September 15, 2012
Henry Mancini released an album on RCA called Our Man in Hollywood, part of a series of recordings by RCA artists, and it was on this LP that we heard “Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation.” Most of us realize that Mancini made separate studio recordings of his soundtracks to make them easier to listen to and as a result many of his recordings became top sellers for RCA. His orchestra consisted of some of the finest sideman that Hollywood had to offer. Being a trombone player I quickly learned all of the Ted Nash solos and could play most of them after a lot of practice. The album also introduced “Days of Wine and Roses,” another Oscar winner as well as the love theme from another Stewart film “The Glenn Miller Story,” called Too Little Time. Perhaps Mancini felt at the time that Hobbs, basically a monothematic soundtrack with lots of source material wasn’t worthy of its own release. It was an album that I quickly wore out as it also had Wishing Star (Waxman) and a wonderful new arrangement of Dreamsville, a favorite of mine originally introduced on the “Peter Gunn” platter. Several years ago Intrada released a 1500 limited edition recording of the complete soundtrack and it quickly sold out making this CD a must have if you let the first one slip through the cracks.
A big band prelude nicely leads into the “main title” which is featured on an electric guitar with harmony from the percussion and lush material from the strings. A memorable melody it is featured on several of the tracks in the score. Rock and roll is the key word for “Cream Puff” which features a nice sax solo as well as a guitar solo with good percussion rounding out a nice departure from the main theme. After a repeat of the main theme “Up His Nose” switches to a variation of Prelude and Fugue on the organ. This is a bit of a departure from the typical sound of a comedy score.”Early to Rise” is right back to the main theme and then the track switches to a dream like sequence with harp glissando carrying the track. A very romantic version, included as an audio clip, 23 – Roger and Peggy is featured in “Roger and Perry.” Henry pulled out all of the stops on this arrangement of the “main title.” A bubble gum slow dance with the sax leading and guitars featured in harmony makes you want to hear Frankie Avalon singing. Mancini features the harpsichord and swirling strings in yet another style of the “main title” which also uses muted brass as a harmonic line to make this a favorite track of mine. If you hear some wow and flutter on “Rudders and Sails” there is nothing wrong with your stereo system. You were warned in the liner notes that there was a glitch or two and this is one of them. As you might guess the “Cast and End Title” is the “main title” with a nice Hollywood ending coda.
Some of the best tracks are to be found in the bonus tracks with a nice selection of Mancini rock and roll with a combo. It does remind me of his Combo album which one should seek out if you don’t have it in your collection. There is a nice version of the “main title” twist style in “Hobbs’ Bigtime Swing” that it not to be missed. The last track is sung by Fabian and Peters and I can only recommend if your in to this kind of thing.
While certainly not his best score it is still a good one because all Mancini material is worth having. This score is coupled with Dear Brigitte which deserves its own review. In fact I’m already thinking about it.
September 13, 2012
Part of Silva’s success has been their domination of the compilation. If a compilation can be made give Silva time and they will come up with one for you. I’m now anxiously awaiting the ultimate compilation which will be the very best of all of their compilation CD’s they’ve created over the last 20 years!
Set for release on September 18th this release in the US will be a digital only one available through the regular sources. It is available as a two CD set in Europe and perhaps down the road it will be available in the US. The thirty three tracks pretty much cover most of the super heroes and your favorite theme will be included among them. You’ll hear Spiderman, Superman, Thor, Batman, Supergirl, X-Men, Rocketeer, Wonder Woman, Hulk, and many others.
What you’ll hear are standard pop orchestra arrangements generic in sound and style but perfect for having on in the background while you’re relaxing. It won’t challenge your woofers and tweeters with wide dynamic range but the selections are adequately played. Highlights for me include the original Batman theme for television written by Neal Hefti. Only Hefti could take a single word lyric and make it work. You certainly can’t forget the words! The John Williams Superman heroic theme with trombones receiving a lot of attention (my instrument) nicely transitions into the “We Can Fly” love theme soft and delicate. It always brings a tear to my eye. While the movie was hardly a favorite of mine I never grow tired of listening to the Goldsmith theme for The Shadow one of his better efforts in my opinion. The opening sounds Wagner like and it transitions into the main theme with three other motifs also being performed at the same time. This is a true orchestral work! Does it stand up to the original? Nope but it’s a pleasant listen. While I’ve never been a James Horner fan; the exception is the theme for The Rocketeer which tells his story very well. That opening with the delicate piano with harmony and background from the flute always gets my attention for one of the more beautiful openings to a super hero theme.
