Pictured (L-R) at Ardent Studios are drummer Harry Peel, Rhonda Hodges, Teenie Hodges, engineer Jeff Powell, Sharon Jones, Alvin “Youngblood” Hart, Susan Marshall, percussionist Kevin Ricard, and producer G. Marq Roswell.Memphis, TN (December 17, 2007)–Academy Award winner Denzel Washington directs and stars in The Great Debaters, for which he hand-picked the pre-1935 music from 1,000 songs of the period. Recorded largely at Memphis’ world-renowned Ardent Studios with producer G. Marq Roswell, the soundtrack features a wealth of talent performing pre-1935 blues, folk, jazz, and gospel classics.
The Great Debaters-Music From and Recorded for the Motion Picture centers around Grammy Award-winning blues singer/guitarist Alvin “Youngblood” Hart and Brooklyn-based soul sensation Sharon Jones, who are featured both as solo performers and in collaboration with The Carolina Chocolate Drops.
Among the album’s many highlights is a version of the traditional “Step It Up and Go,” performed by Hart and legendary Hi Rhythm Section guitarist Teenie Hodges (Al Green, Ann Peebles). In addition, Hart unites with traditional African-American string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, for a series of songs, including a stunning take on Blind Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” and the Mississippi Sheiks hit, “Blood In My Eyes For You.”
“The Great Debaters” is based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, Wiley inspired students to form the school’s first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship. The film opens in theaters nationwide on Christmas Day.