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Album Review

Music From The Motion Picture Black Snake Moan [coll] – [New West Records]

carsonstreet   1/12/2022   12-inch, Soundtrack

This soundtrack to the film written and directed by Craig Brewer is steeped in the Southern blues. The big surprise here is how well actor Samuel L. Jackson holds his own as a blues singer. There are tracks from Son House and R.L. Burnside so Jackson had some tough competition. He sounds like a throwback to the classic Delta bluesmen on “Just Like a Bird Without a Feather,” does a convincing take on the Blind Lemon Jefferson title track and rocks the juke joint on “Alice Mae” and “Stack-O-Lee.” Also on this record is the Black Keys’ “When the Lights Go Out”, Bobby Rush’s classic “Chicken Heads” and Precious Bryant’s “Morning Train”.” The Son House tracks run 12 and 22 seconds so if your “Current” tank is a little low – top it off.

Black Snake Moan is a dark modern tale of love, betrayal, sex, and salvation set in the Deep South and stars Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci and Justin Timberlake. The film is the 2nd feature by writer-director Craig Brewer, whose 1st film Hustle & Flow won an Academy Award for Best Song and the 2005 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award. Black Snake Moan was filmed in Memphis, Tennessee and surrounding environs.

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 66% based on 157 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Uninhibited performances, skillful direction, and a killer blues soundtrack elevate Black Snake Moan beyond its outlandish premise.” On the television program Ebert & Roeper, filmmaker Kevin Smith described the film as “the best of the year thus far”. Smith praised Ricci and Jackson, saying this was “Ricci’s best performance and Jackson’s best performance since Pulp Fiction”. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone declared the film: “the year’s Worst Soft-Core Sex” on his list of the Worst Movies of 2007. When I first saw the album cover I thought “oh, boy – turkey” – maybe, maybe not. The music is great and Justin Timberlake doesn’t sing.  

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