues to have a Baby and name the baby “Rock and Roll.”

Wow! Now that I smell a plate of Cat-fish, taste Whiskey and my eyes are wandering, let me tell you why you need to see Born in Chicago.

The experience of this documentary works due to its insightful and passionate dive into The Blues.

Born in Chicago itself was constructed over a 15-year period and like a good album delivers on the tangible and intangible of life. Rarely, does a film running under 90-minutes pack the same informative punch as a docu-series you binged over a weekend. I was left speechless over the editing of Bob Sarles (literally). 

The beauty of the interviews, shot with passion and style by John Anderson was brought to an incendiary level by its superlative editing and use of music to capture the Film”s intent, which was to describe how the past informs the present. The added factor they were shot over so many years and given some of the musicians are now gone; lends to the magic of Born in Chicago. 

This movie includes interviews with Barry Goldberg, Harvey Mandel, Hubert Sumlin (his last Filmed interview), B.B. King, Carlos Santana, Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, Nick Gravenites, Keith Richards, Marshall Chess, Eric Bourdon and Sam Lay. 

One might ask, “Have I ever had The Blues?” The answer is yes or “if you haven’t had The Blues, just keep living” is what Buddy Guy says. I recommend Born in Chicago, because at the end of the day, we need music. We need music to explore the mysteries. The same way music takes us into life’s mysteries, it also answers them. I believe there is nothing that can change your world like a good concert (or album). If the artist and audience are truly connected, watch-out!

Get ready for a new world, go explore, enjoy and indulge in The Blues!

Here is a companion deep-dive listening list.

Greatest Hits:

  • Muddy Waters 
  • Howlin Wolf
  • Little Walter,
  • Etta James
  • Buddy Guy (find any and all music you can).
  • Paul Butterfield Blues Band
  • Paul Butterfield Blues Band: East-West
  • Charlie Musselwhite: Stand back here comes Charlie Musselwhite’s Southside Band
  • Cream: Fresh Cream
  • The Yardbirds: Greatest Hits
  • The Doors (first album). Break on Through is based on the Paul Butterfield Blues band tune “Shake Your Moneymaker.”
  • Jimi Hendrix: Blues
  • Jeff Beck Group: Truth
  • Jeff Beck Group: Beckola
  • Allman Brothers Band: Live at the Filmore East
  • Aerosmith Honkin on Bobo





Born in Chicago is available for free with ads on FreeVee. Also available on Tubi for free, Amazon, Google Play Movies and T.V. and Youtube for $3.99, Apple TV for $4.99. It was released to DVD by Shout Factory on August 1st, 2023.

Talking Pictures: Thanks (for the inspiration) Megan, The Crowe Bar in Mayseville, Kentucky and Bill Cordes

Picture of Paul Booth

Paul Booth

Paul Booth’s love of movies is at the core of who he is. He is a filmmaker, journalist and film historian.

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