VARIOUS: ‘American Gangster: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’ (Label: Def Jam)

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VARIOUS: 'American Gangster: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack'

There are some fine vintage soul cuts on this soundtrack CD to movie director Ridley Scott’s epic recent crime flick, ‘American Gangster,’ starring Denzil Washington as ’70s Harlem drug lord, Frank Lucas. Most soul buffs will have, of course, Bobby Womack’s brilliantly cinematic ‘Across 110th Street’ in their collections along with Sam & Dave’s ‘Hold On I’m Comin” and The Staple Singers’ ‘I’ll Take You There’ – however, this CD is worth listening to for two brand new tracks by the doyen of neo Southern Soul, Anthony Hamilton. ‘Do You Feel Me’ with its sanctified organ, Steve Cropper-esque guitar licks and greasy horns is a stunning big ballad that sounds like it was cut at Stax in the ’70s. That’s remarkably surprising given that it was penned by MOR tunesmith, Diane Warren. Not quite as impressive is ‘Stone Cold,’ a slice of frenzied, organic, retro-funk influenced by James Brown. The remainder of the album is fleshed out by blues cuts from Lowell Fulson and John Lee Hooker plus some militant hip-hop from Public Enemy and funky soundtrack cues from Hank Shocklee. That may not be enough to convince most soul fans to risk a purchase – perhaps the best option, then, is to acquire Hamilton’s ‘Do You Feel Me’ in CD single format or as a download.
(CW) 3/5