If you haven’t seen the brilliantly-directed documentary “Soundtrack for a Revolution” by the duo Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman… then you should. It is essentially a skillfully assembled historical retelling of the role music played in the Civil Rights Movement of African American in the United States. Struggling against prejudice and inequality on superficial qualities of race, the African Americans found their strength through the soul power of music.
If you have seen the documentary, most likely, as we all may did, you were touched and inspired by the reinterpretations of the traditional Civil Rights-era freedom songs that was given a new breathe of new life by soul music’s biggest artist today. Unfortunately, despite the ‘power of music’ theme of the documentary, the screening was not followed immediately along with the release of an official soundtrack album. But three years later around February 2012 to be exact, Corey Smyth and talib Kweli’s Blacksmith label finally filled the void with a ten-track release that contains the performances of timeless tracks of civil rights revolution music heard throughout the documentary.
The album begins with Mary Mary, a duo known for their slick contemporary R&B Gospel, with their version of the hymnal “We Shall Not Be Moved” that praises the good fight to benefit for the greater good. Wyclef Jean covers a version of Phil Ochs’ “Here’s To The State of Mississippi” that tells the story of the ugly race war that took place in Mississippi, particularly, directly about the lynching of civil rights worker Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney, and Michael Schwerner, in Neshoba County.
The Roots brings the heart and soul in a song that encourages peaceful protest despite fears of death, “A’int Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”, with a lucent lead vocal work by Black Thought. John Legend takes on the hymne mantra “Woke Up This Morning” that urged the spirit to take each day to fulfill a mission. Angie Stone strips down “Wade in the Water” with a simple drums, keyboards, and bass composition that gives the song a brand new touch of new school soul.
Along with other featuring artists such as Joss Stone, Anthony Hamilton, Soulive, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and Richie Havens, the soundtrack album ends with one of the most powerful and world-known protest song written “We Shall Overcome” featuring all the artists singing together.
From a well-produced documentary that encourages the mind and soul to keep the good fight for civil rights, the soundtrack companion serves as a fuel for this new generation to continue the struggle.
1. We Shall Not Be Moved – Mary Mary
2. Here’s To The State of Mississippi – Wyclef Jean/Jerry Wonder
3. will The Circles Be Unbroken? – Richie Havens
4. Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around – The Roots
5. Woke Up This Morning – John Legend
6. Eyes On The Prize – Joss Stone
7. Wade in the Water – Angie Stone
8. This May Be The Last Time – Anthony Hamilton/Soulive/The Blind Boys of Alabama
9. Oh Freedom – Vivian Green
10. We Shall Overcome – All Artist