Houston-based Fast Cut Films, in association with Sunset Productions, is working on a documentary feature film, “Where Lightnin’ Strikes,” about the life and times of Houston blues legend Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins (1912-1982).The enduring musical journey of Sam Lightnin’ Hopkins began on a cotton farm in Centerville,Texas in 1912. He was drawn to the music he heard played by an older brother. After meeting up with Dallas bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson, Sam left the hardscrabble life of the Texas cotton fields, determined to play his way to better circumstances. Years of playing everywhere and anywhere he could, from the woods of East Texas to the barrelhouses of Galveston, and everywhere in between, led to Sam’s first recordings in 1946. From his first hit, “Katie Mae” in which he sings, “You know she walks just like she got oil wells in her backyard,” to his final recordings of the 70s, Lightnin’ became one of the most prolific recording artists of all times.
Possessing a sharp wit and a unique ability for endless improvisation, Lightnin was a master storyteller. He was able to convey profound truths about the human condition via poetic imagery. The “Po’ Lightnin” that inhabited his tales of struggle and misery became the “Everyman” that black audiences identified with and white audiences flocked to performances to experience. Whether playing on a street corner on Dowling Street or at Carnegie Hall his style defined Texas blues. He sounded like no one else yet influenced every one. His unique musical style influenced generations of blues, rock, country and soul musicians as well as filmmakers, writers and painters. Over the course of his 60-year career, Lightnin’ Hopkins recorded more music than any other blues artist. His discography includes more than 100 albums for more than twenty different recording labels. He made Houston his home in the 1940s. In 1982, his funeral drew more than 4,000 devoted fans and musicians to the city to celebrate and honor him.
The film, currently in production, includes on-camera interviews with family members, band members, historians, eyewitnesses and musicians influenced by Lightnin’s work. Additionally the film will explore Lightnin’s influence on artists outside of music including painters, sculptors and writers. These interviews will be combined with archival photographs, newsreels, and performance footage.
[youtube IQfcxn_ViVc nolink]