Too Late Blues/Raksin

June 4, 2013

too late blues

  I was first introduced to David Raksin with his classic theme to the Otto Preminger film “Laura” which I played in high school band. It was a favorite of many including myself. In 1968 I purchased DOT LP #DLP 25844 which featured music from the film “Will Penny” as well as tracks from the film “Too Late Blues” starring Bobby Darin, a musical talent in another style (“Mack The Knife among many) and was quite taken with the melodies and arrangements. To my knowledge this LP has never been remastered onto a CD. The titles of cues are different such as “Sambalero” becomes “Flugelhorn Samba” on the lp and “Mother Time” is “How Shall We Begin” on the lp. Like Henry Mancini did David extracted the main material from the soundtrack and arranged the orchestration in an easy listening sweet band format. It had a jazzy touch but the dance template arrangements were very evident.   Kritzerland’s latest release is the original soundtrack material as well as many of the jazz outtakes, source music (written by Raksin), long takes, short takes, and alternate takes. Again like Henry Mancini David Raksin liked to write original material for source music such as a radio or jukebox. It results in a smooth continuity of the material as the orchestral style is the same from track to track. His style, especially the underscore, has an edge to it almost instantly recognizable to the Raksin fan. The minor string chords at times remind me of Andre Previn (both worked for 20th Century Fox under Al Newman). “Wither Thou, Ghost” is a good example of his style.   “A Song After Sundown” is the featured melody and is heard with lush strings, sax, and trumpet in “Theme from Too Late Blues.” It is included as an audio clip. Please remember that these clips are fairly low quality to save space on the web site.  It is also heard as vocalize sung by Stella Stevens in “Recording Studio Part 2.” The opening music “Seal One Part 1-Sax Raises Its Ugly Head” as described by Bruce Kimmel in his liner notes carries on the jazz tradition that was established by Alex North, Elmer and Leonard Bernstein, Andre Previn, Johnny Mandel and others. It is improvisational sounding with staccato stabs at the piano with an exchange between the sax and trumpet with no apparent tempo. “Bass Canard” features the bass of Red Mitchell doing a little bow work as well as the fingers with guitar harmony and nicely placed percussion. This is a jazz piece that could easily be extended into a long improve arrangement perhaps adding other instruments. For your information the re-arranged version on Dot uses four basses some of them being slapped. A very nice track that stands with the wonderful Sundown and Too Late Blues themes reinforcing the fact that David Raksin was an influence in Hollywood.   The CD is part mono and part stereo and has a typical sound so something you might hear from the 60’s. I would classify this as a nice little gem something that I’ll return to on a regular basis. Still haven’t seen the movie but I enjoy the music. Like most of Kritzerland releases it is limited to 1000 copies so it is better to act sooner rather than later.

Track listing


Seal One Part 1 – Sax Raises Its Ugly Head (2:11)


Theme from Too Late Blues (A Song After Sundown) (2:45)


The Rim Shot Heard ’Round the World (1:48)


Mother Time (Juke Box) (3:46)


Something Like Noodles/Something Like Bulio/Something Like That (2:39)


Heel and Toe – Get Wildroot Hair Oil, Charlie (5:02)


Bass Canard (short version) (1:41)


Look Inward, Angel (2:01)


Danzon (3:47)


A Song After Sundown (2:15)


Sambalero (2:55)


Recording Studio Part 2 – A Song After Sundown (1:52)


Wither Thou, Ghost! (0:47)


Blues for Tomorrow (4:44)


Ulysses in Swanktown (1:37)


Like Lasagna (1:33)


Ghost Blows Test (1:54)


Benny Splits While Jimmy Rowles (2:09)


Ciudad de Mexico (1:59)


Wife’s Other John (2:09)


Finale – The Rim Shot Heard ’Round the World (1:59) BONUS TRACKS


Paramount Seal and Tie-In (alternate version) (0:16)


Danzon (2:16)


Ciudad de Mexico (2:16)


Some Other Time (4:17)


Benny Splits While Jimmy Rowles (short version) (1:38)


Look Inward, Angel (combo)(2:00)


Look Inward, Angel (combo – long version) (2:18)


The Rim Shot Heard ’Round the World (alternate) (1:22)


Sambalero (2:18)


Bass Canard (long version) (1:58)


Wife’s Other John (extended version)(2:31)   Total Time is 76:29

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