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Lackawanna Blues
     

Lackawanna Blues

 
While it is not unusual for rap artists to salute the blues, few have tried to swing into a tune’s traditional style. On the soundtrack to the HBO film Lackawanna Blues rapper and actor Mos Def salutes the original style of the classic “Caldonia” and adds an appropriate personal touch. When singing the chorus, Mos Def lets out a little musical shout at the end

Overview

While it is not unusual for rap artists to salute the blues, few have tried to swing into a tune’s traditional style. On the soundtrack to the HBO film Lackawanna Blues rapper and actor Mos Def salutes the original style of the classic “Caldonia” and adds an appropriate personal touch. When singing the chorus, Mos Def lets out a little musical shout at the end of the word "Caldonia," giving the bouncy dance tune a new thrill. The rapper, who plays a dance-band leader in the film, also covers the Leiber/Stoller swing number “Destination Love.” Several other contemporary artists step impressively into this blues soundtrack: Neo crooner Ricky Fante gives Magic Sam’s "That's All I Need" a '50s raw-soul edge; the Blind Boys of Alabama refresh the traditional “Faith and Grace"; and Robert Bradley lends his gritty, I’ve-been-on-the-streets-too-long voice to several songs from the blues songbook. He also wrote “Down On Me” for the film and sings it in a duet with Macy Gray. To firmly root the film in the late '50s and early '60s are recordings of T-Bone Walker, Little Jimmy Scott, Etta Baker, and Tommy Tucker. Because the new material is true without being overly nostalgic, it all blends into a sweet reflection of that era.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
The soundtrack companion to an HBO film directed by George C. Wolf and based on Ruben Santiago-Hudson's acclaimed one man show (Santiago-Hudson wrote the screenplay adaptation and appears in the film) about a black youth coming of age in upstate New York in the early 1960s, Lackawanna Blues mixes new material by Mos Def, Robert Bradley and Macy Gray (all of whom have roles in the film) with classic blues, gospel and R&B from the likes of Big Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker, J.J. Jackson and others. Mos Def does his throwback jump blues routine on the set opener, the classic "Caldonia," and "Destination Love," while Bradley adds "Dark Road," "Something Inside Me" and a striking moody duet with Gray on his "Down on Me." The highlights of the set, though, are the vintage tracks from Jimmy Scott (the impeccably orchestrated "If I Ever Lost You" from 1960), Tommy Tucker (an easy grooving "High Heel Sneakers" from 1963), and folk virtuoso Etta Baker, whose acoustic guitar work on her signature "One Dime Blues" is simply stunning. As a sequence, Lackawanna Blues flows well, and while the newly recorded material is obviously necessary for the film, it feels a little manufactured and a bit intrusive when placed next to the vintage stuff, but only by degree, making this a nice, brief nostalgia-tinged snapshot of the film.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/08/2005
Label:
Vanguard Records
UPC:
0015707978323
catalogNumber:
79783
Rank:
107384

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Little Jimmy Scott   Vocals
Robert Banks   Piano
George Doering   Guitar
Stephen Klong   Drums
Bruce Robb   Hammond Organ
Maxine Willard Waters   Background Vocals
Hy White   Guitar
Larry Antonino   Bass
Lucas   Bass
David Morgan   Piano
Julia Waters   Background Vocals
Tommy Tucker   Organ,Piano,Vocals
Dean "Cousin Sugar" Young   Guitar
Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise   Vocals
Zachary Throne   Guitar
Oscar Seaton   Drums
Mos Def   Vocals
Andre "Big Dre" Carter   Trumpet
Bill Sims   Guitar
Macy Gray   Vocals
Johnny Williams & His Orchestra   Drums
Blind Boys of Alabama   Vocals
Matt Ruffino   Guitar
Brenda Lee Jones   Bass
Paul Gusman   Strings,Drums
Kamasi Washington   Saxophone
Jaman Laws   Saxophone

Technical Credits

Etta Baker   Composer
Jerry Leiber   Composer
T-Bone Walker   Composer
Herb Abramson   Producer
John Chelew   Arranger,Producer
Jimmy Hoyson   Engineer
Elmore James   Composer
Doc Pomus   Composer
Bruce Robb   Producer
Mike Stoller   Composer
Josh Deutsch   Producer
Samuel Maghett   Composer
Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise   Composer
Georgette Cartwright   Creative Services Coordinator
Evyen Klean   Producer,Audio Production
Fleecie Moore   Composer
Reginald Ashby   Composer
Chris Goldsmith   Arranger,Executive Producer
Kevin Welk   Executive Producer
Traditional   Composer
George C. Wolfe   Executive Producer
Blind Boys of Alabama   Arranger
Gary Kelley   Cover Art
Ruben Santiago Hudson   Executive Producer
Pierre Richard   Composer

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