Spaghetti western encyclopedia vol:2

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The second volume of this unique collection launches with the title song from the violent spaghetti western DJANGO (1966=CAM), music is by Luis Enriquez Baclov with the English language vocal performance courtesy of Roberto Fia, this is probably one of, if not the most popular of spaghetti western songs and also an important one within the genre. Baclov utilising an attention grabbing electric guitar rift to kick start proceedings, the composition is made up of choir and an upbeat percussive pop orientated backing which acts as an effective support to the vocalising and the haunting lyrics, DJANGO, HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN ALONE, DJANGO HAVE YOU NEVER LOVED AGAIN, DJANGO YOU MUST FACE ANOTHER DAY, DJANGO NOW YOUR LOVE HAS GONE AWAY, etc. Personally I am of the opinion that the Italian language version of the song is superior, as it seems to flow better. The song plays over the films main credits, where we see Franco Nero as Django dragging a coffin through mud. This opening track is followed by an instrumental version of the theme, the vocal parts being performed by piano/harpsichord. Tracks 3 and 4 are by composer Gianni Ferrio, who contributed an immense amount of music to the genre of the Italian western but remained relatively unknown outside of Italy. Ferrio’s style and sound was somewhat different from what we now call classic spaghetti western, as he used percussive elements of the orchestra to wonderful atmospheric effect and at times combined these with large set piece expansive and grandiose thematic properties, which arguably rivalled the western music of composers such as Alfred NewmanElmer Bernstein and Dimitri Toimkin. These were performed predominately by strings and brass with dramatic use of woodwind supported by timpani and at times embellished by the inclusion of choir, the composer also experimented with jazz like motifs within many of his western scores, an approach that surprisingly worked well. E DIVIENNE IL PIU SPIETATO BANDITO DEL SUD (1967-CAM), is a prime example of Ferrio’s talent to employ the more grandiose type of scoring, and also showcases the composers obvious talent in the blending of a neo classical approach with the more modern near pop sound, i.e.; electric guitar, harmonica, trumpet and chorale work. The tracks included here BILLY track 3 and UN RAGAZZO SOLO, track 4 were taken from a single 45rpm release, and one can hear slight background noise on these recordings, although it does not detract at all any of the impact or enjoyment of these fine compositions, in fact it adds atmosphere and creates a feeling of de ja vu for collectors who started out by purchasing vinyl. The quality of Ferrio’s music is outstanding and surely this is a strong contender to have a full score release in the near future.

Tracks 5. 6 and 7 are taken from TEXAS ADDIO music by Antonio Garcia Abril, the composers score is a highly regarded one within the Italian film music collecting fraternity and the three tracks featured include the title song performed by Don Powell, who’s distinct vocal performances have graced many an Italian western soundtrack. There is also an instrumental version of the theme and a short but memorable cue from the score, which must have been taken from the original vinyl as it jumps mid way through its running time, again it does not spoil the effect or pleasure of the music, but as I said previously merely adds atmosphere to the overall listening experience. Tracks 8 and 9 are from UN DOLLARO BUCATO (1966-FONIT), they are lifted from a 45rpm single that was issued in Italy at the time of the films release. The cues are two versions of the scores central theme A MAN A STORY, the first is a vocal rendition by the popular Italian vocalist and composer Fred Bongusto, which has quite easy going lyrics but really do seem to loose their direction in the translation from Italian to English as in, NOBODY KNOWS THE STORY OF A MAN, A MAN THAT GOES ON LOOKING TOWN TO TOWN, HE CRIES WHEN PEOPLE SMILE HE SMILES WHEN PEOPLE CRY, IF YOU SHOULD MEET HIM WOMAN LIE TO HIM, SHE TALKS ABOUT A NIGHT WITHOUT A MOON, HE DOES,NT CARE DOES,NT NEED IT. The second selection being an instrumental version, which is performed by electric and classical guitar featuring whistler and also an almost lazy but not quite solo trumpet playing a large part within the composition which is, supported by strings and percussion. The music is the work of Gianni Ferrio although he is not given a credit on these tracks. STRANGER, STRANGER, WHO KNOWS YOUR FACE, STRANGER, STRANGER WHAT IS YOUR NAME, are the opening lines from Francesco de Masi,s excellent and driving song for VADO… L;AMAZZO E TORNO (1966=BEAT) performed by Raoul, who was another mainstay vocalist within the genre, his unmistakable and distinct vocal talent appeared on many a title song and it lent much to creating the correct atmosphere for a western ditty, even if at times his thick accent did make it difficult to understand fully what the lyrics were, but this was all part and parcel of Italian western music. The composition was penned by De Masi, Alessandroni and also had a credit to Gulia de Mutis, Alessandroni’s late wife. The other cue from the score included here is VENTO E WHISKY in which De Masi flexes his musical muscles producing a commanding and infectious theme performed in typical spaghetti style with soaring solo trumpet, choir, harmonica ,percussion and strings.

For tracks 11 and 12 we are back with the highly original style and sound of Gianni Ferrio for the 1966 production PER POCCHI DOLLARI ANCORA, two cuts of music are included the first is the main theme DIAMOND and the second RED MINE, both are powerful and entertaining pieces, the composer creating a sound that is obviously Western all’ a Italiano but at the same time being original and individual. Subtle use of guitar, harp and harmonica open DIAMOND, making the listener think that this is maybe a gentle and lilting melody, but Ferrio has other ideas as he introduces strident sounding strings played in unison with strong voices and two trumpets which mirror themselves musically supported by a lone French horn to create a dramatic work. The music of Benedetto Ghiglia is next, with two cues from his highly atmospheric and creative score to A DOLLAR IN THE TEETH. This composer although being highly original in his style of music construction and orchestration, still to this day remains something of an unknown quantity within the ranks of film music collectors, his style is certainly innovative and at times somewhat unique and like Ferrio manages to produce a sound that although is easily identified as being spaghetti western also has an originality of its own about it. I always thought that within the scoring of the Italian western there were what I called an A and B category, the A referring to Morricone, Nicolai, Baclov, De Masi and to a certain extent Cipriani who for me employed the full on spaghetti style combining the music with the images wholly, making the action and the music integrally complete. The B group included Fidenco, Giombini, Ghiglia, Ferrio, Pregadio, Poitevin etc. Who employed the sound of the spaghetti and wrote in a similar style to composers in group A but maybe did not utilise the music to its operatic or maximum potential. In fact there could even be a third group, for composers such as Orolani, Rustichelli, Lavagnino and in later examples of the genre Donaggio who used a more conventional symphonic even romantic approach to scoring these sage brush sagas from Cinecitta. And then of course there was De Angelis and Bixio, who had a different slant on the entire thing. There are at times noticeable variations in approach and style even if the composers did utilise the same orchestras, choirs and solo artistes, by this I mean, even though the Italian western score had its laid out formula and overall sound after A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, there were many variations and deviations upon on this formula, some good some bad and the few that were downright ugly, but each and everyone of them being original, individual, memorable and enjoyable.

Tracks 16 and 17 are from the pen of Ennio Morricone, IL CRUDELLI or HELLBENDERS is a score that some do tend to ignore or overlook, maybe because the movie was not that successful, it is certainly a spaghetti, but is one of those movies that also contains a number of influences from the Hollywood produced western, Morricone’s score however is a strong one and includes some fine choral work from IL CANTORI MODERNI, the soundtrack is represented here by UN MONUMENTO and TITOLO. Next up are two cuts from SETTE DOLLARI SUL ROSSO, music by Francesco de Masi, the first of which is the excellent JERRY THEME, this is everything that Italian western music should be, the laid back trumpet solo is obviously the highpoint of the composition, but the composers use of an almost clip clopping effect picked out on electric guitar that is enhanced by light use of organ and used as a backdrop to the trumpet is in a word genius. The second cue from this score is the films central or main theme, again classic spaghetti sound reigns with guitar, vibes, percussion, sweeping strings and that all important trumpet present, De Masi certainly knew how to lay down a tune with a hook, his music is appealing, haunting and enduring. The next selection is from a movie entitled THE LONG DAYS OF VENGEANCE, this is something of an oddity within the spaghetti western genre, when I say oddity I mean the score and not the actual film. As we know composers in Italy were gainfully employed during the boom years of the Italian western, many cutting their proverbial musical teeth on them, so why then did the composer of LONG DAYS OF VENGEANCE Armando Trovaioli, only score this one film within the genre? This is one of the most energetic themes from within the genre, and contains many of the musical trademarks from it, i.e. racing snares, electric guitar, over the top soaring trumpet and a catchy up

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