One of very few memorable things about the 1996 bayou thriller Heaven's Prisoners was its gritty blues and R&B soundtrack, balancing some of the legends of the blues (Junior Wells, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker) with some genuine houserockin' swamp blues from more contemporary bluesmen (C.C. Adcock, the Hoax, Kenny Neal). This balance makes for an album that is not only a primer for those unfamiliar to the genre, but a nice sampler for longtime aficionados looking for the new hot sounds coming from Louisiana. From Buddy Guy's searing rendition of "Red House" to the wildman stomp of C.C. Adcock's "Bo's Bounce (also called "Beaux's Bounce" on the artist's own album), the soundtrack shifts from veteran to greenhorn with surprising continuity. "Twenty Ton Weight" by youthful British blues rockers the Hoax borrows heavily on the influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and their contribution on the album is followed by SRV himself. The inclusion of Aretha Franklin on the soundtrack had the potential to stick out like a sore thumb (being the only true R&B artist and the only woman in this collection), but the brash and bluesy "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" fits in with the same anguish and fire as her album-mates. A thoroughly gritty and enjoyable sampling of 13 of the greatest electric blues tracks of the latter 20th century.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Zac Johnson