Cadillac Records – Music from the Motion Picture

2009-12-11 11:15
 
Cadillac Records
 

Actor Jeffery Wright is captivating as Chicago blues singer Muddy Waters, turning in A-list performances of "I'm a Man" and "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man". And Mos Def is competent and determined in his renditions of rock 'n roller Chuck Berry's "No Particular Place to be", "Nadine" and "Promised Land". But just why Elvis Presley makes an unwarranted posthumous appearance with his lesser-known rocker "My Babe" is anyone's guess. Wasn't he signed with Sun Records? Anyway, it's one of four original renditions on the album, alongside Little Walter's "Last Night" and Eamonn Walker's "Radio Station". 

If it's one thing this soundtrack is good for, it's finally dispelling the myth that Beyonce has a great voice. "At Last", "Once In A Lifetime" and "I'd rather Go Blind" all leave the Queen B exposed, stretching to match old school sister Etta James's subdued emotions and sometimes even struggling to control her voice. The other Knowles sister, Solange's voice is much better suited to the 60s and 70s rhythm 'n blues style of rocking soul music, so it's unsurprising she fares better here, adding her distinctive style to "6 o'clock Blues".

So apart from a few good tracks here and there, the album is more gimmick than good? Maybe, but at least rapper Nas steals the show, joining his jazz musician dad Oru Dara on the noteworthy "Bridging The Gap" which simultaneously brings the listener back into the 21st century. 
Beyonce, Mos Def, Nas and more lend their A-list appeal to this soundtrack collection of old, new and borrowed rhythm and blues songs from the 60s and 70s. It's fun, but hardly significant.

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