I can’t recommend this one to the hardcore collector but I can certainly recommend it to the casual listener or a person like myself who enjoys compilations.
1. The Dark Knight Rises – Rise
2. The Dark Knight – The Watchful Guardian
3. Batman Begins – Molossus
4. Batman and Robin – Main Titles & Fanfare
5. Batman Returns – End Titles
6. Batman – Main Theme
7. Batman TV Theme
8. Avengers Assemble – The Avengers
9. Thor – Thor Kills the Destroyer
10. Captain America: The First Avenger – March
11. Iron Man – Driving With the Top Down
12. The Incredible Hulk TV Theme
13. Superman – Main Theme
14. Superman – Love Theme
15. Supergirl – Main Title & Argo City
16. Smallville – Save Me
17. The Amazing Spider-Man – Main Title – Young Peter
18. Spider-Man – Main Theme
19. Spider-Man – TV Theme
20. X-Men: First Class – Magneto
21. X2: X-Men United – X-Men United Suite
22. Kick-Ass – Strobe/Flying Home
23. Hancock – The Moon and the Superhero
24. Transformers – Autobots
25. Fantastic Four – Main Titles
26. Judge Dredd – Suite
27. The Shadow – Main Theme
28. The Rocketeer – To the Rescue/End Credits
29. Heroes-Intro/Claires Theme/Peters Theme/Mohinder’s Theme
30. Hercules – The Legendary Journeys TV Theme
31. Xena: The Warrior Princess TV Theme
32. Danger Mouse TV Theme
Performed by City of Prague Philharmonic and London Music Works
Digital Album SILED1391
Release Date is September 18th
33. Wonder Woman TV Theme
Performed by City Of Prague Philharmonic and London Music Works
Digital Album: SILED1391
Release date: September 18, 2012
September 11, 2012
Lately there seems to be a new trend in scores which is including the rejected soundtrack, in this case the Ernest Gold material as well as the Patrick Williams. I like the idea very much and I hope that it continues. In this case we have material that sounds like it came from the 80’s with Patrick Williams offering a funky Shaft style with electronic guitar and the brass riffs including a tuba he is so famous for if you’re familiar with his sound. Ernest Gold approach was using traditional march material with a sound that reminded you of the 50’s.
Produced by Spielberg and Milius, “Used Cars (1980),” is a comedy starring Kurt Russell, Jack Weston, Gerrit Graham, Frank McRae, and Deborah Harmon. It was filmed in Mesa Arizona at a real car lot (Darner Chrysler-Plymouth). Shelved by Universal Pictures it was picked up by Frank Price at Columbia and released.
The catchy main title first appears as a traditional march which brings back memories of my marching band days at the University of Minnesota. The theme is repeated in “Fishing” which I’ve included as a clip, fishing this time as a traditional sound with great harmony from the brass section. It also appears in a shorter march version, a twangy guitar and honky tonk piano, and a vocal sung by Bobby Bare with clever lyrics, a country western style that normally turns me off but this one I really like. It is something that I’ve already put on a compilation CD. Also included is a David Rose composition “Disco Stripper,” cleverly arranged by Patrick Williams.
The Ernest Gold material begins with “Stars and Stripes Forever,” a very familiar march I’ve played 100’s of times. Also included are two tracks featuring “Hail to the Chief.” My favorite melody from Gold appears in “Let’s Move Out” and really sounds completely out of place in a comedy. Now if it was the main theme to a Randolph Scott western with majestic photography I could easily believe it. It also appears in the “Used Car” end credits. It is highly recommended and I’ve included it as an audio clip. let’s move out Keep in mind that the clips are very low quality and don’t do justice to the much higher quality sound you’ll get on the CD.
