Item description for Say Amen, Somebody (Bonus Deluxe) by George T. Nierenberg...
The first-ever DVD release for this legendary documentary film that explores the lives and music of the pioneers of modern Gospel music. Features Willie Mae Ford Smith, Thomas A. Dorsey, The Barrett Sisters and The O'Neal Twins. Includes bonus 15-song audio CD and deluxe "hymn book" packaging with essays, lyrics and rare photos. Bonus features include newly recorded director's commentary, photo essay and theatrical trailer.
"The music is as exciting and uplifting as any music I've ever heard on film...a great experience" -- Roger Ebert
"exuberant and revitalizing" -- Rolling Stone
"even a tone-deaf atheist will say 'amen!'" - Time
Outline There's good news aplenty in this DVD reissue of Say Amen, Somebody, director George T. Nierenberg's 1980 film focusing on some of the giants of modern gospel music and the younger singers whom they inspired. That's "good news" as in the word of God, and what better way to express the power of faith than through this powerful and uplifting music? Liner notes writer Anthony Heilbut describes the film as an exploration of "the golden age of gospel music in its dying hour," and Nierenberg (whose informative and illuminating commentary track, like Heilbut's lengthy notes, is one of the several features that justify the DVD's "bonus deluxe" tag) focuses principally on two senior citizens: Thomas Dorsey, often credited as "the father of gospel music," and Willie Mae Ford Smith, a St. Louis-based singer and an innovator who helped popularize the modern gospel singing style, with its emphasis on exaggerated, open-mouthed vibrato and careful articulation of the lyrics. Dorsey is an engaging raconteur who explains the origins of modern gospel (once a secular songwriter who wrote for Ma Rainey and others, he added rhythm to traditional hymns and spirituals, essentially "bringing the blues into church") and speaks movingly of the trials and tribulations that led to his writing the classic "Precious Lord." For her part, Smith is not only a tireless worker but something of a feminist pioneer who insisted early on that women have just as much right as men to spread the word (her own son's remark that "women ought to stay in their proper place: behind the man" illustrates what an uphill battle that was, and is); this chauvinism, along with the creeping commercialism that makes singers like the O'Neal Twins wonder if they're compromising their evangelical calling, are among the deeper issues Nierenberg's film addresses. But in the long run, of course, it's all about the music, and the DVD package includes 18 complete performances accessible via separate menu, as well as a 15-song CD. All of this will prompt not only a few "amens," but no doubt some "hallelujahs" too. --Sam Graham
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Directors: George T. Nierenberg
Format: Color, DVD, Widescreen, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Running Time: 120.00 minutes
Record Label Rykodisc
Format Color / DVD / Widescreen / NTSC
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.6" Width: 5.6" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Binding DVD Video
Release Date Apr 30, 2007
Publisher WORD INC. (MUSIC) #38
ISBN 0012409901 ISBN13 0014431089190 UPC 014431089190
Reviews - What do customers think about Say Amen, Somebody (Bonus Deluxe)?
Hallelujah, It's Finally On DVD! Mar 9, 2007
I was wondering which would come first....the rapture, or the DVD release of Say Amen, Somebody. This fantastic and uplifting documentary on the founders of gospel music is definitely my favorite documentary of all time. I had an old VHS that was pretty much worn out - this is one movie that you can watch and enjoy over and over again - so when I found out that Say Amen, Somebody was not only being released as a 'Bonus Deluxe' DVD, but that it would also include a CD of the soundtrack, I was shouting for joy! Pop the DVD in your home player, or the CD in your car stereo, and you'll be uplifted.
The packaging is very impressive, including a booklet with articles on the movie as well as the featured artists, a director's commentary, and indexed musical numbers for when you want to skip ahead to the good stuff. Lots of vintage photos, both in the booklet and on the DVD, add to the quality and collectibility of this DVD set. This was true history in the making. Even if you're not a fan of gospel music, this movie will make you a believer!
SAY AMEN SOMEBODY IS A REAL GEM!!! Feb 18, 2007
Years ago the producer of this awesome documentary "Say Amen Somebody" Karen Nierenberg, loaned me her video copy for viewing. I was so impressed with the gospel singing, the high caliber and multi-facited informational content of this film that I requested a copy for myself. At the time she didn't have access to any others and thought perhaps if I looked around I could find a copy.
Well, at that time there were no DVDs; I went on line to obtain a video copy and found a few copies that were new or used, however they were expensive.
Over the years I never forgot about this film,and so a couple of months ago, I went on line to see if a DVD had been made available and found out that a deluxe DVD was being produced; I was elated and pre-ordered a copy. I have recently received this DVD and find it to be REAL GEM!!
For openers, it isn't packaged like a DVD. It looks like a small hard covered book that includes 24 pages of original rare photos and essays by gospel music scholar, Anthony Heilbut, as well as DVD commentary by the director, George T. Nierenberg. As a bonus, a 15-song soundtrack CD is also included.
I feel blessed to have found out that this wonderful film has been formated to DVD and at an affordable cost
Many thanks to the producers of this extraordinary documentary.
A great and historically important documentary Feb 4, 2007
This is just a superb, wonderful documentary about gospel music and some of the central historical figures who help to create and develop the genre of gospel music. I'm delighted that it has finally been released on DVD. I can't praise this film enough. The director does a beautiful job of allowing the persons in this film to communicate directly with the viewer, without noticeable intrusion. Thomas A. Dorsey and Willie Mae Ford Smith are the two key figures in this film and two of the most important figures in the history of gospel. They are inspirational and joyfully spiritual people. You don't have to be Christian to appreciate the wonders of this film ... I'm not and I do!