Authentic soul music and superstar musical performances are the consistent theme and backdrop for the side-splitting new comedy, Soul Men, starring entertainment icon Bernie Mac, who passed away on August 9th 2008, and award-winning actor Samuel L. Jackson. Music naturally plays an integral part of Soul Men, particularly poignant with the cameo appearance of music legend Isaac Hayes, whose passing on August 10th was mourned worldwide. In his last movie performance, the popular comedian Mac, alongside Jackson and Grammy winner John Legend, play members of a fictitious group, The Real Deal; when Marcus Hooks (Legend) leaves to pursue a successful solo career, Floyd Henderson (Mac) and Louis Hinds (Jackson) attempt to continue with dismal results. The death of Marcus sparks a reunion between the two former soul singers who haven’t spoken in twenty years; Soul Men follows the hilarious escapades of the two former partners as they work towards an epic comeback at Marcus’ funeral at New York’s legendary Apollo Theater.
More than just providing the musical narrative for the film, the soundtrack for Soul Men stands alone as a solid album that faithfully recreates the legendary sound and flavor associated with Stax Records at the height of its popularity in the late ’60s through the mid-’70s. With a slate of top contemporary artists including John Legend, neo-soul stars Anthony Hamilton, Leela James and Ryan Shaw, as well as cult favorites Sharon Jones with her band The Dap Kings (known for their work with Amy Winehouse) and Me’Shell Ndegeocello, the Soul Men soundtrack focuses on some of the greatest music classics from the Stax catalog. Standout cuts include an updated version of the 1971 Top 5 hit “Never Can Say Goodbye” by the late Isaac Hayes. Meanwhile Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson themselves sing Isaac Hayes’ memorable 1972 smash “Do Your Thing” as well as on an infectious John Legend cover of the James & Bobby Purify 1966 hypnotic classic “I’m Your Puppet.“ And not to be overlooked, The 1968 No. 1 UK pop hit, “Private Number” (originally recorded by William Bell & Judy Clay) is given a solid makeover by Chris Pierce and Leela James, accompanied by Memphis-based band The Bo-Keys (whose line-up includes famed Stax musicians Willie Hall and Charlie Pitts). With all 12 songs from the album featured in the film, Soul Men recreates a golden era in R&B and popular music while providing audiences with a enjoyable experience thanks to Jackson and both Mac and Hayes, whose contributions to the world of entertainment remain immeasurable.