While I can’t recommend the movie I can heartily endorse both the Williams and Gold takes on the film. They are such contrasting styles it is hard to imagine that both for this film. It is two very talented composers that offer 75 minutes of listening.
CD# is LLCD 1205
1. USED CARS March (long) (outtake) (02:43)
2. Fishing (outtake) (00:50)
3. Mickey Arrives (00:35)
4. Disco Stripper (03:02)
David Rose, arranged by Patrick Williams
5. Western Time (04:22)
6. Test Pattern (01:39)
7. The Fight (03:43)
8. Flame out (00:34)
9. Move ‘Em Out / A Problem / Meeting Up (04:00)
10. More Speed (02:59)
11. The Final Spurt (03:40)
12. Big Fly (00:28)
13. USED CARS March (Short) (01:37)
14. Used Cars (Instrumental) (outtake) (02:43)
15. Used Cars (Vocal) (02:30)
Written by Patrick Williams and Norman Gimbel
Performed by Bobby Bare
16. The Stars And Stripes Forever (01:36)
John Philip Sousa, arranged by Ernest Gold
17. Mickey Arrives (outtake) (00:53)
18. Eulogy (00:53)
19. The Stars And Stripes March (02:33)
John Philip Sousa, arranged by Ernest Gold
20. Circus Source (00:34)
21. Disco Intro (outtake) (00:19)
22. Hail To The Chief (01:30)
Adapted & arranged by Ernest Gold
23. Western Bar Source (03:19)
24. Mexican Guitar (01:39)
25. Test Pattern (outtake) (01:39)
26. The Fight (outtake) (04:11)
27. Flame Out (outtake) (00:33)
28. Hail To The Chief (00:36)
Adapted & arranged by Ernest Gold
29. Tension / Fast Strings / Snares (outtake) (01:39)
30. Let’s Move Out! / More Speed (outtake) (04:35)
31. M104 (outtake) (03:24)
32. M111 (outtake) (03:45)
33. Car Counting / The Big Fly (outtake) (01:18)
34. USED CARS End Credits (outtake) (03:33)
Tracks 1-15 – Original score by PATRICK WILLIAMS
Tracks 16-34 – Rejected score by ERNEST GOLD
Total Duration: 01:13:54
September 7, 2012
Having had the opportunity to speak to Carl Davis recently, one of the things we discussed was the new release of the music for the revived series “Upstairs Down Stairs” (Carl Davis CDC018) now available through the Naxos Corporation in a digital file or CD. Having not had the opportunity to view the series (6 parts), it turned out to be a pleasant surprise but then why would I expect any less from Carl Davis. I owned his previous seventeen releases and none of them disappointed me.
What you can look forward to hearing is a wide variation of different types of dance, easy listening, and traditional music pre World War II that dominated the desires of the upper class in Britain. There are sweet band numbers, blues, swing, blues, South American, and marches. While the arrangements seem simple on the surface they are upon a closer critical listening very well thought out with excellent percussion, counterpoint, and well placed solos from the reeds and brass.
Highlights from the CD include the original theme composed by Alexander Faris. The producers felt that this was an important piece that was needed to tie in the old with the new. It is a very distinct theme that one will not easily forget. “My Perfect Sister” (aren’t they all?) is arranged in a light swing sweet band style with a muted trumpet carrying the melody. “1 65 Eaton Place” is a small string ensemble offering the melody with nice harmony from the harp (very delicate) and a snare drum giving a feeling of melody presence. “Lady Persephone (Percie) is a violin which offers the melody with quiet support from a clarinet and harp which is merely a prelude to a Latin flavored dance. “Fish and Chips” is yet another style. This time a German style polka is featured with the lead being provided by a muted trumpet. “Masters & Servant Hall” offers an upbeat swing number with the tom-tom Gene Krupa drums providing a strong rhythm. “Hung-over” continues the melody from “Masters and Servants Ball” which is a prelude to the main thrust of the track, a blues style from the piano and muted trumpet. The versatility continues in “Sweatshop” which offers us a lively Greek dance complete with a raucous beat. “A Foggy Night” really seems out of place as what I hear is classic Jobim but then I haven’t seen the visual. “Grubby” is my favorite track which is a St. Louis Blues style with swinging sax, wailing muted trumpets, bluesy well played piano, and foot tapping percussion. I’ve included an audio clip of this one to give you an idea of what you’re in store for.Grubby Keep in mind that the clips are very low quality. The sound of the CD is crystal clear with much defined sound from the instruments. Two traditional British vocals “O Ladybird” and “I Vow to Thee My Country” contribute source material. “Exit Time” is another easy laid back jazz contribution with a nice solo from the reed section, trumpet, and the always present piano.
