This was the final installment of the madcap and highly implausible Italian western trilogy that had Sabata as its main character. For this movie, Yul Brynner took on the role of the bounty hunter Sabata, replacing actor Lee Van Cleef. Ironically Van Cleef had to turn down the role to star in an American western entitled The Magnificent Seven Ride; ironic because Van Cleef took on the role of Chris in the film, a character that had previously been portrayed and made famous by Yul Brynner. Director Frank Kramer (aka Gianfranco Parolini) also decided to change composer and hired Bruno Nicolai as opposed to Marcello Giombini, who had worked on both of the previous films. Nicolai provided a textbook Italian western score for the movie, full to brimming with grunts, shrieks, whistles, trumpet solos and electric guitar passages. The score was not available in its entirety at the time of the films release, and collectors had to be content with one track on a western compilation and a selection of tracks on a EP which was issued in Italy.

This release is the first time that Nicolai’s wonderful score has been issued in full. A film critic at the time noted, “It could be Ennio Morricone, or maybe its Bruno Nicolai, but you can be damn sure its not Percy Faith.” The highly infectious theme for the movie can be heard throughout the score, and the composer makes good use of this music where ever possible. There are also other themes present within the score which are equally as haunting and Nicolai punctuates the action with little trills and sounds, in a very similar way to Morricone in movies such as The Big Gundown. Alessandro Alessandroni’s choir Il Cantori Moderni also work overtime for Nicolai on this soundtrack, and create an effective and exhilarating sound.

I would personally stick my neck out and say that this is probably one of the best Spaghetti western scores written, alongside Morricone’s Dollar trilogy. Every track on the CD is entertaining, every note original. The disc is packaged well with excellent sound, sleeve notes and a list of credits for the movie. Well worth seeking out, an essential buy for lovers of Spaghetti western music.

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