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Review: Legend, The Roots highlight 'Revolution'

The Associated Press, Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 10:41am (PST)

Various artists, "Soundtrack for a Revolution" (Entertainment One)

The 2009 documentary film "Soundtrack for a Revolution" provided a glimpse of how music played an influential role as blacks fought for equality during the turbulent times of the civil rights movement.

Freedom songs from "We Shall Overcome" to "Wade in the Water" helped fuel the labor movement and became anthems in the black church. Songs like these are included on the 10-song soundtrack, finally released after a long wait over rights and clearances for the music, and are performed by a host of contemporary artists, including John Legend, The Roots and Mary Mary.

All of the songs have been heard before and performed on infinite occasions, but none of them lose their original soulful luster with these new renditions.

The soundtrack flows smoothly from beginning to the end, opening up with Mary Mary's version of "We Shall Not Be Moved." Wyclef Jean takes to his guitar and infuses his mild-mannered island rhythm on the thought-provoking track, "Here's to the State of Mississippi."

British soul singer Joss Stone's soaring voice on "Eyes on the Prize" provides an inspiring idea of perseverance. On the piano-driven "Oh Freedom," Vivian Green sings with pride and passion that tugs at the heart.

In all, each performer plays a part in capturing the essence of what the freedom songs stood for during the civil rights movement — hardship, redemption and justice.

CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: Legend, Stone, Mary Mary, Anthony Hamilton and The Blind Boys of Alabama collaborate on the jazzy approach on "We Shall Overcome."

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Follow Jonathan Landrum Jr. on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mrlandrum31

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