Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I'm sort of looking forward to seeing Cadillac Records. I'm having a hard time with Beyonce being cast as Etta James. I think her Dreamgirls castmate Jennifer Hudson would have been a better choice, but I'll give it a chance. I'm looking forward to seeing the great Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters and Mos Def as Chuck Berry.

The soundtrack is kind of legit sounding, although taken on its own... well, lets say I can't really imagine anyone reaching for it in five years. That's only because the original versions of the Etta, Berry and Muddy songs are so great, what's the point? I'm sure it works for the movie. But I just listened to Beyonce's "At Last" followed by Etta's. I don't like to be negative, but I think Etta's version is all you need. Chuck Berry's songs are perfection, but I have to say it's funny hearing Mos Def sing them. Anyone in a rock band (Mos fronts a band called Black Jack Johnson) should cover a Chuck Berry song at least once. Jeffrey Wright does a decent job with Muddy's songs, but again, those songs are perfect the way they were. The album ends with Nas ' collaboration with his dad Olu Dara, "Bridging The Gap," which links hip-hop and blues. Hopefully this film will do that, and will turn on young kids to Chess: not just Etta, Chuck and Muddy, but also Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Little Walter, and the other great artists on the label. To me, Chess is the most important record label ever. Yes, more important than Sun.

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