Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Book by its Cover: The Insperado of Sam Jackson

ed. note: This is the second in a series of reviews where the musical content of recently released or rereleased albums are critiqued by authors who have never listened to them. Musical content, therefore, will be judged completely on the album art and whatever biographical information the author deems relevant.

Let's face it, Samuel L. Jackson plays the line between icon and iconic caricature pretty damn close. But for many of us who straddle the end of Gen X and the beginning of Gen Y, Jackson will always be Jules, who broke through, literally, with biblical fire and brimstone and a tirade of bad mother fuckers in Pulp Fiction. Between Jackson and Tarantino, not to mention Dirk Diggler, and The Beastie Boys -- nostalgia got a kick in the pants not seen since the Brits found the blues. They showed us you could show props to the past without being sappy or even particularly faithful to the details -- and for that we should be eternally grateful.

This week, there are two CDs being released inspired by the booming bad mofo himself.

The RZA Presents -- Afro Samurai

I must admit, though I'm a big fan of films that RZA has scored in the past, Ghost Dog and both Kill Bills, I've never even heard of Afro Samurai.

Beyond that, I'm not exactly what you'd call a Wu Tang Clan expert -- I do understand, however that they are nothing to fuck with.

So in closing and in conclusion we got a black samurai (a la Ghost Dog), voiced by Sam Jackson who slices and dices to beats by one of the greatest visionaries in hip hop. I must not know about this for a reason.

Rating: 2/5

Various Artists -- Black Snake Moan

Named for a Blind Lemon Jefferson song (not the Bee Girl guys), Black Snake Moan brings together Sam Jackson and Christina Ricci together with the director of Hustle and Flow for a film that appears to be about a crazy old black dude trying to de-slut-i-fy a WT chick through involuntary imprisonment (incidentally, that was the original concept for When Harry Met Sally.)

The soundtrack features old, old blues by Son House, new, old blues from R.L. Burnsides, new, new blues from The Black Keys, something presumably blue from Detroit's own Outrageous Cherry, and what I imagine must be the real attraction of the album, the blues interpreted by none other than Samuel L. Jackson himself. I was thinking, this can't be good, except that Ricci's looking pretty good on the pulp-eque cover... so that's worth like...

Rating: 4/5

- Gorilla

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