Scenes from the 90-minute film "BIG SHOES: Walking and Talking the Blues" featuring Ted Drozdowski and his Nashville-based band Scissormen. The film was directed by Robert Mugge and produced by Robert Mugge and Diana Zelman for Mug-Shot Productions and Hope Springs Productions.
Click Here to View: Trailer • Delta Train • Complete Film
"If the Scissormen don't move you, you are already dead... Big Shoes: Walking and Talking the Blues is a DVD/CD combo consisting of a Robert Mugge Film and the Scissormen's 5th Album. Both are outstanding productions and certainly could stand on their own merits, in fact the DVD is one of the finest I have received in years, which is a testament to the brilliance of Robert Mugge... Scissormen and Robert Mugge's Big Shoes: Walking and Talking the Blues is an exceptional offering from all concerned to the ever growing history of the Blues and a project that all concerned should be very proud to have brought forward to the masses. [5 Stars] ***** for sure, my highest rating... Highly Recommended and Thoroughly Enjoyed."
- John Vermilyea, Blues Undergound Network
"This 90-minute DVD and accompanying CD...capture Drozdowski and drummer R.L. Hulsman at full force. The Scissormen's music springs from haunting, hypnotism of Hill Country drones mixed with carefully detailed excursions through rock and psychedelia. Drozdowski is a veteran journalist with an encyclopedic knowledge and love of the blues who bursts forth with articulate stories at every turn... Mugge doesn't interfere with the stories or musical expression and is respectful of restless professor approach. There is a lot here to digest and appreciate. It's a tour-de-force of Drozdowski's slide playing peppered with his nonstop commentary, a potent mixture that will require you to strap in, lockdown, and let it go."
- Michael Kinsman, Blues Revue
"Filmmaker Robert Mugge's famous camera - the same one which tracked down Deep Sea Blues, Last of the Mississippi Jukes, and the gold standard of all time, Deep Blues - now focuses its documentary lens on a new blues target: Scissormen. Nashville's own juke-joint duo began when acclaimed blues journalist Ted Drozdowski swapped pen and paper for a loud-mouthed guitar and a drummer... Mugge trails them through barrooms and theaters dotting the snowy Midwest on a rowdy bender to spread the good word about hill-country revelators like Fred McDowell, Jessie Mae Hemphill, and R.L. Burnside... With its grim ferocity and sheer volume, Drozdowski's slide guitar supplies all the dirt and force...matching the drama of his vocal delivery... His talking blues typically smolder for a bit...then manically flare up into the bar-walking showmanship which grabs tip jars and patrons' beer cans to do its sliding atop R.L. Hulsman's cymbal-hazed drumbeats."
- Dennis Rozanski, Baltimore Blues Society's Bluesrag
"Together the two discs of Big Shoes: Walking & Talking the Blues showcase just how vital the blues can be even in the 21st Century and how rich and far-flung a well contemporary performers can draw from. No blues fans should miss this one. Few rock fans, especially lovers of guitar gods, should bypass it either. This package is something different, something special, and more than listenable - it’s revelatory as well."
- Dr. Wesley Britton, blogcritics.org and Seattle Post Intelligencer
3 1/2 stars out of 4 - "Even when Scissormen use well-worn blues images...they sound bracingly fresh and vital, thanks to a sure sense of song dynamics that both keeps the eight-minutes-plus pieces from dragging and sustains the incendiary intensity of Drozdowski's slide playing. 'The blues ain't dipped in amber,' he declares on the title song. 'Gonna fill my own big shoes.' And Scissormen deliver on that promise... Scorching..."
- Nick Cristiano, The Philadelphia Inquirer
"The Scissormen, originally formed by Drozdowski with drummer R.L. Hulsman, are the focus of Mugge's latest film... Their music is extraordinary; grittier than their closest counterparts the White Stripes and the Black Keys, the Scissormen also display a fluidity and connection with blues idioms that surpasses both of these groups... The compelling, incendiary music the Scissormen create in Big Shoes deserves attention from listeners across the board."
- Melanie Young, Living Blues
"The footage on the DVD is actually a 90 minute feature by legendary Robert Mugge (Deep Blues)... I loved Deep Blues and this movie is every bit as captivating but for different reasons. It captures singer, songwriter, guitar player Ted Drozdowski along with drummer R.L. Hulsman reconnecting with the early primitive blues and the life that still exists with it... The CD is also terrific. It contains 15 tracks all of them great. Both CD and DVD capture the essence of that music genre that we love so much... This is a hot package of video and music and I highly recommend it."
