If you find yourself with some time to kill during the upcoming holiday season, I recommend spending some of that time browsing through the catalogue over at Folkstreams. Folkstreams features a ton of free streams of vintage documentaries, mostly of an academic tone, focusing on anthropology, ethnomusicology and so on. Among the highlights are The Land Where the Blues Began (discussed here), two short films featuring Sonny Terry, recorded in 1969 and 1979, and a half-hour program about prison work songs from 1966. The scope of the documentaries extends beyond American musical styles, including topics as diverse as the singing fishermen of Ghana and noodling for catfish in Louisiana. There’s an abundance of material on this website ranging from 3 minute songs to full length documentaries, and all of it is worth checking out.
Here are a couple previews of documentaries available on Folkstreams.
Land Where the Blues Began (1979)
African-American Works Songs in a Texas Prison (1966)
Give My Poor Heart Ease (1975)