The Deep/John Barry

October 26, 2010

 

It isn’t often that John Barry would be your second choice for a composer but that is exactly what happened for the Peter Yates directed film The Deep starring Robert Shaw, Nick Nolte, and Jacqueline Bisset. John Williams, the first choice, refused because of his commitment to Star Wars. The Peter Benchley film proved to be a huge box office success as well as the Casablanca (NBLP 7060) LP which wasn’t an OST but a blockbuster vehicle for Donna Summer who sang the hit “Down Deep Inside.” What the LP did offer was a 24+ minute ballet suite arranged by John Barry especially for the album. The LP along with OST on two track mono is included in this 3000 limited edition CD which has already sold out from the distributor Intrada. Don’t let the mono discourage you on this one either as the sound is just fine. This was a release a lot of people were waiting for.

 

Having owned the LP, I was quite taken with the “Return to Sea-2033 A.D.” ballet/suite and wore out that particular track. While it can’t be called classical it did have a feel of a concert piece and I often wondered how a ballet would perform it. A symphony orchestra would definitely want the material reorchestrated but my mind can envision a lovely dance to this score. I had little or no interest in the rest of the LP but welcomed the release of the OST material having wanted to hear much more than the 24 minute suite. The rest of the LP release gives you two vocal versions of Donna Summer as well as a forgettable “Disco Calypso” cue, a forerunner to our rap material of today. I suspect that much of this material is for much younger ears. These are just not tracks I’m interested in, nothing wrong with them at all. Just can’t get into the moaning and groaning of Donna Summer.

 

The OST begins with Barry at his best, a lush romantic arrangement designed to put love in your eyes as only John can do. This theme is repeated throughout the score in various emotional styles and arrangements. I could do without the disco beat version but this was the popular style at the time. Don’t expect any loud brass fanfares, pounding percussion or fff passages from Barry because even the tension situations in the film are well toned down at least underscore wise. His material never takes away from the visual part of the film merely enhances what you’re seeing. “Final Eel Attack” is about as loud as you’ll hear on this CD. John makes extremely effective use of the oboe to achieve a melancholy mood along with the bass strings. To compare his underwater music sequences to what Herrmann did in Beneath the Twelve Mile Reef is quite the contrast. Yet the air bubbles, the ballet motion, and that eerie feeling of something being right around the corner are all there.

 

This is definitely a CD that should be a part of your collection. A quick Google revealed that there are still some distributors who have stock. A wonderful example of the genius of John Barry. Recommended.

 

Track listing:

 

 

Disc/Cassette 1

 

1.       First Discovery (Main Title) (03:55)

2.       More Discovery (03:02)

3.       The Coin / The Vial / The Chase (03:27)

4.       Your Ship Is Dead / Here You’ll Need This / Second Dive / Eel Attack (08:56)

5.       Voo Doo (01:48)

6.       Tower / Helpless (01:30)

7.       Three Key Lock / All Yours (03:43)

8.       Soft Kisses / Dive Preparations (03:01)

9.       Third Dive (05:32)

10.     Trouble (03:03)

11.     Shark Bait (Original Version) / Coffin Discovers / Death Grip (04:34)

12.     Kevin Dead / Goodbye Coffin (03:09)

13.     After Explosion (04:46)

14.     Final Dive / Final Eel Attack / End Credits (07:54)

 

DISC 1 – COMPLETE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SCORE (MONO) – 58:46

 

 

Disc/Cassette 2

 

1.       Return to the Sea – 2033 A.D. (24:01)

A Ballet Based On The Score From The Motion Picture “The Deep”

2.       Theme From “The Deep” (Down, Deep Inside) (04:24)

Performed by Donna Summer

3.       Theme from “The Deep” (04:33)

4.       Disco Calypso / Beckett (07:29)

5.       Theme from “The Deep” (Down, Deep Inside) – A Love Song (04:01)

Performed by Donna Summer

 

DISC 2 – 1977 SOUNDTRACK ALBUM (STEREO) – 44:43

 

 

Total Duration: 01:42:48

 

 

Just in time to scare the trick or treaters for Halloween is a new release from Buy Soundtrax (BSXCD8880) which includes many of the popular horror movies of the 80’s and 90’s. A word of caution!!! This is not original soundtrack material but synthesized arranged material from such artists as Chuck Cirono and Dominik Hauser. This is a great CD to play through your outdoor speakers as the kids come to the door or in the background if you’re having a Halloween party. When I heard the kids reciting a Halloween poem at the beginning of the Carpenter classic I thought this is a total waste and will be a one and done for me. I won’t waste my time even bothering to review it. However when I finished listening to the 70+ minute CD I changed my mind when I considered what else could be done with it other than sitting down and being serious about the recording. In fact it is available as a download through Amazon.com for $7.99 which qualifies you for a $4.00 video movie credit. In other words you get a free movie download and the music for $8.00. The hard copy of the CD is $15.00 plus shipping.