- Bman's Blues Report
"You're going to have your hands full with this one... Like the blues itself, Mugge favors a ground-level hard-tack approach that detracts nothing from realism, adding luster to the wonders lurking within the everyday... The film is also unique in that it signatures one of the few genuine touring duets I've seen... Had the Scissormen appeared at the Whiskey in the era, they would've met with wild enthusiasm, blowing the doors out with thundering slide in 12-bar format, hippies (me among them) welcoming the lads with open arms, as they had Back Door, John Mayall, and many others. The film captures what may well be the last gasp of the hallowed world of blues bars as the country gentrifies from East Coast to West, Canada to Gulf. If you're getting a mite weary of yuppie watering holes and cellophane disco repackaged muzak, then Big Shoes is precisely the mojo ya need whether you hail from a post-punk generation already tiring of the bourgeois crap littering the airwaves or are among Baby Boomers wishing a few more trips back to the era before Madison Avenue bit into the jugular of rogue dawgz, turning them into cash cows ruining the airwaves."
- Mark S. Tucker, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
"A new film by Robert Mugge...red hot and ready for the world to see... Interviews, history, cool montage and atmospherics, and lots of great music - this film has a little something for everyone... Ted Drozdowski...and his drummer R.L. 'Rob' Hulsman...ignite the fiery sounds of classic blues... These guys can rock the house all night, and as if the 90-minute film isn't enough, you get a bonus disc of live music, featuring the Scissormen in a full performance of jumpin' juke joint blues! If you like nasty slide played on a well-worn Telecaster, along with a driving beat straight out of the Delta, then pick up Big Shoes: Walking and Talking the Blues. You'll be walking and talking along in no time!"
- Brian K. Read, Chicago Blues Guide
"Drozdowski...performs with style, dynamism and a subtlety that may not always be obvious... I had the pleasure of seeing Scissormen and the CD captures the energy and passion of their live performances quite adeptly. The DVD is a fascinating mix... There are nuggets that can be drawn out of the interview segments, but the video of performances are the real treasure of the DVD of Robert Mugge's latest film. Certainly the combination of CD and DVD makes this quite an attractive package of the music of a duo that is doing its best to provide their own interpretation of this aspect of the blues tradition. Scissormen certainly fit their own Big Shoes on this dynamic recording and video."
- Robert Weinstock, inabluemood.blogspot.com
"Ted Drozdowski has more than enough pathos and ethos to fill the shoes of those departed legends that walked before him... Though a technical and talented musician, Drozdowski shines when expressing his passion for a harder blues sound... In typical Mugge fashion, the shots are kept very simple; those onscreen carry the action, with the backdrops and locales also coloring the documentary... Kudos to Robert Mugge and his team of videographers for documenting Scissormen doing what they do best, and to Drozdowski for bringing more attention to the works of R.L. Burnside, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Jessie Mae Hemphill through his own material."
- Georgetown Fats, The Blues Blog (Boston Blues Society)
"Ya like the blues? This package will burn your retinas. Packaging music and a documentary about the real blues with the music provided by The Scissormen, a bar band in love with the blues, you get sights and sounds that take you someplace else entirely. A Robert Mugge documentary, there's just nothing here to be defaulted or dissected as everyone put out 120% to drive this experience over the top. If this entire package doesn't hypnotize you, I just don't [know] what blues you are talking about if you say you like them. Amazing!"
- Chris Spector, Midwest Record (Chicago)
"This CD/DVD features daring but elegant fusion of old-time Delta blues with modern, occasionally jazzy and even "outside" musical elements. Throughout, Ted Drozdowski's stunning slide work pulses from subtle to electrifying with a canny sense of dynamics. The accompanying 90-minute DVD, produced and directed by Robert Mugge, combines footage from the road and live gigs with bits of blues history, and well worth the time for any blues fan."
- Michael Mueller, guitarinstructor.com
"This two-disc CD/DVD set includes Mugge's 90-minute film on one disc, and a red-hot fifteen-track live performance on the other, so don't wait, just get it!"
- Reverend Keith A. Gordon, About.com Blues
"Throughout the documentary...[Drozdowski] unfurls historical blues narratives with the authority and zeal of the longtime blues journalist that he is. And a live album of the same name captures him and the duo's original drummer, R.L. Hulsman, churning out a savvy, spirited set of originals."
- Jewly Hight, Nashville Scene
"Mugge's film comes as close as humanly possible to putting you right in a Scissormen juke joint experience. To witness Ted live on stage is a little like willingly sitting on the tracks while a Silver Streak comes barreling right at you. As Mugge himself says in the liner notes to the new soundtrack, 'Scissormen is simply incendiary,' probably one of the few understatements in rock and roll today."
