This is a very fine “time capsule” directed by Harley Cokeliss, an American director, producer, writer and actor born February 11, 1945 in San Diego. The cinematography is by master cameraman Tak Fujimoto.
CHICAGO BLUES explores the hard lives of bluesmen in Chicago narrated by an insightful and incendiary commentary from comedian turned political activist Dick Gregory. CHICAGO BLUES is a an interesting document of a generation of great musicians trying to make a living in a racially divided America.
‘‘CHICAGO BLUES” is an angry film. To document Chicago blues at its source, the British director Harley Cokliss went to South Side clubs, storefront churches and homes. He wound up with both a performance film and an anti-travelogue on ghetto life. It is a stark, forceful combination.
– Jon Pareles (NYT, 1983)