Sophie Abramowitz

  • film December 21, 2020

    Blue Velvet

    IN 1929, two years after the setting of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and about seven months after Rainey, the “Mother of the Blues,” made her last recordings, another stylish Southern blues singer—the “Queen” of the genre—cut a song with her new husband. On “When the Levee Breaks,” Memphis Minnie looses her guitar on Kansas Joe McCoy, who starts to sing:

    If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s going to break

    If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s going to break

    And the water gonna come in, have no place to stay

    Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, adapted for the screen from August Wilson’s eponymous play by director and dramatist