Maestro Francesco De Masi is probably one of the best known Italian film music composers after Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota and I do not say that in a derogatory way at all. De Masi scored numerous movies all of differing genre and was responsible for creating a sound and style that was all of his own, in fact I would go as far as to say that De Masi created his own Spaghetti western sound, which combined both the style and sound of the traditional western score according to Hollywood by the likes of Tiomkin, Newman, Steiner and Friedhofer with the often offbeat, quirky and original sounds of the Italian western, a combination that worked so well and endeared the Maestro to many. The movie MAD DOG was not that successful at the box office in Italy, the main factor to it not attracting audiences was that it was released in August and in Italy that is when everyone closes up and goes on holiday, but even though the receipts for the movie were not good the reviews were and later the movie gained recognition and found a following when it was issued on home video. Directed by Fabrizio De Angelis the film had a very respectable cast in the form of John Ethan Wayne (son of the famous Duke), Henry Silva, Bo Svenson and Hollywood heavyweight Ernest Borgnine. The story was fairly original and contained numerous twists and turns and was packed with action. MAD DOG the score was originally released on a long playing record on the BEAT records label and has become a rather hard to find item. Collectors of Italian film music and fans of De Masi have for a number of years been asking for this to be issued on compact disc so at last they will all now hopefully be happy.
MAD DOG like the Maestros score for LONE WOLF McQUADE (1983) contains a varied soundtrack that is I suppose a fusion of styles that can be described as contemporary and also sounds that are associated with the genre of the Spaghetti western. But this is I think what the director of the MAD DOG was trying to evoke, a western but in modern times and De Masi’s music not only helped the director realize this but was a vital and integral component of the film. Track one, HORSES AND PRARIES is a particularly light and amiable sounding cue, the harmonica playing of Franco e Gemini taking centre stage whilst strings and guitar create a fairly typical western all’a Hollywood sound, the theme is pleasant easy going and tuneful and if one was not aware that this was not a western one would probably get the idea that it was fixed in your head. Track number to, THE POLICE CONNECTION, is a slightly more upbeat and dramatic cue, bras taking the upper hand to create a menacing or tense atmosphere whilst being supported by the use of percussion.
Track number three, again is a dramatic cue, filled with tension, but even though the drama is highlighted by De Masi’s score the composer still manages to maintain a melodic atmosphere within its running time, solo trumpet and also woodwind being utilized t great effect throughout ,punctuated by electric guitar and subdued strings and percussion, with the ever present harmonica of Franco De Gemini adding a touch of melancholy to the proceedings. This is a fine soundtrack and one which every discerning Italian film music collector should have in their collection. Presented well by KRONOS records, who have very swiftly established themselves as a label that releases wonderful film music from all over the world. A stunning front cover, which is taken from the original BEAT LP, notes by Filippo De Masi and great crisp clear stereo sound. This is a limited edition of just 500, Recommended.