EL DESPERADO.

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The Hillside series courtesy of Lionel Woodman gains momentum with each release, the series has so far been solely dedicated to Italian western scores, save one release which was LOVE BIRDS by Bruno Nicolai. EL DESPERADO (aka-THE DIRTY OUTLAWS) must not be confused with the other Gianni Ferrio western soundtrack, LOS DESPERADOS which was issued on CD some years back on the CINEVOX label-CD MDF 317. they are totally different movies and scores. EL DESPERADO was released in 1967, and all that was issued from the soundtrack was two tracks on a 45 rpm single, one track being a vocal by john Balfour and also a short orchestral track on the B side of the record. The song to be honest is not a great example of a spaghetti song, but there again maybe it is, it’s over the top tongue in cheek and very brash and raw with predictable lyrics, so ok it is probably typical of a spaghetti vocal. Balfour has a distinct sounding voice, nearly as unique as that of fellow vocalist Raoul. Versions of the song are repeated throughout the soundtrack and make an appearance on 5 occasions during its duration. The score by Ferrio, is not a typical example of Italian western scoring, but saying this I personally think that Ferrio, was one of the odd men out within the Italian film music circle, his music not really fitting into the category of classic spaghetti western. At times his style was slightly jazz orientated in its overall sound and flavour, but surprisingly the style and sound that he realised worked extremely well with the movie and also stood up on its own away from the images on screen. EL DESPERADO is certainly not the greatest Italian western score to be composed, but there again it is by no means the worst and has many interesting and original moments along the way. Track 5 for example boasts a powerful electric guitar performance of the central theme, which is supported by swaggering sounding percussion that is effective and attention-grabbing, Ferrio,s skills as an orchestrator are exemplary and on this soundtrack he takes the central theme and arranges, orchestrates and alters it throughout making it sound fresh and vibrant upon each airing. The sound quality for a score this age is excellent, and the CD is packaged and presented with eye arresting art work on the front cover, plus numerous colour stills and posters within the liner. I have to say its not the best spaghetti score, but its one that I am sure will be of much interest to fans of the genre.

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