All-Star Record 'It Ain't My Fault' Aims to Assist the Gulf Coast


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Playing to ease the pain: An all-star gathering including rapper Mos Def, Lenny Kravitz, Trombone Shorty, Tim Robbins and members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band recently recorded “It Ain't My Fault," a single that is being released to aid the Gulf Coast oil disaster.

The high-level finger-pointing in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil catastrophe has inadvertently inspired some goodwill at the grass-roots level.

A benefit single and video called “It Ain't My Fault," recorded by Lenny Kravitz, Mos Def, Trombone Shorty, actor/activist Tim Robbins and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, goes on sale today exclusively on iTunes. Proceeds (audio and video downloads are 99 cents) will go to the Gulf Relief Foundation (gulfaid.org), which will direct the aid to families in need and to wetlands preservation, says producer Stephen Rehage of Rehage Entertainment.

The genesis of the project “was one of those spontaneous, crazy things that can happen only in New Orleans," says Rehage, whose company also produces the annual Voodoo Experience and Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.

After watching oil executives blame each other for the spill during congressional hearings, rapper Mos Def was inspired to write words for a potential song. Rehage, who was recruiting the rapper for a Gulf Coast benefit concert, learned of the lyrics and put him in touch with Preservation Hall creative director Ben Jaffe, who was toying with the idea of a benefit single based upon the 1964 R&B tune It Ain't My Fault, by Wardell Quezergue and Joseph “Smokey" Johnson (who worked as Fats Domino's drummer for two decades).

“Mos had never heard the song," says Rehage, “and Jaffe brought it to him and he made the lyrics fit with the beat." (A sample: “Oil and water don't mix/Petrolio don't go good with no fish/Aw, it ain't my fault.")

Other musicians were recruited, and the song was recorded during an all-night session at New Orleans' Preservation Hall two nights before the May 16 Gulf Aid: Concert for the Coast, which raised $301,000.

Troy “Trombone Shorty" Andrews, who was at a nearby club with Robbins, “was walking down the street and popped his head in the club, and Lenny was in a studio doing some recording and came down unrehearsed," Rehage says. “It was a pretty spectacular night, ending at 6:30 in the morning.

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