 

A chill always runs up my spine when I hear the classic Morricone The Thing. There is just something that brings out an eerie creepy feeling in me. This is one of the better things that Ennio has done in his long career as a composer. The Shining from Wendy Carlos is another favorite with the synthesized version of “Dies Irae,” another creepy arrangement of a well known horror standard. I also liked the new Twilight Zone from John Van Tongeran, an edgy composition. As well as  the 7+ minute Cirono composition from Transylvania Twist. There is some material such as “True Blood,” “The Return of the Living Dead,” and”The Ghost and Mr Chicken” that will never rock my boat. I’m just from the wrong generation and no matter how hard I try to get with it’ll never happen.

 

Looking at it from the point of view that you can play this at a party or for the kids for $8.00 with a free movie rental is an extremely attractive deal. While you won’t find any classic Universal or Hammer horror tracks you’ll get something the kids will get a kick out of.

 

Track Listing:

1….Halloween/Carpenter (2:35)

2….The Fog/Carpenter (3:17)

3….Christine/Carpenter (4:22)

4….The Thing/Morricone (3:02)

5….Graveyard Shift/Beal (1:24)

6….Creepshow/Harrison (3:32)

7….Dawn of the Dead/Chappell (3:31)

8….Poltergeist/Goldsmith (3:21)

9….A Nightmare on Elm Street/Bernstein (4:02)

10. Tales from the Crypt/Elfman (1:22)

11. The Nightmare before Christmas (1:49)

12. The Nightmare before Christmas (0:53)

13. Psycho II/Goldsmith (3:40)

14. The New Outer Limits (1:01)

15. True Blood/Everett (2:42)

16. True Blood love theme/Barr (3:49)

17. Fright Night/Fiedel (3:28)

18. Suite from Transylvania Twist (7:23)

19. Shock Treatment /O’Brien (2:58)

20. Return of the Living Dead/James & Swain (3:06)

21. The Addams Family/Mizzy (1:49)

22. The Munsters/Marshall (0:43)

23. The Ghost and Mr. Chicken/Mizzy (2:41)

24. Warlock/Goldsmith (3:21)

25. The Shining/Carlos (3:30)

Total Time is 73:21

 

 

Sadismo/Les Baxter

October 21, 2010

 

The ninth new Les Baxter release in the last 18 months Sadismo, a film that this reviewer has never seen or heard of, is a Kritzerland 1000 unit limited edition. Ignore the title because it is very misleading and really doesn’t depict the kind of music one might think about. This is another undiscovered little gem from the pen of Les, who did a lot of work for American International Pictures in the 60’s, had little or no money in his budget, so he developed and crafted the art of producing material that had the sound of a lot larger group and could fit into different types of genre. Sadismo had less than 10 musicians and 60+ minutes of material was recorded in one day, remarkable for what goes on today with million dollar budgets and days of time in the studio. When you listen to some of the flute, harp, percussion, and keyboard material one could make a case that some what you hear is improvisational and this is perhaps true given the time deadlines.

 

The “Main Title,” is performed on the trumpet with a wordless chanting in the background. It is a slow plodding funeral march which evokes doom and gloom and it is repeated throughout the score. “Tokyo After Dark” is a three part cue which offers some nice flute work backed by harp followed by an old time dance number and concludes with a trumpet solo backed by a  tom-tom pounding on the drums which reminded me of Sing Sing Sing. “Agony and Ectasy” is a three part cue that offers some nice flute work, a South American rhythm riff before it ends with an upbeat version of the main theme. “Blues for Sadismos” offers good keyboard work with another flute solo in a blues beat. There are several flute solos throughout and is the featured instrument for this score when there is a melody line offered in the cue. “End Title” begins with harp glissando material, another funeral/death march with the wailing voices in the background, some sci-fi material, and then a long period of silence leading into some Baxter dialogue followed by a nice extended blues piano. It concludes with a nice two minute drum solo that could have been on any number of jazz albums. I mention the long pause because the first listen I thought it was over and turned the player off. It is a versatile score which also offers a music box lullaby, honky tonk piano, an extended harp solo complete with glissandos on “Free Love,” voodoo music and a lot of chanting.

 

If you’re a Baxter fan like this reviewer pick this one up before it becomes sold out material like most of his other releases. There was some stock available at the time of this writing. Jazz and exotica lovers will also find this an attractive package, especially flute fans. It also offers some of the most interesting cue names I’ve seen in a long time. Recommended.

