CD Review of Be Kind Rewind Soundtrack by Various Artists
Recommended if you like
Booker T & the MGs, Billy Preston, Graham Central Station, Ramsey Lewis
Label
Lakeshore
Various Artists:
Be Kind Rewind Soundtrack

Reviewed by Mojo Flucke, PhD

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P
lain and simple, this is a rock keyboardist's record. If you're into classic piano and organ blues rock, with a little jazz infusion at times, this soundtrack will give you some fascinating material to digest. If you're a rocking guitar man and have used the word "axe" to describe an electric six-stringed instrument and were hoping this soundtrack would be reminiscent of Be Kind Rewind star Jack Black's AC/DC tribute act from School of Rock, move along; there's nothing to see (or hear) here.

The album features mostly Jean-Michel Bernard, a working musician of French descent who cooks up songs to go with the movie, a farce in which Mos Def and costar Black remake movies in their neighborhood in order to fool customers into thinking they’re renting the real thing after Black's character accidentally erases them. The movie looks pretty funny from the trailers – but whether it is or not doesn't matter for the purposes of this discussion. The point is, Bernard gets to make all kinds of interestingly varied music, busting out his organ, piano, and Rhodes, and goes to town. From blues classics ("Lulu's Back in Town," performed with an assist from the Passaic [NJ] High School Marching Band) to '70s smooth-jazz filler ("Train Station") to funky cocktail jazz ("Robot Karate”), this former Ray Charles keyboard accompanist puts on a clinic for keyboard players and in the process makes  some entertaining tuneage. Mos Def (let's not forget he started out a rapper and singer) joins Bernard to sing the standards "I Ain't Got Nobody" and "Ain't Misbehavin'," which are more than passable.

Then comes the real good stuff: Booker T. Jones freaks, starved for new material, will go positively mental to hear fresh cuts in which the monolithic organist gets together with two of the MGs (Duck Dunn and Steve Cropper) and jams out to a little "I Ain't Got Nobody" and their own version of "Lulu's Back in Town." For those MGs fans who never got the CD reissue of the 1971 Melting Pot album, there's "Sunny Monday" included on this disc as well. Also, another keyboard deity, the late great Billy Preston (the same dude who slammed down the driving Rhodes groove on the Beatles' "Get Back") makes an appearance here with the 1970s hit "Nothing from Nothing." Even old Fats Waller ("Your Feet's Too Big") is included on the record. Really, the only people who truly will get excited about this whole record will be piano and organ players, and for the rest of you...your ears will glaze over in short order. Fans of the movie, who can't get enough of its accouterments, will probably dig this record too, as it will remind them of their favorite scenes.

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