DONNY HATHAWAY: Come Back Charleston Blue OST (Label: Rhino)

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DONNY HATHAWAY: Come Back Charleston Blue OST

I guess if you’re reading this, then you need no introductory ramble about Donny Hathaway. Equally, I assume you’ll be delighted to know that the great man’s 1972 soundtrack album to the movie ‘Come Back Charleston Blue’ is now available on CD for the first time – and its been remastered and boosted by the inclusion of a couple of previously unreleased tracks. The ‘Charleston Blue’ movie came out at the peak of the blaxploitation era and didn’t do too much box office-wise. Its release coincided with personal problems in Donny’s life and for those, and other reasons, the soundtrack was overlooked…overlook it now at your peril. The album, you see, shows Donny Hathaway as the consummate musical artist with the ability to switch genres and styles with ease but, at the same time, injecting each of those styles with a deep passion that better writers than me would call soul. The album’s flavours go from ragtime and Cotton Club-style jazz through to classy Latin American and onto classic blaxploitation via wonderful Basie pastiches. You also get the occasional vocal interjection, but the two big vocals are the title song – an inspiring duet between Donny and Margie Joseph and, of course, ‘Little Ghetto Boy’ – and it’s two further versions of that song (one alternate cut and one live) that form the two bonuses. Working with Quincy Jones, here Hathaway has crafted one of the 70s best blaxploitation soundtracks. Like I said, miss it at your peril.
(BB) 5/5