First Love/Barry

February 1, 2013


first love

FIRST LOVE was a film that came and left the theater and completely escaped my attention. Reading the Jeff Bond liner notes while having my first listen I quickly discovered that this John Barry soundtrack was a rejected one for the most part with only eight minutes being used and no credit being given Barry by the composer’s choice. Sibelius (Karelia Suite), Cat Stevens, and Paul Williams were substituted and the Barry material which had already been recorded found its way to the storage room at Paramount.

The younger generation soap opera starred William Katt (Carrie), Susan Dey (Partridge Family) and was directed by Joan Darling, something Paramount took advantage of as she was the only female directing a motion picture at the time.

“The Main Title” is a very lush Barry theme, a signature in the first few bars that there was only one composer who could have done this. It uses a synthesizer that simulates the sound of a gull or dolphin to give it a sound of serenity and peacefulness.  It switches styles part way through and an electric guitar and trumpet are featured before it settles back into the romantic interlude. The revised version, a bonus track, eliminates the guitar and trumpet but features a harpsichord as harmony layered against the main theme. I certainly prefer this version as the synthesizer is gone and while I like the theme I found it somewhat annoying. “Elgin’s Room” and “The Hallway” are upbeat, uplifting, jazzy, featuring the saxophone of Gene Cipriano, who is allowed to wail off some improvisational riffs. It gives the impression of music from a sleazy nightclub where an exotic lady is pole dancing. It is a commonplace sound from the 70’s. “The Restaurant” is a classical acoustical guitar underscore you would hear in an upscale eating place. The melody is subtle but the playing is excellent as his chords nicely meld into the performance and when it ends the music has put you into a relaxed mood. The same serenity comes across with “The Piano Source” which sounds like an exercise in how to play a sonata. “The Big Love Scene (original version” is my choice between the two offerings on this CD. The harpsichord is more prominent and compliments the flute as the main theme is played out on a seven minute cue. This cue alone is worth the price of the CD to John Barry fans as it fills a hole in their collection that they didn’t know they had. The concluding cue is from a string quartet from Mozart and ends the nearly one hour CD.

As explained in the liner notes there was a bit of engineering done to achieve a truer sounding stereo mix to this Dolby mono recording. Jeff Bond, a good liner note writer, explains what had to be done. Being a John Barry enthusiast I found this CD to be a satisfying experience. Remember that limited edition means it will sell out at some point so act sooner rather than later.

Track listing


Main Title (04:03)


Elgin’s Room (03:55)


No Coffee / Enjoy the Book (01:14)


Dante’s Theme (01:15)


The Big Love Scene (07:26)


The First Time (01:37)


The Hallway (05:03)


Two on a Bike (00:44)


Soccer Game (02:38)


Caroline’s Note (01:36)


Model House (01:06)


Shelley Waits (02:16)


Wait Till It Happens / I’m Shelley (02:02)


Interchange / Night Intruder (01:20)


The Train (01:55)


End Credits (01:13) Total Time: 39:22



Main Title (revised) (03:59)


The Big Love Scene (original version) (07:35)


End Credits (original version) (00:31)


The Restaurant (03:07)


Piano Source (01:14)


String Quintet No. 5 in D Major, K. 593 (Mozart) (01:55)Total Time: 18:18

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