on August 24, 2007
This isn't exactly a review of the Dead Man Walking Soundtrack -- you can find that under one of the other listings for that CD. Rather, it's a Eddie Vedder/PJ-centric review of this particular Legacy Edition version of the CD. The Legacy Edition of the Dead Man Walking Soundtrack is a bit different in that it includes Eddie Vedder's "Dead Man," which was originally left off the original soundtrack (and the movie) because it conflicted with Bruce Springsteen's eponymous tune. Not exactly a reason to go out and buy this CD, since "Dead Man" can already be found on PJ's "Lost Dogs" album. Likewise, while the Vedder duets with undisputed master of Quawali, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, "Face of Love" and "Long Road" are pretty awesome, the complete extended versions are on the Dead Man Walking Score (not soundtrack), along with some other tunes featuring Nusrat, so you should buy that instead.
The reason to buy this Legacy Edition package is that it includes a DVD of the "Not in Our Name" charity concert denouncing capital punishment at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in 1998. Politics aside, the concert includes Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett (accompanied by cellist John Hagen), Ani DiFranco and then a very cool set by Eddie Vedder with Jeff Ament, John Densmore (from the Doors), David Robbins (Tim Robbins' brother, who did the movie score), along with Nusrat's nephew, Rahat Nusret Fateh Ali Khan and Dildar Hussain (on tabla). Nusrat died in early 1998, so couldn't make it here, and the acoustic mini-set by Vedder and Co. is something of a tribute concert. First, Vedder plays the Cat Stevens tune, "Trouble," a nice plaintive tune with Ed on vocals and acoustic guitar. Pretty cool. Then he does "Dead Man" with Jeff (who's on acoustic bass) -- this is such a great song and apparently one of PJ's favorites. Finally they sit down with the rest of the players for "Long Road" and "Face of Love." Everybody's pretty chill, sitting cross-legged out on a rug spread onstage, and the group tunes have great interplay between Rahat and Eddie. Eddie's even doing the Nusrat parts near the end. Of course, Rahat is no Nusrat, so it's not quite as good as the score, but it's live and pretty inspired. Parts of the mini-set used to be available on YouTube, but no more -- someone from Sony must have gotten upset -- so here's where to go for the music and the footage.
Ed clearly revered Nusrat and was influenced by his singing (e.g., "Arc" on 'Riot Act'), and it's a pity they didn't have the chance to collaborate more. But this gives you some idea of the potential, and this 30 minutes of music was well worth the (used) price I paid for the soundtrack.