Black Girl - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Black Girl – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Clear Black Swirl Vinyl Review)

Social commentary in cinema has been an intricate part of modern culture for each of the past five decades. Something that has been touched in a wide range of genres, by filmmakers including George A. Romero in Horror, Spike Lee in Comedy or Drama, let us never forget the exceptionally talented Ossie Davis in this area. Davis, an award winning theater actor, as well as film/television actor, also excelled within  a wide range of projects in his active years, including those as a filmmaker. Directing Action films including 1970’s Cotton Comes to Harlem and 1973’s Gordon’s War, he also touched on some nerve striking topics in 1972’s Black Girl.

A film that is categorized under the subgenre of Blaxploitation, Black Girl is truthfully a deeply emotional commentary on black women and stereotypes of them during the feminist movement of the 1970s. In short, the film showed more depth than others about black American families at the time, and matched with a strong cast – that included Brock Peters, Claudia McNeil, along with Leslie Uggams – it stands out all these years later. Dramatic, at times chalked with Comedy, one of the most significant features bringing the film’s mood together was indeed the soundtrack.

Looking at this attribute more closely, the soundtrack of Black Girl featured co-composition from Ray Shanklin and Ed Borgas, along with singing from Betty Everett (known for her massive 1963 hit “Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)”) and Rodger Collins (a talented Soul singer), matched with Jazz Musicians Merl Saunders (known for many works, including those with Jerry Garcia) and Sonny Stitt (one of the best saxophonists of his time). A simply stellar cast of accomplished performers, their work on Black Girl amplify each scene, and even make for a delightful listening experience outside the film itself. 

Sadly, it is a relatively obscure and rare soundtrack to get your hands on these days. Yes, it was remastered and released to CD back in 2010, but beyond this, it is highly likely you have ever seen a copy laying around anywhere. Thankfully it has not been forgotten completely though; because in correspondence with Record Store Day on April 20, 2024, Varèse Sarabande are releasing the Black Girl soundtrack to vinyl as part of their Reel Cut soundtrack revival series.

A great opportunity to dig into a smooth sounding collection of Jazz and Soul music, Varèse Sarabande’s release features track mastering taken from the original analog tapes. Making for a buttery sound quality that compliments the performances, Varèse Sarabande also assure the quality with a 180-gram pressing to a beautiful clear with black swirls vinyl. This is matched with the original Fantasy Records artwork that offers an authentic esthetic that you will simply adore. Overall, Black Girl is a lost gem of ‘70s cinema, and this soundtrack is equally worthy of a deeper dive. Soulful Jazz of the highest order, Cryptic Rock gives this special Record Store Day release 5 out of 5 stars.

Black Girl - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Black Girl – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack/ Varèse Sarabande (2024)

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