Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: The Soul of a Man

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The blues is alive and well, and if anyone needs any proof of the matter, here’s the evidence. The Soul of a Man mates artists from the worlds of rock, jazz, and contemporary/alternative folk and blues with classic blues songs. (Skip James and J. B. Lenoir contribute the lion’s share of the compositions.) The interpretations are personal and heartfelt, revealing the affection, if not reverence, that these artists feel for the genre. Although names like Lou Reed and Nick Cave aren’t immediately associated with the blues, it’s obvious from their interpretations that the genre’s spirit has seeped deep into their musical psyche. And the artists who have already examined the blues on their own recordings including ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
The blues is alive and well, and if anyone needs any proof of the matter, here’s the evidence. The Soul of a Man mates artists from the worlds of rock, jazz, and contemporary/alternative folk and blues with classic blues songs. (Skip James and J. B. Lenoir contribute the lion’s share of the compositions.) The interpretations are personal and heartfelt, revealing the affection, if not reverence, that these artists feel for the genre. Although names like Lou Reed and Nick Cave aren’t immediately associated with the blues, it’s obvious from their interpretations that the genre’s spirit has seeped deep into their musical psyche. And the artists who have already examined the blues on their own recordings including Cassandra Wilson, Beck, and Lucinda Williams, take to project with gusto.
All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Unlike Ken Burns' Jazz, the television mini-series it recalls, the 2003 public-TV project The Blues, for which movie director Martin Scorsese served as executive producer, was not a multi-part documentary history of its chosen musical genre. Instead, seven different filmmakers, starting with Scorsese, made blues-related movies of one sort or another. Wim Wenders, who helmed The Soul of a Man, the second film in the series, concentrated on his three favorite blues artists, Blind Willie Johnson 1902-47, Skip James 1902-69, and J.B. Lenoir 1929-67. Wenders' affection for Johnson had been demonstrated previously in his 1984 film Paris, Texas, which boasted a Ry Cooder score that drew heavily on Johnson's influence. This soundtrack album for The Soul of a Man uses one song each, recorded by the three subjects, and adds John Mayall's 1967 song "The Death of J.B. Lenoir," but otherwise calls upon contemporary musicians to interpret the music of James, Johnson, and Lenoir. Some of them are people who have contributed to previous Wenders soundtracks. Lou Reed, his voice so hoarse as to be unrecognizable, performs James' "Look Down the Road," and closes the album with Blind Lemon Jefferson's "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean," while Nick Cave renders Lenoir's "I Feel So Good." Of the 18 songs written by one of the principals, Lenoir and James have eight tunes each, while Johnson is recalled only by his own rendition of "Soul of a Man," and Marc Ribot's performance of his signature song "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground." The artists turn in characteristic efforts, with Beck going for an authentic-sounding reading of James' "I'm So Glad," and Bonnie Raitt turning James' "Devil Got My Woman" into a typical Raitt showcase. This is, in effect, a tripartite tribute album, and like most such collections, uneven with occasional outstanding tracks. But nobody cuts the originals.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/9/2003
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 827969049129
  • Catalog Number: 90491

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Vietnam Blues - Cassandra Wilson (4:34)
  2. 2 Down in Mississippi - Eagle-Eye Cherry (4:37)
