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Gary Clark Jr. Revisits 'Blak and Blu' on Big K.R.I.T-Assisted Mixtape

New project also includes remixes and reworkings by Talib Kweli, Bilal, Alice Smith and Robert Glasper

Gary Clark Jr.
Rick Kern/Getty
May 4, 2014 6:57 PM ET

Gary Clark Jr. is offering a new spin on his 2012 album Blak and Blu, revisiting the tracks on a mixtape with help from Big K.R.I.T., Talib Kweli and others.

Gary Clark Jr.: The Chosen One

The blues-rock guitar hero offered the first glimpse of Blak and Blu: The Mixtape a few months ago when he released Big K.R.I.T'.'s remix of the title track. The full mixtape, presented by DJ and producer D-Nice, also features an additional Big K.R.I.T. remix of "When My Train Pulls Up," a remix of "The Life" by jazz pianist and producer Robert Glasper, a reworking of "Bright Lights" featuring Talib Kweli, a version of "Numb" with Bilal and "Please Come Home" with vocals by singer-songwriter Alice Smith. There's also a new track called "Soul."

With Blak and Blu: The Mixtape, Clark is upping the ante on the diverse array of sounds and influences that were already present on Blak and Blu."If it were up to everybody else, I would do Hendrix covers all the time," Clark told Rolling Stone last year as he defended the directions he took on the album. "I saw this comment from somebody online the other day, saying, 'We need you to play more Chicago or Louisiana blues – we want the raw shit.' Well, I'm not from Chicago or from Louisiana. I'm not from that time period. . . . So why am I going to pretend? I'm not some poor kid who grew up in the middle of nothing."

You can download or stream the mixtape here.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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