The Commitments is a 1991 movie musical based on a 1987 novel of the same name by Roddy Doyle. Why am I talking about a movie? Well this movie has a lot of great cover songs in it, apart from the fact it’s a very entertaining movie, I share a love of this soundtrack with my wife’s brother. I happen to be visiting my brother in law and his lovely wife at their beautiful home on Vancouver Island, so I thought it appropriate to blog about a mutual interest in music.
Briefly, the movie is set on the north side of Dublin and is about a guy named Jimmy who wants to start a soul band inspired by African American musicians from the 60’s and 70’s. He gathers up a crew and they practice in quite interesting fashions and locales, eventually getting a paying gig. There is more to the story, but the end result is some great music and too many songs to cover in one blog, so I will give you some of my favorites. The soundtrack features songs that are for the most part shown at various parts in the movie.
“Try A LittleTenderness” from the movie, Andrew Strong again.
As you can hear from the previous clip, it’s not exactly what we would think of as ‘soul’ music. So where did this song get its soul from? Well the “Queen of Soul” herself, Aretha Franklin recorded this song in 1962 and the 27th version. This, I think was the bridge that led to Otis Redding’s version (and the inspiration for the one in the movie) from 1966.
Written by the versatile and talented Don Covay (James Donald Randolph) and originally released by Aretha Franklin in 1967. Oh my, hard to get a better song than this! Covered over 60 times.
Written by the powerhouse production team from MoTown, Holland-Dozier-Holland and backed by the Funk Brothers. Released in 1965, the original from Martha and the Vandellas.
There have been covers by Arnold McCuller used in the movie “The Warriors” and by Boga used in “Baby Driver”, Michael McDonald even took a crack at it. Let’s just stick with the original.
Cover song trivia: Who sang the original version of “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic” with Henry Hall & His Orchestra – (1932)? One- Val Rosing, just mentioned above as the original vocalist on “Try A Little Tenderness”.
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