DAR Retro: 7 Classic Soul Soundtracks From The 70's

By @TrueGodImmortal

The 70's were such an interesting time in the world. The movie world was full of interesting films and the blaxploitation scene was buzzing and soul music was at the pinnacle of success and quality. When the two would combine their resources, it would lead to some amazing things. Soul music became the sound of the Blaxploitation scene and as a result, we were treated to so many classic soundtracks in this era. Today, I wanted to go back and show appreciation to 7 of those soundtracks from the 70's that left their mark on the music world. Let's get into it.

*Curtis Mayfield- Superfly (1972)

-The greatest soundtrack of all time? It is possible. Curtis would release this album in 1972, with some of his most notable songs of all time on it. This soundtrack would become an instant hit just like the Blaxploitation film that would become a cult classic. However, while the film was a mild success, the soundtrack would end up with much more success and despite the remake of Superfly this year, this soundtrack is still the first thing you think of, not the two movies. The music here is smooth and soulful, with Curtis bringing some of the most cinematic songs in his catalog with "Freddie's Dead", the title track, "Little Child Running Wild", "Give Me Your Love", and "Pusherman". All in all, this album was a classic soundtrack that might be the best of the best.

*Willie Hutch- The Mack (1973)

-Willie is the king of soundtracks next to Curtis Mayfield and for more recent purposes, Babyface. Those three did something for movie soundtracks that not many artists could. So when I look back at iconic music from soundtracks, I am always inclined to give props to Willie for being such a consistent force in music. This soundtrack, based on the Blaxploitation film of the same name is out of this world in terms of quality. Willie gives us one of the most sampled songs in history with "I Choose You", as well as "Theme Of The Mack", "Slick", and a personal favorite, "Brothers Gonna Work It Out". The Mack is one of the greatest soundtracks of all time and Willie does what he does best here throughout the album's duration.

*Marvin Gaye- Trouble Man (1972)

-So, Marvin Gaye is one of the greatest artists of all time. He has done it all. He released albums such as Let's Get It On, What's Going On, I Want You, and more, but one thing in his catalog that always stood out was Trouble Man, the soundtrack to a lesser appreciated Blaxploitation film that is mostly just remembered for the album nowadays. The lush instrumentation and beautiful production on this soundtrack is some of the best that Marvin delivered and he makes it a point to infuse soul, funk, and jazz together for an extremely cohesive listen. Some of the most vivid songs here include "Life Is A Gamble", "T Stands For Trouble", "Don't Mess With Mister T", and the title track. Marvin delivers with this one.

*Issac Hayes- Shaft (1971)

-There are some themes that are instantly recognizable when you hear them. I would like to think that the Shaft theme is one of them. It might be the most recognizable theme in movie history honestly, and it certainly takes the title for Blaxploitation films of course. This is mostly just jnstrumentals with a few select vocal selections sprinkled in, but regardless, this is a wonderful listen. Each song paints its own picture and once you've seen the movie, you understand where each song fits in. The most infamous song here is of course "Theme From Shaft", while other tracks like "Soulsville", "Do Your Thing", "Be Yourself", and "No Name Bar" are other highlights. This soundtrack was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library Of Congress, making this a special album in history as well as one of the greatest soundtracks.

*James Brown- Black Caesar (1973)

-The Godfather Of Soul could do no wrong if you asked me. He had everything under control musically and would hardly miss on the projects he made. When 1973 rolled around, there was some belief that he was out of his element with taking on this project and the critics seemed to not respect this release for whatever reason during the decade, but in retrospect, this was a different step for James that worked well IMO. Based on the infamous Blaxploitation film of the same name, Black Caesar sees James craft some gems like "Mama's Dead", "The Boss", "Make It Good To Yourself", "Blind Man Can See It", and "Down And Out In New York City". This isn't the best of the choices here, but it is still a classic soundtrack from the era.

*Rose Royce- Car Wash (1976)

-So, this is the most underrated soundtrack on this list by far from the most underrated artists on this list by far. Rose Royce is a legendary group that sometimes gets overlooked and that's criminal. This soundtrack, based on the hit movie that starred Richard Pryor, is an instant classic. Produced by the legendary Norman Whitfield, this is a double album that serves as the debut for Rose Royce as well and the music is stellar. Tracks such as the infamous title track, the extremely smooth "I Wanna Get Next To You", "Born To Love You", and "I'm Going Down" all set the tone for this amazing listen. This is easily a classic soundtrack and the perfect introduction for Rose Royce.

*Willie Hutch- Foxy Brown (1974)

-So, if I had to pick one last soundtrack from the decade, I have to go with another iconic Willie Hutch production. Based on the film that starred the beautiful and sexy Pam Grier, Willie crafts the perfect music that fits the entire landscape of the film. The production is funky and soulful, and his vocals also complement the instruments well. There are nothing but classics on this soundtrack, but if I had to pick my favorites, I would go with "Give Me Some Of That Good Old Love", "Foxy Lady", and "Out There", along with the title track. Willie delivers his second classic soundtrack in back to back years, which is why he is the greatest soundtrack creator of all time IMO.



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