If you’re anything like me you’ll like this latest Davis offering for a couple of reasons.
- Each track is special and unique. This is not a CD where you’ll hear the main title in 17 of the 32 tracks.
- You really feel like the ensemble digs what they’re playing and are having fun doing it.
This CD comes with my highest recommendation and it is one that I’ll return to on a regular basis.
1…. Upstairs Downstairs Theme (1:04)
2…. My Perfect Sister (1:33)
3…. 165 Eaton Place (3:03)
4…. Lady Persephone (Percie) (2:51)
5…. The Chauffeur and the Parlour Maid (Beryl and Spargo) (3:24)
6…. A Prelude to a Fight (2:33)
7…. Fish and Chips (0:54)
8…. The Butler and the Cook (Mr.P. and Mrs. T.)(4:22)
9…. Romancing the Butler (3:07)
10… Masters and Servants Ball (1:44)
12…Lady Agnes (1:49)
13…Nylon Stockings (1:00)
14…An American in London (1:17)
15…We Rumba’d til Dawn (1:22)
17…O Ladybird (1:07)
18…Johnny the Footman (1:12)
20…Health and Beauty March
21… A Foggy Night (0:59)
23…Girls Friendly Society (2:04)
24…Agnes’ Breakdown (1:23)
25…Lord Hallam (1:43)
26…Going to War (1:21)
27…Belgravia Nights (1:22)
29…Blues For Benny (2:16)
30…The Golden Blaze (Blanche and Portia)
31… Exit Time (2:42)
32…The Kindertransport (I Vow to Thee My Country)(3:40)
Running Time is 64:06
September 6, 2012
Growing up two of the people I looked up to were Nelson Riddle and Ted Nash. Nash had a sound I could never duplicate on my trombone. I studied every note of Riddle arrangements instead of reading comic books to the point I knew the orchestrations as well as Riddle. It was his arrangements that made his sound. It didn’t matter whether it was a vocal from Sinatra or Fitzgerald or an instrumental his sound was always there. This Ella Fitzgerald album not only features Riddle but Billy May, Barney Kessel, and Russell Garcia. In keeping with the format of these cassette transfer reviews I’ve chosen the track “Laura,” a fine representation of the sound of Riddle, the voice of Fitzgerald, and an all star band offering a superb arrangement of the Raksin composition.
I’ve managed to collect well over 4000 cassettes. I’m glad I ignored the advice to throw them away. I’m sure I’ll find many more gems that I’ll be able to enjoy on the Encore transfer unit. Laura Ella Fitzgerald Nelson Riddle
September 3, 2012
I recently had the opportunity to purchase a stand alone unit that converts cassette tapes to digital files (Encore #5500) at 256kps which translates into good quality radio sound. One of the first things I discovered was a really nice arrangement of “Street Scene” composed by Alfred Newman. Harry James combined jazz with a classical sound that made this one really special. Harry James Street Scene
Click on the Street Scene to hear the entire track also known as the Sentimental Rhapsody, a name I’d never heard being associated with the Newman classic before. The cassette also includes the following selections: The Mole, Autumn Serenade, Sleepy Time Gal, Crazy Rhythm, Melancholy Rhapsody, September Song, Carnival, Strictly Instrumental, Blue Again, Don Cha Go Away Mad, These Foolish Things, and Somebody Loves Me.
This LP goes back to 1955 and is a mono recording. I was expecting a sweet band style and was presently surprised at the quality of the recording, band and arrangements. As is sometimes the case with cassettes there was no band member listings or arrangement credit.