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Lightning in a Bottle

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
You?d have to look far and wide to find a concert bill filled with as many impressive blues and other popular music artists as the February 7, 2003, Radio City Music Hall concert ?Salute to the Blues.? Among the featured guests were Allison Krauss, Angelique Kidjo, Mos Def, Natalie Cole, and India Arie as well as Odetta, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, Solomon Burke, and B. B. King. The two-CD set is the soundtrack to the Martin Scorsese?produced film of the same name. Constructed as a blues trip from Africa to the Delta to Chicago, then spreading out to include blues branches as far-reaching as rap, the album is a stirring testament to the current vitality ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
You’d have to look far and wide to find a concert bill filled with as many impressive blues and other popular music artists as the February 7, 2003, Radio City Music Hall concert “Salute to the Blues.” Among the featured guests were Allison Krauss, Angelique Kidjo, Mos Def, Natalie Cole, and India Arie as well as Odetta, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, Solomon Burke, and B. B. King. The two-CD set is the soundtrack to the Martin Scorsese–produced film of the same name. Constructed as a blues trip from Africa to the Delta to Chicago, then spreading out to include blues branches as far-reaching as rap, the album is a stirring testament to the current vitality of the music. The first striking element is its pristine sound. This is a set so bright that Angelique Kidjo comes right into your living room with her soaring “Senie Zelie,” which begins the concert. The artists stay right there with the listener through B. B. King’s closing “Sweet Sixteen.” This is partially due to a relatively stable house band that lends some unity to the sound. And many of these players are already icons: Dr. John, Levon Helm, Ivan Neville, Danny Kortchmar, and Steve Jordan are among the house band members. There are enchanting and endearing moments, astonishing revelations, humor, and pathos on Lightning in a Bottle. Avant-garde guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer plays and sings a straight-ahead version “Sitting on Top of the World” with Allison Krauss’s fiddle recalling the importance of the instrument in the Mississippi Sheiks’ original version of the song. Odetta brings the civil rights struggle into the present with her concise but powerful introduction to “Jim Crow Blues.” Natalie Cole tries to distance herself from the blues -- as many popular African-American artists have done over the decades -- by saying “I don’t know why I’m here.” But then, drawing on the style of Dinah Washington, she sings a rousing “St. Louis Blues.” Cole also joins blues-based singers Ruth Brown and Mavis Staples for the humorous “Men Are Just like Street Cars.” David “Honeyboy” Edwards’s acoustic “Gamblin’ Man” is a Delta delight. Buddy Guy’s acoustic “I Can’t Be Satisfied” and his electric “First Time I Met the Blues” show this giant’s versatility. Solomon Burke delivers the soul of the blues like no other; the listener can almost see his luxurious cape being removed as he heats up “Turn On Your Love Light.” Contemporary blues artists Shemekia Copeland and Robert Cray give “I Pity the Fool” the fire and ice of Bobby Bland’s original interpretation. In many roots music tributes, rock artists come off as if they were looking in the mirror rather than connecting with sounds that laid the groundwork for rock ‘n’ roll. That is not the case with Lightning in a Bottle. John Fogerty is so humble in introducing “The Midnight Special” that he says “I hope I don’t mess this up” before performing a joy-filled and totally appropriate version. There could be no better rock stars than Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry to cover the braggadocio and sexually charged “I’m a King Bee.” Bonnie Raitt’s slide guitar on Elmore James’s “Coming Home” is true to both the roots and the fruits of the blues. Chuck D’s performance, in contrast to the other hip-hop artists on the bill, is both smart and interesting. The rapper turns John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” into an antiwar anthem, “(No) Boom Boom.” While keeping the drive and beat of the original, Chuck D and the band move in and out of tune, taking its intensity to new heights. The net proceeds from the concert, the film, and this recording go to the Blues Music Foundation, which supports blues artists who have fallen on hard times or never made it to the big time. That generosity and the spirit of these tribute CDs make this monumental album a deal that no one should turn down.
All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Lightning in a Bottle is the double-disc soundtrack to the documentary film of the same title directed by Antoine Fuqua and shot at a February 7, 2003, concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Billed as a "Salute to the Blues", the show featured veteran blues musicians as well as a younger generation of players and artists either directly working in the genre or deeply influenced by it, and the running order follows the evolution of blues from Africa, up the Mississippi, and through Chicago and beyond. With a crack house band of Steve Jordan and/or Levon Helm on drums, Dr. John on piano, Willie Weeks on bass, and Danny Kortchmar on guitar, Lightning in a Bottle has quite a few high points, including Macy Gray's version of Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog," Bonnie Raitt's "Coming Home," and the deep Southern gospel soul of Solomon Burke on "Turn On Your Love Light." Also impressive is David "Honeyboy" Edwards' stark and haunting solo acoustic rendering of "Gamblin' Man." Mavis Staples arguably stole the show, however, with her huge, shuffling, and ominous take on Blind Lemon Jefferson's "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean." The shifts and mutations of the blues from an acoustic music to an electric one are traced, ending in Chuck D and the Fine Art Militia's thundering rap version of John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom." The CD set lacks some of the music actually performed in the film, however, so the best way to catch this moving concert in its entirety is on DVD, which also includes backstage footage and interviews.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/21/2004
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 827969286029
  • Catalog Number: 92860
  • Sales rank: 51,799


