The soundtrack to Dan Klores' four-hour documentary Black Magic, which tells the story of the civil rights movement in the 1960s through the eyes of basketball players and coaches who attended black colleges and universities during the era, this tight little 13-song set also makes for one hell of a party record with vintage soul, R&B, and funk sides like Arthur Conley's the-title-says-it-all "Sweet Soul Music," Ray Charles' barnstorming "Mess Around," and a trio of classic gritty, greasy instrumentals by Booker T. & the MG's ("Boot-Leg"), the Mar-Keys ("Morning After"), and the Bar-Kays ("Soul Finger"). The complete soundtrack to the film covers a bit more ground, with some 50 songs ranging from jazz and jump blues to soul, R&B, and adrenaline-pumping funk, but this succinct sampler is keyed to keep one's feet moving, and it does so with a glorious, joyful verve. The film, which was co-produced by Klores and basketball great Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, details the racism and struggles these players had to endure, but as is often the case, the soulful music of the times strove to rise above it all, full of hope and promise, brimming with life, love, and motion. It's a powerful set, one that will make you want to clear away the tables and chairs and cut loose, the perfect complement to a strong, no-stopping-me drive to the rim.
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett