Some highlights from the films: Dorothy Dandridge hiding under the piano at a Hollywood party with Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner, her colleagues and apparently friends, who are still remembered and revered while Dandridge is all but forgotten. Beyonce belting out her exquisite version of Edda James, tears streaming down her cheeks. Paltrow showing some remarkable vocal talent and unsuspected (by me) raw sexuality as she sings and moves to “Shake That Thing.” June Carter throwing her can of orange soda at Johnny and the drunken boys in in the band as she reads them out for their unprofessional behavior. And the one that I keep coming back to whenever nobody can hear me – Carter (Witherspoon) and Cash (Phoenix) doing a bang up job on “Jackson”:
We got married in a fever
Hotter than a pepper sprout
We been talking about Jackson
Ever since the fire went out
For all the things one could say about these movies and the music that runs through them, only two are important to me right now. The singers portrayed in these films and the actors who play them are shining examples of amazing talent, which, despite so many obstacles and so much misfortune, brought joy to millions of people. And the music they wrote and performed is a fantastic human resource for the rest of us. Get rhythm when you get the blues!