An Italian made western from 1967, Ballata Per Un Pistolero received only a limited release in cinemas outside Italy. The music by composer Marcello Giombini was never actually released on a recording at the time of the film’s screening. However, a single 45rpm disc was issued, which contained the film’s title song performed by Peppino Gagliardi. This, like many other songs from Spaghetti Westerns, was successful in the Italian hit parade, and has been included on a handful of Spaghetti Western music compilations that have been issued in Italy and Japan. This, then, is the first time ever that Giombini’s wonderful score has been available to collectors in its entirety and, in my humble opinion, it has been worth the wait of nearly 40 years. Ballata Per Un Pistolero is in some ways similar to Giombini’s Sabata soundtracks, but maybe not quite as bouncy and quirky, The music is possibly more varied as it contains a more diverse mix of compositions that are not so repetitive.
The central theme is in many ways akin to Nicolai’s Indio Black theme, minus the chorale parts, with racing snare drums providing backing to an electric guitar solo which is enhanced by the use of solo trumpet and wistful sounding flutes and piccolos. There are also a number of cues where the composer utilizes organ, which are interesting and entertaining. The central theme crops up a few times throughout the score, but in numerous and varying arrangements, which keeps the listener engrossed and the music remains fresh and vibrant. Giombini also throws in a few of the obligatory saloon/cantina tracks and even these are not as irritating as normal.
Overall, Ballata Per Un Pistolero is a soundtrack that is a must-buy item for any collector of Italian film music, and contains many of the now stock trademarks that we associate with the music for the Spaghetti Western genre; electric guitars, solo trumpets, racing snares, Mexican-sounding dance music and urgent sounding cues for the action sequences. The sound quality of the song, which appears at the end of the soundtrack, is strangely not as good as the rest of the CD – maybe this came from the original single tapes and not the film masters? Other than that I recommend this soundtrack highly.