Now, with Bomar's soundtrack to Brewer's latest, Dolemite Is My Name, that blessing has come to fruition. As Bomar recently told Variety, "I would say any Memphis influence that’s in the music is through the influence of the film scores that Isaac Hayes did. Isaac...was a very big influence and mentor to Craig and I both. I feel like that blessing has continued into this project, because he would have really loved this. We use three of the musicians on the score who were in his group who played on the scores to Shaft, Tough Guys and Truck Turner: Willie Hall (on drums), Lester Snell (on keys) and Michael Toles (on guitar)."
- Courtesy Memphis Music Hall of Fame
- Scott Bomar & Don Bryant
Needless to say, this is one funky, soulful soundtrack, a veritable encyclopedia of 70s motifs and riffs. Wah-wah guitar, clavinet, organ, and punchy horns abound, all grounded by the rock-solid rhythms of Bomar and drummer Willie Hall. Having said that, many imaginative flourishes abound. "Pur Your Weight On It," for example, employs some period-authentic synthesizer and unorthodox, high register bass notes to disarming effect. The campy "Ballad of a Boy and Girl," sung by Eddie Murphy and Da'Vine Joy Randolph, makes for perhaps the most powerful use of kazoo in any major motion picture soundtrack. And, as with so many classic Isaac Hayes tracks, the heavy funk is decorated with some gorgeous orchestral embellishments.
Beyond Isaac Hayes, amidst all the pitch-perfect funkisms, there are some unexpected influences on this music. As Brewer told Variety, "I told Scott Bomar that I wanted him to treat the score for Dolemite Is My Name as if it were a little bit of like a superhero movie. I wanted there to be a “Rudy theme,” just like there would be a Luke Skywalker or Captain America theme."
- Scott Bomar
Aside from the two tracks sung by Robinson, the track by Bobby Rush perfectly captures the gritty roadhouse blues vibe, fired by his uncanny delivery, and Blind Mississippi Morris, accompanied by Jason Freeman, brings things down to earth as the album's closer. All in all, it's a grand survey of the sounds that make this place burn with musical passions, expertly curated and assembled by one of the city's greatest contemporary producers.
Hear Scott Bomar speak with author Robert Gordon about this and other music he's created, tonight at the Memphis Music Listening Party, Thursday, January 30, 7 pm, at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. Free.