May 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Ghosts of Mississippi

Columbia CK 67914 [61:28]
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The most important reason to own this disc is to remind yourself that Shaiman doesn’t just do big band arrangements for comedies. Since the early days of Misery and The Addams Family, it’s been easy to pigeonhole the guy as such. But this particular Rob Reiner collaboration bore much more interesting fruit.

This racial politics historical thriller covers the assassination of Medgar Evans and the subsequent court drama that ensued. Shaiman’s response to this material is sensitive without spilling into sugary sweetness. A sense of place and time creeps through every so often with a lick or two of Delta guitar. Principally though this is a well orchestrated portrait of sadness.

What has to be covered in this review however is the ill-conceived sequencing of source songs. Contributions from Tony Bennett ("I Will Live My Life For You"), Muddy Waters ("Mannish Boy"), or B.B. King ("The Thrill Is Gone") really shouldn’t be popping up in the middle of the score. All pace and atmosphere is thrown apart by their intrusiveness.

So long as you’re happy to be skipping tracks or re-programming, this really is worthwhile. The touching piano-led cue "Witnesses For The Prosecution" contrasted with the suspense of "Bomb Scare" are a wonderful reminder that there’s more to the guy than South Park’s "Uncle F***er"!


Paul Tonks


Paul Tonks

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