I’m a fan of old blues music. Like 1920s era blues. This documentary does not cover old blues. Its focus is on Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women, a distinctly more modern act. These ladies, all of whom are far older now that what you typically see on stage (unless you are witnessing the geriatric Rolling Stones), play the newer, more rockin’ blues that is very popular amongst certain groups of people. (Mainly those who flock to outdoor festivals.) Despite its more contemporary sound, I did find myself intrigued by the music and the personalities behind it.
Saffire, at the time of the film, was Gaye Adegbalola, Andra Faye and Ann Rabson, and their rise and slight fall is littered with the ills of society. Racism. Capitalism. Gender roles. It’s all there, and these ladies don’t hold back when talking about the problems those things have caused them. By the time the band takes to the road, the women are in their forties and have done a lot of living. It all makes for a very interesting examination of not only what motivates musicians and fans, but also what causes musicians to make the music they create.
If the blues aren’t your thing, there is very little reason to recommend this film. To appreciate these ladies, you need to be able to appreciate the blues no matter the era. If you’re a fan of Saffire, then this is essential in every way you could imagine. The end may not leave you happy, but like the blues, you’ll still feel better by the piece’s conclusion.