Almost all the material on the American Gangster soundtrack that does not originate from the early '70s or prior is engineered to at least sound like the early '70s: two excellent Anthony Hamilton songs produced by Bomb Squad innovator Hank Shocklee (both of which feature string arrangements from Willie Mitchell), as well as a handful of instrumentals produced and directed by Shocklee (including a version of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Checkin' Up on My Baby") that cook. The music that was originally released during the early '70s or earlier makes for a mini-compilation of soul and blues classics: the Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There," Bobby Womack's "Across 110th Street," Sam & Dave's "Hold on I'm Comin'," John Lee Hooker's "No Shoes." The lone surprise is Lowell Fulsom's cover of the Beatles' "Why Don't We Do It in the Road." An entirely fitting companion piece to the movie, but certainly not on the endlessly playable level of the Dead Presidents soundtrack discs.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman