Well, Hillside have certainly getting to grips with releasing spaghetti western scores, yet another great example here in the form of Carlo Savina’s VENGEANCE, the movie is also pretty tasty too. The CD opens with the title song, performed by Don Powell, who’s distinctive vocals ring out over a slow and somewhat deliberate Mexican sounding theme that is performed by trumpet and choir. On the original LP the song is credited to composer Nico Fidenco, which is rather odd, maybe Fidenco did the score originally, and it was rejected? Or maybe Fidenco just wrote the lyrics, one of those mysteries from the Italian film scoring world of sixties I suppose that we will never get to the bottom of. Also I will say that the sound quality of the song on the original recording was not good, it was distorted and somewhat grating on the ears when listening to it, on this recording the sound is much clearer and cleaner obviously this is due to the masterful re-mastering carried out by Roberto Zamori and Claudio Fuiano. The soundtrack originally saw the light of day on a double soundtrack release back in 1968, CAM records became famous or at least well know for their practise of putting two soundtracks on one LP. On one side we had FIND A PLACE TO DIE by Ferrio and then we had 5 tracks from VENGEANCE representing Savina’s score, this compact disc release boasts a total of 25 cues, and tracks 6 through to 25 are all in stereo and pretty good stereo it is too. I remember the LP had a sticker over the catalogue number, an MAG (mono) number replacing the original SAG (stereo) number, so what happened to the stereo masters? Anyway, I digress, it’s an odd thing but since doing a little bit of digging into my Italian western directory, I am somewhat surprised and pleased to see that Savina was particularly active within the spaghetti western genre, for some reason I always forget about this composer apart from his conducting the Rosza soundtracks during the 1960s.
But on hearing VENGEANCE one can see why filmmakers went for Savina when they wanted a good western score, the composer has produced a wonderful soundtrack, that is overflowing with high quality thematic properties, catchy little musical stabs, and high octane riding cues which are full of the musical trademarks that we associate with the Italian Western movie, electric guitar, percussion, trumpet etc, track 4 in particular is a great piece, up tempo percussion start the cue which is joined and eventually overpowered by brass and organ to create an exhilarating track. Savina relies quite a lot upon the usage of the brass section within his score, which is more often than not bolstered and supported by racing timpani and strings with little snippets being added on organ and harpsichord. Strummed guitar is also utilised throughout, a simple but effective sound that conjures up the atmosphere and colours of Mexico and the savagery of the west. The compact disc is presented well, with full colour pictures from the movie inside the cover and great cover art, but also Hillside have included on the back of the inlay the original cover from the CAM LP, which is great for us older collectors as we can use this art work for the front as well, to be honest I never thought I would see the day when this and many other Italian western scores would be issued onto CD, thanks to the Hillside series, we don’t have to dream anymore, because they have made it a reality for us, great score, highly recommended, and don’t forget this one wont be around that long as it’s a very limited edition of just 500, so don’t delay buy today.