Lackawanna Blues

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
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.
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/8/2005
  • Label: Vanguard Records
  • UPC: 015707978323
  • Catalog Number: 79783
  • Sales rank: 206,168

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Caldonia - Mos Def (3:08)
  2. 2 That's All I Need - Ricky Fanté (3:11)
  3. 3 If I Ever Lost You - Little Jimmy Scott (2:41)
  4. 4 Boogie Woogie Country Girl - Big Joe Turner (2:40)
  5. 5 Dark Road - Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise (5:00)
  6. 6 But It's Alright - J.J. Jackson (2:51)
  7. 7 One Dime Blues - Etta Baker (3:35)
  8. 8 High Heel Sneakers (2:49)
  9. 9 Something Inside Me - Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise (4:12)
  10. 10 Destination Love - Mos Def (2:17)
  11. 11 Party Girl - T-Bone Walker (2:09)
  12. 12 Faith and Grace - Five Blind Boys of Alabama (3:04)
  13. 13 Down on Me - Macy Gray (3:48)
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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
Al Lucas Bass
David Morgan Piano
Julia Waters Background Vocals
Tommy Tucker Jr. 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
Five 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
Steve Hall Mastering
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
Five Blind Boys of Alabama Arranger
Gary Kelley Cover Art
Ruben Santiago Hudson Executive Producer
Pierre Richard Composer
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