September 24, 2010
The new releases, (8) of them counting this one from Les Baxter in the last year and a half keep coming out, and this reviewer is happy that he is getting the recognition he deserves. This latest release is a long line of films that Les did for American International with this one having the honor of not being done by Roger Corman. This new release of 1200 copies includes the original release on Sidewalk/Mike Curb ST5919 of 24 minutes plus 17 additional minutes of unreleased material.
Having been relegated to the MGM Midnight Movie series it is coupled with the Peter Fonda/Nancy Sinatra ‘B’ blockbuster Wild Angels, another Corman/AIP picture. Filmed in Arizona the film stars Jeremy Slate, Jocelyn Lane, and Adam Roarke and is a western flavor with motorcycles. Leather mini-skirt woman running around in the desert; draw your own conclusions. Usually I make an effort to watch a film before I review the music but in this case I’m making an exception.
The Baxter score somewhat amazes me. My first listen was a surprise given the small size of the orchestra and I came away with the feeling that this score could have been in any number of different types of films. Given a little more of a budget from American International for some strings, reeds, and larger brass section and you could have a pretty cool sounding orchestral theme that a pops orchestra would play. As it is written for a septet, it really has a unique flavor given the budget, Baxter really did a nice job. He blends the organ, percussion, brass, harmonica and guitar well. Knowing the plot I might have expected a western sound mixed with biker music and rock and roll. It is not really any of the three. The closest you get to western is the harmonica solo! The “Wheels” theme or main title is also featured on “Hogin’ Machine.” Chuck Cowan with a typical sounding voice of the time is featured on “Hells Belles,” “Goin’, Home,” and “Travelin’ Man.” “Take It From Me,” Track 6 and 14 is material that could be included in the top 40 instrumental side of recordings with the brass performing the melody and the piano offering the harmony in the background. “Scooby Doo” is another catchy theme which could be part of an instrumental album. is also repeated on the bonus track “Gang Rides Through the Hills.” “Cathy Reminisces” is as close as you’ll get to any sort of western flavor offering a harmonica tune you might hear sitting around a campfire.
The recording is from a mono mix soundtrack which was remastered at Outland by James Nelson. Liner notes are nicely done by Randall Larson, who provides more information than you’ll ever want to know about the film. In addition he gives a track by track musical analysis of the material.
Baxter fans have another to add to their growing collection of material. The rest of the readers might want to have a listen and enjoy something slightly unique. If you want a bit of controversy with this release it is do you spell it Scooby or Scoobee??
CD# is La-La Land LLLCD1149
1. Wheels (Main Titles) (02:49)
2. Hell’s Belles (01:52)
3. Soul Groove (02:12)
4. Dan’s Theme (02:28)
5. Hot Wind (01:50)
6. Take It from Me (02:02)
7. Chain Fight (02:25)
8. Travelin’ Man (01:43)
9. Dan Again (01:29)
10. Hogin’ Machine (01:34)
11. Scoobee Doo (01:56)
12. Goin’ Home (00:53)
13. Travelin’ Man (01:57)
14. Take It From Me (Source)/Gila Monster/ Cathy Left Behind/Mongoose Gets Beans (08:05)
15. Gang Rides through the Hills/ Tosses Bike Over Bank/Snake Or Rope (03:30)
16. Cathy Reminisces/ Cathy Reminisces Part 2 (01:57)
17. End Credits (01:57)
Tracks 13-17 – Bonus Tracks
Total Duration: 00:40:39