Malcolm X

LP stack white soundtracks – Version 2
Kudos to Bruce for this excellent banner!


Welcome to the massive group effort Film [Soundtrack] Festival! From November 1-14, we’re covering all sorts of movie soundtracks. There’ll surely be lots for everybody! Huge thanks to Bruce at THE VINYL CONNECTION for this fantastic group post idea! COMMUNITY!

 Check out THIS PAGE for all the entries.


malcolm-xIt’s been ages since I saw this film, but I remember Denzel doing a great job. This soundtrack, though, I play often enough, in the mix. It’s really freaking fantastic. The songs are very well-chosen.

Well, except that the first song doesn’t really fit at all. Arrested Development’s Revolution is first, and it’s a fine enough track if you like what they do. But it’s atop a CD full of old jazz and soul, really the only current act on the CD. I get it was probably used for/in the film (I don’t recall) but it doesn’t fit. Ah well.

Big Joe Turner’s Roll ‘Em Pete has the honour of butting up against that Arrested Development track. Talk about shifting without a clutch! It’s a fantastic track, of course. Goddamn I love this kind of music, I surely do! I could listen to this all day. Lionel Hampton’s Flying Home is next, its sweet big band sound buoyed by wild xylophone soloing… The Ink Spots are next, with the classic My Prayer, truly lovely love song.

Billie Holiday’s Big Stuff is next. You know it’s brilliant. Up next it’s Ersine Hawkins’ Don’t Cry Baby, a sweet, sweet slow blues with fabulous muted trumpet in the background. Louis Jordan gives us Beans And Cornbread, which tells an odd tale of a fight between the two on the corner, set to great blues jazz revival music. He starts rhyming off all that food and it makes me hungry… Haha fun times! Then it’s Ella Fitzgerald’s Azure, so we all know how beautiful this is!

John Coltrane gives us Alabama*, which I just love. Only one person sounded like that on a sax, and this is him! It’s a slow, haunting melody that’s right up front and personal. What control! Gorgeous. We all know Ray Charles’ That Lucky Old Sun Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day, oh my goodness. What glory!

Next it’s Arabesque Cookie by Duke Ellington, which attacks with a shrill flute right off the bat, before bringing on that great eastern rhythm. The band nails it. And then, at the midpoint, it jumps easily into a straight-up swing tune, and then back to that sweet eastern slinky mode. What a mood! What a showstopper! But wait, there’s more! Junior Walker And The All Stars bring on the classic shotgun, which you know well. What a hot groove. And finally, as if we weren’t already in love, the mighty Aretha Franklin steps up and takes us out of here with Someday We’ll All Be Free. Holy shit! It starts off with everyone’s best dream, Aretha leading a gospel choir in a church and then, eventually, it morphs into a sweet soul groove with those amazing vocals all along… oh man…

In Sum:

It’s a conceit and a fallacy to believe that this music comes from a simpler time. Times are never simple (look at what this movie is about)! But these tunes are just so damn pleasing, it’s easy to want to have it on all the time. I mean, just look at this long list of beauty. Get this. Get this now.


* From Wiki: “”Alabama” is a composition written by John Coltrane that appears on his album Live at Birdland (1963). It was written in response to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing on September 15, 1963, an attack by the Ku Klux Klan in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four girls.

12 thoughts on “Malcolm X

  1. 1537 says:

    With you 100% on Roll ’em Pete and I love most Spike Lee, I was always hugely ambivalent about the film’s commodification of Malcolm X though – Read the Goddamn book folks, don’t just buy a baseball cap with an ‘X’ on it!


  2. J. says:

    Completely agree with you, Aaron. Aside from the inclusion of the Arrested Development track, this is a really great selection of tracks that flow beautifully. A case of ripping to iTunes (of media player of choice) and deleting a track. Bam! Just like that it’s perfect…


    1. keepsmealive says:

      I never thought of removing the track from my iTunes! I still wouldn’t do it – I’m a completist. I can just skip it when it comes on. 🙂 But yeah, what a fantastic mix. I wanna watch the movie again, see how much of this music is included in the actual film…


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