Monday 15 May 2023

Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson - The Education of Sonny Carson, OST 1974

I was listening to David Sandborn's Smile track, which is from this 1976 release from him (was also released as a single) and was surprised to see the song, which is quite beautiful, was written by a gentleman called Coleridge-Taylor:

Born New York City on June 14, 1932.

Died of cancer on March 9, 2004.

African American composer, pianist and conductor. Named for the 19th century Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

He made this one extraordinary soul OST, actually I don't know if he made more worth hearing, but it's just filled with great compositions. Here's the theme:

The lovely instrumental Daydreams:

Some nice funky tracks too.

As you might perhaps expect the plot is about a young black dude caught up in drug dealing, gang life, and prison education, etc. etc. Supposedly based on a true story though.

A young African-American teenager and three of his friends are in the process of breaking into a local market to steal food and money. Sonny is subdued by police and soon finds himself, at the age of thirteen, serving a sentence of three months. While incarcerated, Sonny meets Willie, the leader of a local gang called the Lords and is initiated into the gang.

Years later an older Sonny, who is now heavily involved in gang activities is part of the rivalry between The Lords and a fellow gang, the Tomahawks, also known as the Hawks. Sonny is deeply entrenched in the lifestyle of a Lord, which includes frequent brawls with the Hawks. During one of these fights, one of Sonny's friends, a Lord named Li'l Boy, is fatally wounded by a stiletto. Sonny and the rest of the gang arrive at Li'l Boy's wake. As they are leaving, the other gang members notice Sonny who is attempting to purchase a bouquet of flowers from a nearby shop. However, he is unable to afford it.

Sonny then robs a white man, who is carrying a telegram with change of $100 in it. With the money Sonny purchases the flowers and places them on Li'l Boy's casket. For his crime Sonny is arrested and later brutalized by police during interrogation. He is sentenced to between one and three years in prison. While incarcerated Sonny unexpectedly reunites with Willie, who teaches Sonny about the harsh realities of prison life. Sonny's father visits him in prison, letting Sonny know that he is still being supported by his family.

The brutality of the guards and the harshness of prison life quickly become evident to Sonny. In one instance Willie is beaten nearly to death by the guards as Sonny watches. Willie tells Sonny that he can no longer endure such treatment. That night, Willie is forcibly dragged from his cell by the guards. They toss him over the railing, causing him to fall to his death. Sonny, who is deeply affected by his time in prison, serves out the remainder of his time and returns to his family.

While trying to reestablish connections with his former gang members, Sonny learns that the drug trade has claimed the lives of many of his former friends. With a renewed purpose in life, Sonny fights the drug trade under a new alias, Mwlina Lmiri Abubadika. The film ends in the 1970s, long before Abubadika's controversial involvement in New York City politics.



  2. Hey, here's something completely different!
    Totally unknown to me.
    The 1973 LP also seems interesting
    if there was any chance of recovering it.
    Thanks, greetings.

    1. will look for this one too

    2. That's been on my want list forever! The single track in the video is so good, never managed to uncover more.

    3. Hello Simon! do you have a music blog nowadays? I miss so much Never Enough Rhodes. I would like to thank you big time for it!!

    4. hey no, that one's still open, will do another post .. one day ... :)

    5. I know it is still open :) I'm always checking to see if there's some new post there. Hope it does, someday :)
      thanks anyway

  3. @Julianryan you are a rare guy in this world I have been tracking this down for so many years on vinyl and you only just made my day thank you

  4. Amazing! Many Many Thanks Bro

  5. Love this album. Also, he composed/orchestrated the "Shaft" followup OST "Shaft's Big Score" in 1972. He was a great orchestrator, check "Symphony for Shafted Souls" in particular :

  6. Also just want to add that he was a fascinating photographer

  7. One more : there's a soundtrack for the 1969 film "The Learning Tree" that he directed/composed/wrote, based on a book he wrote in 1963 -