Various Artists; West of Memphis; Voices for Justice (Sony)

 |   |  <1 min read

Lucinda Williams: Joy
Various Artists; West of Memphis; Voices for Justice (Sony)

Celebrity has been debased by reality television, but its power and influence to do good (rather than flog a product or self-serving career) shouldn't be underestimated.

Amy Berg's doco West of Memphis about three US teenagers convicted of triple murder in 93 was made with high-powered support from Sir Peter Jackson (who produced it) and came with the heft of  Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder and Henry Rollins.

This album collects previously unreleased songs (or live versions) by supportive artists – it opens with Rollins reading a death row letter to him from one of the accused – and a moving soundtrack snippet by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

Because a portion of profits go to the West Memphis 3 benefit, it might seem churlish to dismiss Natalie Maines' treatment of Pink Floyd's Mother and some other songs, but Lucinda Williams' excoriating version of Joy is enthralling, Camp Freddy deliver an uplifting Jean Genie, Marilyn Manson offers a menacing You're So Vain, there's understatement on Vedder's Satellite and White Buffalo's House of Pain, Bill Carter's pointed Anything Made of Paper, Depp reading another bleak letter . . .

Not essential, but an album with its heart and profit motive in the right place.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Dodson and Fogg: After the Fall (Wisdom Twins)

Dodson and Fogg: After the Fall (Wisdom Twins)

Some weeks ago Elsewhere invited its readers/listeners and the curious to be interested in a wonderful compilation album of the quietly excellent Dodson and Fogg. It was presented by The... > Read more

The Walkmen: Heaven (Inertia)

The Walkmen: Heaven (Inertia)

If your only previous encounter with New York's Walkmen was their wonderfully ramshackle 2004 album Bows+Arrows (which included the thrilling, student radio single The Rat) or their unasked-for... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Billy Joel: A New York state of mind

Billy Joel: A New York state of mind

Billy and I were introduced while he was having his lunch. He gestured for me to join him and help myself to the generous pile of sandwiches on the table, multi-level affairs held together by long... > Read more

Honolulu, Hawaii: Islamistan in Alohaland

Honolulu, Hawaii: Islamistan in Alohaland

At the end of her sometimes scandalous life, the American heiress and socialite Doris Duke was unlikely to go into that great goodnight without some attendant controversy -- and she didn’t... > Read more