Marc Shaiman

Sister Act

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The main appeal of this soundtrack is, of course, the r&b songs that appear either in their classic original recordings, such as Fontella Bass's "Rescue Me", Dee Dee Sharp's "Gravy", and Etta James' "Roll With Me Henry", or in renditions by "Deloris & The Sisters," aka Whoopi Goldberg and company, with Andrea Robinson doing some key solos. This is a record that likes to mix its musical metaphors, the introduction to "My Guy (My God)" owing a lot less to Mary Wells than it does to the Shangri-Las, which actually makes it into even more of a novelty performance than it already was; the extended finale of "Shout" is almost worth the price of admission -- this all-girl rendition is the first one that this reviewer has heard that could make it into the same rarified league of frenzied ecstacy achieved by the Isley Brothers. The presence of C&C Music Factory's "Just A Touch Of Love" is a little incongruous here on a stylistic level, though it does no violence to the underlying appeal of the CD, which transcends the allure of the movie, ending on Lady Soul's soaring "If My Sister's In Trouble". The period music is mastered to state-of-the-art clarity and presence, and the modern recordings manage to achieve a mix of smooth professionalism and excitement that makes them utterly enjoyable. They're interspersed with some mostly forgettable instrumental material by music director Marc Shaiman, though he does come up with one piece, "Getting Into The Habit", that's a nice piece of string writing; indeed, on an actual full-length instrumental soundtrack, it might even have been noticed.

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