Long Island’s little known—to some people—blues scene gets the wide attention it deserves in Big Fish Blues, a new documentary directed by Leslye Abbey that will get its premiere at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington on Feb. 22.
To those in the know, Long Island’s nickname on the music circuit is “The Big Fish,” thanks to the twin forks, it’s been home to many of the top musicians in blues over the years, and Abbey believes that it’s well past time they got their due.
“They are a lot of very famous people in this movie—people that are known in Europe, all over the country,” said Abbey, a social worker, psychotherapist and filmmaker who lives in Bellmore.
She began her project in 2001 by filming performers at the Back Street club in Rockville Centre.
“I just started shooting, meeting people, and interviewing people and it went on and on year after year,” said Abbey. “Then I put it away. But now I’m finishing everything I started!”
The Cinema Arts Centre is proud to host the event, says Cindy Campbell, who is producing the evening event. After Campbell saw a rough cut of the film in November, she said it was a revelation to her.
“I didn’t know Long Island had a big blues following,” Campbell told the Press, “but there is a big blues circuit. These people’s lives revolve around the blues.”
This film delves deep into one of the greatest genres of American music, featuring a wide range of artists delivering unforgettable performances. Here’s a short list: Little Buster and The Soul Brothers, Bo Diddley, Jr., Sam Taylor, Doug “Harmonica” McLean, Stevie Cochran, Toby Walker, Sandra Taylor with “A Band Called Sam,” Kerry Kearney, Gail Storm, and many more.
Their lives make great stories too, as the film makes clear by documenting their musical journey from the club scene to the silver screen. Besides Abbey, many of the musicians will be on hand in Huntington to talk to the audience and share their love of the music that is their life’s work.
“It’s going to be a big party!” said Abbey. “It’s going to be a dynamite night.”
So forget about the south side of Chicago, sit back and dig the blues from “The Big Fish.”
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22. For more information, go to the Cinema Arts Centre’s website.
In the photo, Bo Diddley Jr. is performing. [Photo courtesy Cinema Arts Centre]