December 1, 2008

scorpio_vol691Recently the 1973 spy film Scorpio made a brief comeback and was in the headlines in the soundtrack-collecting circle. Released as a volume limited to 1500 copies it sold out like ice cream on 110-degree day. The careful wording of the 1500 copies is done so that Intrada the label could release again in the future. We all learned about the careful wording including myself. I incorrectly thought that if a release were limited to xxxx amount of copies once they were sold no more would be pressed. Nope, incorrect thinking. For that matter anyone who wants to pay the fees to the AFM and get a license could also put out the release. As of this writing in November of 2008 I saw copies for $50.00, 2 1/2 times the initial price of $20.00. While I don’t think it is worth $50.00 unless this is pocket change to you, I do feel it is an excellent effort from Jerry Fielding and worth a review.

The Michael “Death Wish” Winner directed film from United Artists starred Burt Lancaster (Cross) and Alain Delon (Scorpio) in an appropriate CIA assignation plot for the early 70’s. In this case it was the CIA wanting to do in one of their own Cross and hires the independent Scorpio to get the job done.

Jerry Fielding, a three time Oscar nominee for The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, and The Outlaw Josie Wales had his share of issues being black listed during the 50’s, having pled the Fifth Amendment during the McCarthy hearing’s. It wasn’t until 1962 that Preminger gave him the opportunity to score Advise and Consent and get back into the mainstream of Hollywood. By the time of Scorpio Jerry was working at a frantic pace and not too long after suffered a series of heart attacks (smoker) and his life ended in 1980.

Scorpio is one of a few scores from Fielding that is somewhat accessible to the average listener. While much of his work is thin and sparse in texture with a definite jazz feel to it, Scorpio has real moments of lush strings, strong melodies, and rich orchestral passages. The ” Main Title” with its accordion and full strings brings an instant European flavor to it. It does eventually end up in a more recognizable Fielding style with flute, clarinet, and harpsichord. “Target Zim” likewise is a short underscore dissonant passage. “In the Aircraft” is again a departure featuring a melody and some extended jazzy improvisational organ and flute work, sort of a Jimmy Smith/Herbie Mann with strings album. “Susan’s Apartment” is as fine a two-step slow dance number as you’ll ever hear with love eye strings, soft horn chords, and delicate piano. I can see myself going up 40 floors in an elevator listening to it! “The Big Wheel” is a potpourri of different styles offering tension, hurdy-gurdy, and an orchestral version of “Un Dia de Julio.” For a three+ minute cue it certainly has a lot of variety to offer. “Cocktails at Heck’s House”, is music to have a few drinks to, featuring some nicely played piano solo material. “Zharkov Bites His Tail” features some concerto style piano scales in true Rachmaninoff style less any hint of melody. . This release is a lot more complete than the Bay Cities release of Fielding material in the 90’s making it far more attractive if your primary focus is on Scorpio. While this is not a top 100 score of all time it is ranked in the top 500 and its versatility and accessibility make it a winner.

1….Main Title (2:28)
2….Target Zim (00:47)
3….In The Aircraft (03:02)
4….Reflections of Cathood (02:18)
5….C.I.A. Tail (04:50)
6….Susan’s Apartment (02:25)
7….I Have to Go Deep (01:51)
8….Two Ways to Walk (01:57)
9….I Picked You Up (01:18)
10…The Big Wheel (03:35)
11…”Un Dia de Julio” (01:40)
12…The Imperial Vaults (03:39)
13…In the Greenhouse (04:05)
14…Zharkov Wags His Tail (03:21)
15…Into the Underground (07:01)
16…Cocktail’s at Heck’s House (03:11)
17…The Thief (00:35)
18…Zharkov Bites His Tail (02:31)
19…Nothing But Enemies (01:11)
20…Boiler Room (02:07)
21…Miff Dives (01:00)
22…All Fall Down (04:30)
Total Time is 00:59.22

Golden Scores Rating is ****


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