The James Baldwin Soundtrack

How does James Baldwin’s writing sound through music? Here is a proposed soundtrack. All of the artists show up in his texts. The playlist is still being developed but consider it complete. The criteria is that all artists must have been explicitly named in one of Baldwin’s novels, essays, or other literary works. The one exception to the rule is Babatunde Olatunji’s best selling album The Drums of Passion (1960), the choice motivated by the fact that the Nigerian artist performed at Baldwin’s funeral. The selection of specific songs is—in the case that only an artist, but not a song, is mentioned—chosen from context. James Baldwin declared in “The Uses of the Blues” (1964) that he knew “nothing about music,” but the James Baldwin Soundtrack indicates quite the contrary.