Over the past forty plus years British film director Tony Palmer has established himself as one of the country’s foremost directors of documentary and factual films. One of Tony Palmer's first successes was the film All My Loving, which was released in 1968. Some seven years later Tony had the idea, encouraged by John Lennon, to document the history of popular music. The result was the groundbreaking and award-winning series of films made for television under the title All You Need Is Love.
The full series of films was released in 2008 to great critical and commercial acclaim. Volume One, entitled God’s Children – The Beginnings, is just that and sets out the story for the rest of the series by charting the origins of popular music and traces it back to the African continent by way of Europe and America.
It is generally assumed that American popular music comes from the coastal regions of Africa; that the slaves brought drums to the United States; that jazz originated, somehow, in New Orleans; that the blues developed in the Mississippi Delta, and later became the cornerstone of everything from rock 'n' roll to ragtime. All of these assumptions are untrue, and this episode will seek to uncover the real story – in Africa, on the edge of the Sahara; in Austria and the Salzkammergut; in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas; in New Orleans and in Texas.
This episode features music from Lightnin’ Hopkins and Duke Ellington.
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