Western Medley/Shefter, Dunlap, & Glasser
December 18, 2014
Main Title The Great Jesse James Raid
After a long delay the explanation of which doesn’t belong in this review I received the new releases of MMM one of which was this 2 CD set Western Medley which includes the scores to three films: “The Great Jesse James Raid (1953),” “The Baron of Arizona (1950),” and “Last of the Wild Horses (1948).” The first two I have in my collection because of actors Tom Neal and Vincent Price. They are quite watchable ‘B’ movies. The third film down in sepia tone I can’t comment on either way. This release is somewhat of a departure for producer Schecter who is more known for his science fiction releases but of late has expanded his catalog with other types of genre.
The first CD is devoted to “The Great Jesse James Raid” composed by Bert Shefter (who did a lot of composing with Paul Sawtell). My first listen to it brought these thoughts to mind. This score was so well written that it could have very easily have been done for an ‘A’ picture it is that good. The “Guitar Opening,” more of a fanfare introduction to the “Main Title” sets the mood for the film and hints that it could be a western. The trumpets carry the “Main Title” theme and we are now definitely aware that this is a western. It is a pretty theme that gives a feeling of the expansive west with the sweet strings carrying the melody with aid from the brass section. I’m including an audio clip of the main title. Without warning the mood changes to one of danger, dissonance, and tension as the track quickly ends. The click clack from the percussion gives it even more of a western sound. This is the theme that you’ll hear throughout the score on many tracks being used under a number of different circumstances usually given to us by the brass. In addition there are source type situations that call for a harmonica, accordion, and can can dance music. All in all this was what you’d expect to hear from a western. The 30+ piece orchestra really makes a difference and I’m glad Lippert spent the money.
The second CD offers two films “The Red Baron of Arizona” and “Last of the Wild Horses” composed by Paul Dunlap and Albert Glasser with “The Red Baron of Arizona” being twice as long. Unlike the approach Shefter took Dunlap did offer a fine main title but it wasn’t featured throughout the score. It projects a feeling of a militaristic situation with prominent trumpets and snare drum adding to that feeling. The average cue time for the 37 tracks is less than a minute and you’ll hear gypsy music, religious, the melodramatic, but there is very little in the way of western style music. Some tracks of interest include “Outdoor Party,” “Monastery,” “Reunited,” “Claim,” and “The End.” If you watch the film you’ll get an idea how all of these ideas come together to make a superior soundtrack from the usual ‘B’ movie.
“Last of the Wild Horses” comes from Albert Glasser who is best known for his blaring shrieking dissonant music for science fiction films of the 50’s. Before he became typecast in that genre he wrote regular type music for ‘B’ movies and this is an example of one of them. Dramatic bars with tension filled material at times at a frantic pace is the “Main Title” “Chase” is more of the same style of music very appropriate for the scene. “The Ranch” is more what you think your ear should hear as far as typical cowboy movie stuff is made of. It is complete with the clip clop in the background, in fact if I told a soundtrack enthusiast about it he wouldn’t guess it was Glasser but any of several other composers.
Look at your track listings carefully as the last few tracks are bonus material for “The Baron of Arizona” and not Glasser material at all. While you’re looking at the track listing take a half hour and read the fine liner notes from David Schecter which provide material about the movie, other material about the film and composers in an easy to follow style. David always provides you with some track by track description of the music. He’ll relate the scene to the music which is important if you’ve not seen the picture. This fine CD is available from http://www.mmmrecordings.com or other sources that sell soundtracks. Giddy up to the phone (800) 788-0892.
DISC 1 [41:41]
THE GREAT JESSE JAMES RAID (1953) [41:41]
1 Guitar Opening :21
DISC 2 [53:15]
THE BARON OF ARIZONA (1950) [31:45]
1 Main Title 2:11
LAST OF THE WILD HORSES (1948) [16:58]
32 Main Title 1:14
The Baron of Arizona Bonus Tracks! [4:32]
Total Time is 94:56