Disc 1
  1. 1 Senie Zelie (3:47)
  2. 2 See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (4:03)
  3. 3 Gamblin' Man (4:08)
  4. 4 Love in Vain (3:20)
  5. 5 Sitting On Top of the World - James Blood Ulmer (5:14)
  6. 6 Jim Crow Blues (5:04)
  7. 7 St. Louis Blues - Natalie Cole (3:52)
  8. 8 Men Are Just Like Street Cars (4:25)
  9. 9 I Can't Be Satisfied (2:58)
  10. 10 Strange Fruit (2:40)
  11. 11 Hound Dog (3:28)
  12. 12 The Midnight Special (4:31)
  13. 13 Where'd You Get That Sound (0:54)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Okie Dokie Stomp - Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (2:48)
  2. 2 Coming Home (3:26)
  3. 3 The Sky Is Crying (7:32)
  4. 4 I'm a King Bee - Steven Tyler (4:20)
  5. 5 The First Time I Met the Blues (4:12)
  6. 6 Big Chief (3:27)
  7. 7 I Pity the Fool (4:58)
  8. 8 Killing Floor (4:04)
  9. 9 Turn on Your Love Light (3:27)
  10. 10 Down in the Valley (3:20)
  11. 11 Voodoo Child (5:17)
  12. 12 Minnesota Blues (aka Black Jack Blues) (5:44)
  13. 13 No Boom Boom (4:10)
  14. 14 Sweet Sixteen (6:31)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Robert Cray Guitar, Vocals
Buddy Guy Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Odetta Vocals
Hubert Sumlin Guitar
Alison Krauss Fiddle
Gregg Allman Organ, Vocals
Solomon Burke Vocals
Natalie Cole Vocals
Dr. John Piano, Wurlitzer
John Fogerty Guitar, Vocals
David Johansen Vocals
Aaron Neville Vocals, Tambak
Neville Brothers Piano, Vocals
Ivan Neville Organ, Drums, Pump Organ
Joe Perry Guitar
Bonnie Raitt Guitar, Vocals
Ruth Brown Vocals
Charles Neville Vocals, cowbell
Larry Johnson Guitar, Vocals
Vaneese Thomas Background Vocals, Vocal Harmony
James Blood Ulmer Electric Guitar, Vocals
Larry Taylor Acoustic Bass
Kim Wilson Harmonica
Warren Haynes Guitar, Vocals
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown Guitar, Vocals
Ben Cauley Trumpet
Chuck D Vocals
Kimati Dinizulu Conga
David Honeyboy Edwards Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Babi Floyd Background Vocals
Jack Hale Trombone
Levon Helm Mandolin, Drums, Maracas
Jim Horn Baritone Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Angélique Kidjo Vocals
B.B. King Guitar, Vocals
Curtis King Background Vocals
Danny Kortchmar Dobro, Guitar, Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Andrew Love Tenor Saxophone
Cyril Neville Conga, Vocals
Vernon Reid Guitar
Mavis Staples Vocals
Steven Tyler Harp, Vocals
Willie Weeks Bass
Keb' Mo' Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Dobro
Brian Hardgroove Bass, Background Vocals
Dominic Kanza Acoustic Guitar
Shemekia Copeland Vocals
Victoria Burke Keyboards
Macy Gray Vocals
Wes Little Drums
Steve Jordan Drums, Bass Drums
India.Arie Vocals
Fine Arts Militia Accompaniment
Brad Craig Guitar
Technical Credits
Lead Belly Composer
Neville Brothers Artwork
W.C. Handy Composer
Jerry Leiber Composer
James Blood Ulmer Arranger
Alan Lomax Composer
Bert Berns Composer
Greg Calbi Mastering
P. Davis Composer
Kimati Dinizulu Contributor
Jimi Hendrix Composer
Elmore James Composer
L.A. Johnson Composer
B.B. King Composer
Huddie Ledbetter Composer
Clarence Lewis Composer
Deadric Malone Composer
Eurreal Montgomery Composer
James Moore Composer
McKinley Morganfield Composer
Don Robey Composer
Morgan Robinson Composer
Mike Stoller Composer
E. James Composer
Randy Ezratty Engineer
Tisha Fein Producer
Dave Natale Engineer
Martin Scorsese Producer
Mos Def Composer
Joe Bihari Composer
Joseph Scott Composer
John Harris Engineer
Steve Jordan Producer
L. Allen Composer
Traditional Composer
R. Arthur Johnson Composer
C. Glenn Burnett Composer
Abe Vélez Packaging Manager
Earl Johnson Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010


    It is absolutely AMAZING to witness these elder blues men perform at this high level is truly unbelievable if I had not seen it with my own eyes. You can not imagine how talented they must have been in their earlier years when you witness the agility of those arthritic fingers moving along those strings now.WE are on our way to see Buddy Guy next weekend in Palm Springs at a local casino. WOW!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010


    I am so blues expert, I admit- but the diversity of talent on this CD is truly phenomenal. The recording itself is excellent- it really makes me wish I had been at that concert.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews