Black Snake Moan Soundtrack
Samuel L. Jackson in “Black Snake Moan”
Chad Grischow over at IGN reviews the Black Snake Moan soundtrck. Would you pay to hear Samuel L. Jackson read the phone book? Read on
If you have ever thought of paying to hear Samuel L. Jackson read the phone book, this soundtrack is for you. No, it is not as dry as hearing Sam The Man read the Yellow Pages, but it never really achieves the cool factor you expect when you pair Samuel L. Jackson and the blues. To be fair, when you combine the two, it sets expectations to lofty heights nearly impossible to reach.
The soundtrack to Craig Brewer’s (Hustle & Flow) film, about an ex-blues musician’s attempts to reform a sex-addicted woman he finds lying unconscious in the street, drags listeners into a Deep South juke joint with its thick atmosphere and dank tone. As the film’s star, Jackson gets four juicy tracks and an all-star backing band (including Big Jack Johnson and Kenny Brown, R.L. Burnside’s rhythm guitarist), with inconsistent results. Though it may make sense in the realm of the film, Jackson’s take on R.L. Burnside’s “Just Like A Bird Without A Feather” is a plodding sleeper that feels like someone just learning the blues; not the deep cutting track of smoldering vengeance you expect from the star of Pulp Fiction.
Hard-stomping blues “Alice Mae” is a ravenous rocker that has the band nearly drowning out Jackson’s playful vocals, as you can almost hear the grin on his face. Reminiscent of Bruce Willis’ attempt at rock stardom, you want to cheer for Jackson, but his gleeful tone fails to deliver the fire the hazardous lyrics deserve. Thankfully, Jackson is all business on his other two cuts. On his cover of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “Black Snake Moan” Jackson delivers a deep-baritone monologue against rich blues guitar and rolling storm effects. The growing storm and Jackson’s growling spoken-word vocals gives it an edge missing from the two previously mentioned cuts.
Recorded live, “Stack-O-Lee” is the killer track that delivers exactly what any Samuel L. Jackson fan will expect when picking this up. Jackson settles down and finds his groove with menacing vocals and equally sinister lyrics, “You know that bartender gave me a dirty look and a dirty glass / I said, ‘Hey motherf*cker, do you know who I am?’”. The whooping and hollering crowd when he shouts, “I put nine of my bullets in his motherf*cking chest”, will leave listeners longing for an actual tour from Jackson.
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In Theaters: March 2nd, 2007
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