Compilation producers: Charles Burnett, Jerry Rappaport.
Includes liner notes by Martin Scorsese, Charles Burnett and Billy Altman.
Adapter: Elmore James.
Personnel: Elmore James, John Lee Hooker, Mississippi John Hurt, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Son House, Tewee Blackman, Tommy McClennan, Charley Patton (vocals, guitar); Ben Ramey (vocals, kazoo); Carmen Twillie (vocals, background vocals); Ma Rainey, Marie Knight , Mildred Jones, W.C. Handy, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Charlie Burse (vocals); James "Pee Wee" Madison, Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, Luther Tucker, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Sammy Lawhorn, Barry Galbraith (guitar); Charlie Dixon (banjo); Coleman Hawkins, Barney Bigard, Buster Bailey (clarinet); Gene Quill (alto saxophone); Allen Clark (baritone saxophone); Jimmy Vincent, Louis Armstrong, Mel Davis , Bernie Glow, Billy Butterfield (trumpet); Jimmy Harrison, Urbie Green, Charlie Green (trombone); Fletcher Henderson, Hank Jones , Bert Kendrick, Jelly Roll Morton, Otis Spann, Sammy Price, Charles L. Cooke (piano); Francis Clay, Fred Below, Oliver Johnson , Frock O'Dell, Duke Barker, Zutty Singleton, Wallace Bishop (drums); Steven James Taylor (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Richie Raposa.
Liner Note Authors: Charles Burnett; Billy Altman; Martin Scorsese.
Recording information: Chicago, IL (10/16/1924-05/??/2002); Houston (10/16/1924-05/??/2002); Jackson, MS (10/16/1924-05/??/2002); Los Angeles, CA (10/16/1924-05/??/2002); Memphis (10/16/1924-05/??/2002); New York, NY (10/16/1924-05/??/2002); San Antonio (10/16/1924-05/??/2002).
Photographer: David Gahr.
Unknown Contributor Role: Pluma Dabis.
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