Born on the plantations of the Mississippi Delta, the blues is America's root music. Few performances of the early masters were ever captured on film, but thosethat were are profoundly insightful and entertaining. Son House, one of the earliest legends, sits alone with his dobro, his large hands attacking the strings, and the thunder of this voice filling the room. In the only known performance of Leadbelly, he stands by himself, legs bowed and eyes ablaze as he renders his tune. Bessie Smith, Mamie Smith, and Ethel Waters, the earliest divas, pour their hearts into their songs and take the music to new levels of popularity. Big Bill Broonzy creates an irresistible guitar shuffle that reverberates to this day, Roy Milton rocks the house, and Jimmy Rushing gives the blues a Count Basie beat. Ida Cox and Big Mama Thornton bring their own rhythms to the blues, while Billie Holiday makes it fine and mellow. Muddy Waters and Big Joe Turner pave the way for rock'n'roll and the blues finds classic interpreters in the modern expression of Joe Williams, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Witherspoon and B.B. King.