Original Soundtrack

A Rage in Harlem [Original Soundtrack]

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AllMusic Review by Steven McDonald

Once again, Sire's stalwart period music maven, Andy Paley, has been dragged out of the closet to do things to the soundtrack of a movie set in a 20th-century historical time frame -- in this case, it's the very early '60s, going by the use of James Brown's "Please Please Please," and the movie is Bill Duke's A Rage In Harlem. The album, packed with songs, isn't quite as showy as Paley's outings can get (witness Dick Tracy), but it's a worthy addition to the man's resume.

What you get for your money is a nice selection of old and new cuts that merge very well indeed -- Little Richard's "Elevator Operator" sounds like it came right out of the '50s (it's a 1991 number), for example, and even the cuts featuring Betty Boo are pleasant stuff. The older numbers are good choices, too, even though Chuck Berry's "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" sounds as though it came from an awful master. Also featured are Fats Domino ("Boll Weevil" and "I'm In Love Again"), Elmore James ("Dust My Broom"), Howlin' Wolf ("I Asked For Water"), Bo Diddley, Shirley & Lee, and more. The mix works so well because of Paley's skills as a writer/producer, and also because it effectively combines familiar material with new material that sounds familiar. Clever stuff and well worth checking out. Also quite a bargain for stuffing two dozen songs onto a single compact disc.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Chuck Berry Amazon
2 The Solitaires Amazon
3 Little Richard Amazon
4 Robert & Johnny Amazon
5 Little Walter Amazon
6 Fats Domino Amazon
7 Little Jimmy Scott Amazon
8 Clarence "Frogman" Henry Amazon
9 James Brown Amazon
10 The Willows Amazon
11 Darryl Pandy Amazon
12 Jimmy Reed Amazon
13 Johnnie Ace / Johnny Ace Amazon
14 LaVern Baker Amazon
15 Lloyd Price Amazon
16 Betty Boo Amazon
17 Elmore James Amazon
18 Howlin' Wolf Amazon
19 Fats Domino Amazon
20 Bo Diddley Amazon
21 Betty Boo / Betty Boo & Paul Myers / Paul Myers Amazon
22 Shirley & Lee Amazon
23 Little Jimmy Scott Amazon
24 Darryl Pandy Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick