Soundtrack for a Revolution, a 2009 documentary about the African-American civil rights movement that naturally incorporates new looks at the era's conscious/protest music, had no soundtrack. Corey Smyth and Talib Kweli's Blacksmith label filled the void three years later with this, a ten-track release that contains some of the performances heard throughout the film. Among the early highlights are Wyclef Jean's version of Phil Ochs' "Here's to the State of Mississippi" and Mary Mary's "We Shall Not Be Moved," the latter likely a major delight for those who love the singers' voices but not the slick contemporary gospel/R&B of their studio albums. On an urgent "This May Be the Last Time," Anthony Hamilton and the Blind Boys of Alabama are backed by Soulive, whose Neal Evans adds weight on organ without detracting from the voices. Angie Stone's "Wade in the Water" carries an assured swing like that of the Staple Singers' studio version, but it's stripped down in comparison, supported only by drums, keyboards, and bass (no background vocalists). The Roots' take on "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around" is especially potent, with Black Thought delivering a stellar (sung!) lead vocal, joined by handclaps and background vocals from TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone. This makes for a nice companion to the Light in the Attic label's Listen, Whitey! The Sounds of Black Power 1967-1974, also released in February 2012, as well as John Legend and the Roots' Wake Up!, a 2010 set of covers.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman