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Don't Play Us Cheap

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Album Review

Melvin Van Peebles' Don't Play Us Cheap was originally intended as his follow-up film to Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. Although that film was completed, it could not find a distributor, and Van Peebles ended up staging it on Broadway. This is the original cast recording of that production, the music entirely composed by Van Peebles himself. A much more lighthearted endeavor than Sweet Sweetback's, Don't Play Us Cheap's music centers around gospel, its cast including bass singer George McCurn (who was in the Pilgrim Travelers), Joshie Jo Armstead (an ex-Ikette who wrote soul songs with Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson), and famed actress Esther Rolle. It's good-natured, varied, unexceptional contemporary gospel mixed with Broadway, light jazz, and soul, some of the brief tracks serving mostly to move the performance along, rather than standing up as musical pieces noteworthy on their own merit. Originally a double LP, it's been reissued as one disc of the two-CD release The Melvin Van Peebles Collection, which also includes the film soundtrack of Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song.

Customer Reviews

Unheard Gems!

This sounds great!! Now, where's the soundtrack to "Sweet Sweetback's Badass Song"??


Born: August 21, 1932

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Melvin Van Peebles' status as a pioneering African American filmmaker likely obscures the fact that he also busted barriers and blazed trails as one of the forebears of rap music. If there's anyone who can draw from a large pool of life experiences, it's Van Peebles, a supremely creative individual who can also list Air Force bombardier, cable car driver, postal worker, portrait painter, journalist, novelist, playwright, and actor in his resumé. Not only that, but he has lived in several locations...
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Don't Play Us Cheap, Melvin Van Peebles
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