All The Blues Classics Reimagined On The Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Soundtrack

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom isn't a conventional biopic. Instead of tracing seminal artist Ma Rainey's (Viola Davis) career, the Netflix film walks us through a day in her life, which mostly consists of a recording session with her jug band and exploitative white producer. But in the film's brief timeline, we see several Ma Rainey performances: Early on, she sings for an adoring crowd, and later, she plays a quick, impromptu tune on the piano. We also meet her in the recording studio, where she clashes with ambitious trumpet player Levee (Chadwick Boseman).
Only one of these songs, though — the musician's quick rendition of "Those Dogs of Mine," performed for her girlfriend, Dussie Mae (Taylour Paige) — actually features vocals from Davis. The film's composer, Branford Marsalis, tapped soul singer Maxayn Lewis to replicate Rainey's work. "Marsalis had the wisdom to bring the music to life in the most authentic way possible," Lewis told Digital Spy. "As I was singing, I found myself being pulled into the story."
From 1923 to 1928, Rainey recorded over 100 songs for Paramount Records. If you're new to her repertoire, that might sound daunting — but the songs featured in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom are also a great place to start. Here are all the sultry, smoky classics covered in the film.

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