Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Soul Men

The first news I heard about the recently released movie Soul Men was when a copy of the soundtrack showed up in my mailbox as a surprise package. I haven't seen it yet (I don't get to the theaters all that often), but from what I've read it seems like a re-make of the Blues Brothers storyline to a certain extent. Members of an old soul band decide to reunite, with the touble being that they don't really like each other anymore. While it's gotten some consistently luke-warm reviews, I'll probably end of renting it at the very least when it comes out on DVD. From the sounds of it though, the soundtrack surpasses the movie.

I'll say straight out that when I looked at the track listing of the soundtrack for the movie, I had some serious doubts about the movie's co-stars Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson singing some seriously classic Soul cuts. Of the twelve songs on the album, three include the pair singing alongside John Legend (on the Spooner Oldham / Don Penn track I'm Your Puppet, first sung by Sam & Dave), Sharon Leal (an actress form the film on the album closer, the Isaac Hayes cut Do Your Thing), as well as just the pair (on Rufus Thomas' Boogie Ain't Nuttin' (But Gettin' Down)). Other artists contributing to the effort include Anthony Hamilton, Meshell Ndegeocello, and the late Isaac Hayes, as well as Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings and the Sugarman 3 representing for Daptone Records.

The album's on the semi-recently reborn Stax label, and as a result features some classic Stax cuts from the 60's and 70's covered by the above mentioned artists as well as two originals: Eddie Floyd's I've Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do) and a remix of Isaac Hayes' Never Can Say Goodbye that feels just as authentic as the original. You'd think they'd be playing with fire covering classics, but the album feels completely true to the period, even, I dare say, the songs by Mac and Jackson. You actually have to listen to be able to pick out the fact that the two actors are singing!

Here's the trailer for the movie:

And here are a couple cuts from the album for you to listen to and enjoy, as well as some older versions below. All together, this soundtrack does a nice job of collecting some new (but very authentic sounding) versions of less than common soul classics.

Visit the movie's official website and the soundtrack's label Stax Records.


Mel & Tim - I'm Your Puppet
: Starting All Over Again

Rufus Thomas - The Memphis Train : The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968

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