 

Recorded at Ryder Studios, July 28, 1967

Les Baxter (Leader)

Al Ciminelli

Hall P. Daniels

Clare Fischer (woodwinds, piano)

Irving Cottier (drums, percussion)

Kathryn Julye (harp, piano)

Leonard A. Mach (trumpet)

Harry Klee (woodwinds)

Gene P. Estes (percussion)

 

Arrangers:

Les Baxter

Hall P. Daniels

 

 

 


Track listing:

1. Opening Logo (0:16)
2. Main Title (1:32)
3. The Dark Corners of This Sick World (5:38)
4. The Rack, The Thumb Screw, and The Iron Maiden, Oh My (2:11)
5. A Catalog of Cruelty (2:51)
6. The Pain In Spain (0:26)
7. Tokyo (0:24)
8. Tokyo After Dark (2:02)
9. Fertility Rites (2:46)
10. Drugs That Turn Men Into Slaves (2:16)
11. Dog’s World (1:35)
12. Honky-Tonk Music (1:10)
13. Gay Nightclubs for Women Only! (3:25)
14. Free Love (3:09)
15. Honky Tonk Music Part 2 (1:05)
16. Dipped in Paint (2:07)
17. A Little Night Music (1:22)
18. Body Painting (3:39)
19. Lullaby (0:57)
20. Pet Snakes a Go Go (3:47)
21. Erotica Exotica (1:51)
22. Tongs For The Mammaries (1:53)
23. The Agony and the Ecstasy (4:10)
24. Blues for Sadismos (2:26)
25. Secrets of Beauty (0:31)
26. End Title (8:36)

 

Total time is 63:26

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hawaii Five-0/Morton Stevens

October 10, 2010

One could easily make the argument that this was the greatest television theme of all time and a majority of people would agree with you that this 50+ second theme has become a motif for the state of Hawaii. When you hear this theme you instantly think of the islands. We could also argue that it has replaced “Tiny Bubbles” as the national song of the islands. The Ventures, a rock instrumental group quite popular in the surfing era, made it a huge hit reaching the charts which didn’t happen often with instrumental recordings. The album (Capitol ST410) was somewhat of a disappointment with sales and over 40 years have elapsed until FSM has finally released it on CD. I remember the album for its obvious stereo effects left to right especially on the beginning of the main theme thinking at the time this was so stereo. Today I find it a distraction.

The Leonard Freeman production featured Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett, James MacArthur as Danny, Kam Fong as Chin Ho, and Herman Wedemeyer as Duke who fought crime in Honolulu with a flare. The famous line is “Book him Danno, Murder one,” something which immediately identifies the show and McGarrett. Over the years composers Bruce Broughton (Emmy nomination), John Cacavas, Ernest Gold, Pete Rugolo, and Mundel Lowe contributed to the 284 episodes from 1968-1980 but this release is from the original season all composed and conducted by Morton Stevens.

Beside the infectious main theme, which is repeated on the final track “The Chase/Hawaii Five-O, all of the other tracks are varied in style and orchestration and well worth listening to over and over again. “McGarrett’s Theme” is a light jazz with South American rhythm depicting one of the quieter moments of the series, showing the hardnosed cop did have a softer side on rare occasions.  “Front Street” is a hard biting well done jazz track that is similar to something that you’d hear on Mission Impossible or from the film Bullitt.”Blues Trip” is honky tonk organ Jimmy Smith style along with some 60’s rock and roll classic guitar. The two instruments take turns soloing back and forth making this a great track. “Beach Trip,” a track with the psychedelic sound and some strange sounding percussion features three members of the Ventures including Mel Taylor producer of the Capitol album along with Don Randi, John Guerin, and “Red” Rhodes. “The Chase/Hawaii Five-0” is classic chase track which incorporates the Five-O theme and then ends with a repeat of the main theme to conclude the album.

At 30 minutes this is one of the shorter FSM releases, who are known for bonus, alternate, and just about anything that had to do with the particular soundtrack. There is also an absence of stills from the show itself leading me to believe that there was some sort of licensing issue. Notes from veteran writer Jon Burlingame provided interesting information about the use of “Up Tight” music as well as “Call to Danger,” an unsold pilot and information about The Ventures and their involvement with the show. There are no limits on the number of copies, a rarity for our hobby. One of the finest television soundtracks of all time thus it gets my highest recommendation.

FSM Vol. 13 No. 14

Track Listing:    

1.   Hawaii Five-0 (01:32)

2.   Call to Danger (01:48)

3.   McGarrett’s Theme (02:25)

4.   Front Street (02:42)

5.   The Long Wait (02:18)

6.   Blues Trip (03:14)

7.   The Floater (02:23)

8.   Interlude (01:53)

9.   Operation Smash (02:05)

10.   Beach Trip (02:30)

11.   Up Tight (02:05)

12.   The Chase/Hawaii Five-0 (04:36)

Total Duration: 00:29:31