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"We were like soul anthropologists, trying to capture these amazing people before they disappeared."
——Co-producer Roger Friedman.
KOCH PREPS STRONG SOUNDTRACK
Miramax Film Companion to Offer New Cuts by Legends Wilson Pickett, Rufus Thomas, Others

Miramax Films will release Only the Strong Survive, a new documentary by famed filmmakers DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, on May 9.

The theatrical release, which hits 10 major markets including NewYork and Los Angeles, stars some of R&B's greatest legends including Sam Moore, Wilson Pickett, Mary Wilson, Jerry Butler, the Chi-Lites, Ann Peebles, Carla Thomas and the late Rufus Thomas.

At the same time, Koch Records will release the film’s soundtrack, with all new live recordings by these artists. But unlike other reunion-style recordings where one band plays behind the singers, these new versions were made by the artists themselves with their own bands .

"We were like soul anthropologists, trying to capture these amazing people before they disappeared," said co-producer Roger Friedman.

For example, Rufus Thomas was filmed in the summer of 1999, two years before he passed away at age 84. The result is historic footage of Rufus and daughter Carla Thomas, the original stars of Stax Records, performing together one last time.

"There was absolutely nothing of them on film before we got down to Memphis," said Friedman. "We were very lucky and very honored."

The track listing for the compilation—which was mixed by the legendary Eddie Kramer from sessions produced by Jon Tiven—includes: Pickett on "Midnight Hour" and "Land of 1000 Dances"; Moore on "Soul Man" and "When Something is Wrong with My Baby"; Peebles on "Breaking Up Somebody's Home"; The Chi-Lites' "Have You Seen Her?"; Isaac Hayes on "Don't Let Go"; and Butler on "Only the Strong Survive" and "For Your Precious Love."

In addition, Mary Wilson performs "Someday We'll Be Together," the last hit by the Supremes. However, Wilson did not sing on the original version. "It was recorded by Diana Ross with backup singers," Friedman said. "This is the first time Mary's put it on record."

The other treats are "Gee Whiz" by Carla Thomas, "Walking the Dog" by Rufus Thomas, and a duet by father and daughter on "Nighttime is the Right Time."

The film and soundtrack get two launches at the end of this month when Gibson Guitars sponsors a Memphis premiere and Coors backs a private show with all the artists at BB King's in New York.

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