Cover image for Warming by the Devil's fire a film by Charles Burnett.
Warming by the Devil's fire a film by Charles Burnett.
Burnett, Charles, 1944-
Publication Information:
[New York, NY] : Columbia/Legacy, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 audio disc : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact disc.

Program notes by Martin Scorsese, Charles Burnett and Billy Altman, inserted.
Turtle twist (Jelly Roll Morton) -- See see Rider (Ma Rainey) -- Death letter (Son House) -- I'm a fool to want you (Billie Holiday) -- Big leg blues (Mississippi John Hurt) -- K.C. moan (Memphis Jug Band) -- Sweet home Chicago (Robert Johnson) -- Deep blue sea blues (Tommy McClennan) -- Muddy water (Bessie Smith) -- Cross my heart (Sonny Boy Williamson) -- Dust my broom (Elmore James) -- You can't lose what you ain't never had (Muddy Waters) -- Beale Street blues (W.C. Handy) -- Hang it on the wall (Charley Patton) -- Up above my head (I hear music in the air) (Sister Rosetta Tharpe) -- Give me freedom (Stephen James Taylor) -- Mr. Thrill (Mildred Jones) -- I'll never get out of these blues alive (John Lee Hooker).
Added Corporate Author:
Added Uniform Title:
Martin Scorsese presents The blues (Television program)
Format :
Music CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
XX(1251614.1) Compact Disc Audio Visual

On Order



Of all the directors who did films in the Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues series, Charles Burnett has the most direct connection to the music. Born in Mississippi in 1944, Burnett grew up listening to the Delta sounds as the came from the radio in his home, and the Chicago innovations of the music as it developed there by Delta artists. On the Warming by the Devil's Fire collection, Burnett creates an aural montage of the profane and spiritually haunted manifestations inside the music of the Mississippi Delta. These coincide with his cinematic narrative about a young boy who goes to Mississippi to be baptized in the mid-'50s and is exposed -- via a kidnapping by his uncle -- to the rough and rowdy sounds of the "devil's music." Sonically, this is one of the most consistent and satisfying of the series' volumes. From whorehouse anthems such as Jelly Roll Morton's "Turtle Twist" and Ma Rainey's "See See Rider," to the hunted, spiritual sickness of Son House's "Death Letter"; from the bawdy joy of Mississippi John Hurt's "Big Leg Blues," to the victorious gospel transcendence of Sister Rosetta Tharpe's "Up Above My Head," to the place where both sides of the equation come to break a man apart in John Lee Hooker's "I'll Never Get Out of These Blues Alive," Warming by the Devil's Fire exercises and exorcises demons and spirits with a rolling, pulsing, breathing soundtrack where room is made for all conflicting notions of blues and how they can both liberate and tear a person asunder. ~ Thom Jurek