Monday, December 8, 2008

Drive My Caddy!

Every year around this time, movie studios release their heavy hitters; the movies that they believe will be Oscar contenders. This past weekend, I took a trip to my local multiplex and saw Sony Pictures first Oscar offering of the season called Cadillac Records. And for all of you wondering - No, I did not cry. It is the story of how the music label Chess Records dramatically began and ended. And it is packed with blues and rock-n-roll hits in between. I find it incredibly interesting how much today's music is so heavily influenced by the music of yesterday. I can probably name most of the recording artists that have sampled music from "back in the day" but that list would be much too long. But just to name a few that immediately come to mind...

Nas sampled Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy" for "Bridging the Gap", a collaboration with his jazz musician father.

The Beach Boys "borrowed" the music from Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" for their chart topping classic "Surfin' USA".

Kanye West sampled Etta James' version of "My Funny Valentine" for his masterpiece "Addiction".

"Little Red Rooster" by Howlin Wolf' has been covered by Sam Cooke, The Rolling Stones, and The Doors among others.

A lot of what we hear today are not only samples but have the underlying sounds of the old music. In this way, music is a lot like fashion. Every style eventually makes a comeback!

I thought the movie was excellent! In my opinion, all the actors did a great job. Who knew Etta James was such a spunky, opinionated, and tortured songstress?! And Muddy Waters was such a mellow playboy. But I have to admit that my favorite perfomance was given by Columbus Short who portrayed Little Walter. He blew me away. His depiction is worth the price of admission. Now hurry on down to the cinema so we can compare notes on who will be picking up that golden statuette in a few months. Enjoy. . .

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