  3. 3 Hard Times Killing Floor Blues - Lucinda Williams (5:13)
  4. 4 Look Down the Road - Lou Reed (3:43)
  5. 5 I Feel So Good (1:45)
  6. 6 Slow Down - Cassandra Wilson (2:21)
  7. 7 Don't Dog Your Woman - T Bone Burnett (3:45)
  8. 8 Voodoo Music - Los Lobos (3:24)
  9. 9 The Death of J.B. Lenoir - John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers (4:18)
  10. 10 Alabama - J.B. Lenoir (3:13)
  11. 11 God's Word - Shemekia Copeland (4:29)
  12. 12 Illinois Blues - Alvin Youngblood Hart (4:11)
  13. 13 I'm So Glad (3:36)
  14. 14 Special Rider Blues - Special Rider Blues (3:48)
  15. 15 Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground - Marc Ribot (5:27)
  16. 16 Devil Got My Woman - Bonnie Raitt (4:53)
  17. 17 Crow Jane - Skip James (2:59)
  18. 18 Washington D.C. Hospital Center Blues - Garland Jeffreys (4:37)
  19. 19 Soul of a Man - Blind Willie Johnson (3:15)
  20. 20 See That My Grave Is Kept Clean - Lou Reed (5:24)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Skip James Guitar, Vocals
Blind Willie Johnson Guitar, Vocals
J.B. Lenoir Guitar, Vocals
Nick Cave Organ, Vocals
Wee Willie Harris Background Vocals
Garland Jeffreys Guitar, Vocals
John Mayall Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Vocals, Group Member
Bonnie Raitt Guitar, Vocals
Lou Reed Guitar, Vocals
Mick Taylor Guitar, Group Member
Lucinda Williams Guitar, Vocals
Marc Ribot Guitar
Cassandra Wilson Vocals
Keef Hartley Drums, Group Member
John McVie Bass, Group Member
James Blood Ulmer Guitar, Vocals
Calvin "Fuzz" Jones Bass
Beck Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Carla Azar Percussion
David Barnes Harmonica
Steve Berlin Baritone Saxophone, Group Member
Victor Bisetti Percussion, Group Member
T Bone Burnett Guitar, Vocals
Keith Ciancia Marimbas
Mick Harvey Guitar
Jeff Haynes Percussion
Don Heffington Drums
David Hidalgo Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Rip Kant Baritone Saxophone, Group Member
Nick Lane Euphonium
Conrad Lozano Bass, Group Member
Chris Mercer Tenor Saxophone, Group Member
Arthur Neilson Guitar
Phil Parlapiano Accordion
Bo Ramsey Guitar
Mike Rathke Guitar
Vernon Reid Guitar
Cesar Rosas Guitar, Group Member
Fernando Saunders Upright Bass
Conway Savage Piano
Thunder Smith Drums
Joe Sublett Tenor Saxophone
Pete Thomas Drums, Group Member
Kevin Breit Guitar
Alvin Youngblood Hart Guitar, Vocals
Jon Spencer Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Chris Thomas King
Alan Freedman Guitar
Russell Simins Drums, Group Member
Louie Pérez Guitar, Group Member
Judah Bauer Guitar, Group Member
Mike Elizondo Bass
Jackie Vincent Vocals
Doug Pettibone Bass, Vocals
Shemekia Copeland Vocals
Eagle-Eye Cherry Vocals
Keith Brown
Cougar Estrada Percussion, Group Member
Darryl Leonard Tuba
Marvin Sewall Guitar
Taras Prodanius Guitar
Kenneth Kugler Tuba
James Sclavunos Drums
Technical Credits
Big Bill Broonzy Composer
Willie Dixon Composer
Skip James Composer
Blind Lemon Jefferson Composer
Blind Willie Johnson Composer
J.B. Lenoir Composer
John Mayall Composer
Bonnie Raitt Producer
Richard Thompson Composer
Mike Vernon Producer
Steven Berkowitz Producer
Ulrich Felsburg Executive Producer
Nick Launay Producer
Andy McKaie Producer
Joseph M. Palmaccio Mastering
Wim Wenders Director, Producer
Steve Durkee Engineer
Willie Johnson Composer
Vartan Art Direction
Robbie Adams Engineer
Christopher Austopchuk Art Direction
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
Mike Piersante Engineer
Martin Scorsese Liner Notes, Executive Producer
Margaret Bodde Producer
Eagle-Eye Cherry Percussion Programming
Keith Brown Cover Photo
John Harris Engineer
Max Feldman Engineer
Pat Lawrence Executive Producer
Adam Owett Art Direction
Paul "PDA" Allen Executive Producer
Richard Hutton Producer
Ellen Nygaard Icon
Henry Burnett Producer
Jody Patton Executive Producer
Abe Vélez Packaging Manager
Jeff Jones Executive Producer
Lenoir Composer
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