- Paul Burch, Editor, Epiphone
"Highest rating. The DVD contains concert footage and interviews. Drozdowski, a former music writer, makes his case for advancing the music of the blues, and taking it beyond where he found it. Meanwhile, he makes darn good music."
- Jim White, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Online
"Drozdowski's background as a journalist comes in handy. He is
the perfect host for the tour, narrating as he drives from place
to place, setting the stage for the next scene, talking about how
he was inspired to play, and never taking himself too
seriously...he looks like he's having a blast, whether on stage or
just hanging out. While he's an excellent performer and musician,
he's still as much a fan as he ever was, something us laymen can
definitely relate to while watching. If you [aren't] a fan of
Scissormen before you tune into Big Shoes: Walking and Talking
the Blues, you will be once you watch."
- Graham Clarke, Phoenix Blues Society's BluesBytes
"This duo will stop at nothing to get the attention of the crowd and to hold their attention throughout the entire show... The band pays tribute to their heroes (and 'sheroes' as the case may be) and does a beautiful job of it. Call it primal, call it wild, call it whatever you'd like, Big Shoes: Walking and Talking the Blues is a powerful piece of work. Whether you like their style or not this is one album that you will find yourself drawn to like a moth to the flame. The Scissormen deliver Mississippi blues with power, authority and a passion seldom heard on the contemporary blues scene. Wild as the recording may sound at times, it is done with the utmost respect, devotion and love. Hands down, this is one of the best pieces I've heard in a while in this particular style... As for the DVD, Robert Mugge gets to the heart of the matter and tells the story in ways that words could not begin to describe. In all honesty, either disc is well worth the price paid for the package."
- Bill Wilson, Billtown Blues Society (Williamsport, PA)
"In addition to his musical experience, Drozdowski's three decades as an acclaimed music journalist made him the perfect person to collaborate with documentary filmmaker Robert Mugge in creating this 90-minute film... The CD makes a valuable supplement to the DVD... My advice would be to watch the DVD before playing the CD, so that you will have a mental picture to accompany and enhance your understanding of the music... The Scissormen use Big Shoes not only to pay tribute to the past, but also to showcase their own original style. As Drozdowski sings, 'The blues ain't dipped in amber. Gotta fill my own big shoes.' It's his mission - a noble one - and Big Shoes invites you to share in it."
- Sheila Skilling, Blues Blast Magazine
"The ninety-minute DVD, released along with the CD as a two-disc
set, captures the band's rawness speared by a white-hot poker of
reality in their sometimes dive-y surroundings... Either through
his music or during film interviews, [Drozdowski] can be counted
on to give listeners an education on an American treasure called
- Janet Goodman, Music News Nashville
"The CD consists of fifteen tracks...and the songs are all delivered with expert musicianship... The DVD is even more enjoyable, due to its ability to enlighten the viewer about the genre (which naturally leads to a greater appreciation of the music). The 90-minute disc blends concert film footage, movies from the road, a taste of blues history and visual cultural commentary from director Robert Mugge. Overall, this is an entertaining package spreading the admirable work of highly original musicians."
- Greg Victor, Parcbench.com
"Throughout the film - and even on the 15-track accompanying CD - Drozdowski always conveys an earnest missionary zeal for the music he so obviously loves. His penchant for politely educating his audiences, without being overly didactic, marks him as something more than a mere entertainer. In fact, he seems a true believer, not only in blues music as a historically relevant artifact but as a mode of communication that's as rich and life-sustaining now as it ever was."
- David Pulizzi, Jazziz
"[Drozdowski and Hulsman] eerily summon the spectres of long-vanished Mississippi Delta and hill country blues musicians... Mugge's feature-length film is a blend of concert clips, road incidents, blues history and state-of-the-art genre reportage as only Mugge can do it... Cutting edge juke joint blues."
- Gary von Tersch, Big City Rhythm & Blues
"Interesting and entertaining. These two performers bring us their love of the country blues while giving them a modern twist."
- Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis, Crossroads Blues Society Newsletter (Page 10)
"Highest rating. Do you like your Delta blues raw and muscular? You will love this CD and DVD. Recommended."
- Bernard Boyat, Le Cri du Coyote (France)
"Cutting through the atmosphere with an improbable mix of ethos and electricity, the Scissormen groove, grind and gamble. A musically eclectic reinvention of what was and what could be, the Scissormen create a performance that is as visually entertaining as it is sonically charged. My first encounter with this dynamic duo was at Speal's Tavern in Western Pennsylvania. As part of what Ted Drozdowski calls his "juke joint tricks," I was picked to hold his guitar while his fingers danced around the frets which happened just after he jumped down from a stroll on the bar."
- Maureen Elizabeth, American Blues News