I have for a number of years been one of the many people that championed the creative talents of Maestro Bruno Nicolai, his scores have at times rivaled and even in certain cases outshone the work of fellow Italian composer Ennio Morricone, and in the early days many collectors were convinced that Nicolai was an alias for Morricone or even vice versa because the styles that each composer employed were in many instances identical.. This collection of Nicolai songs from movies is certainly entertaining in its own unique way, not being a great fan of vocals on soundtracks, I suppose I approached this CD with a little apprehension, but saying that I could see a few familiar titles within its track listing, so that made me feel a little more comfortable. The CD opens with ARIZONA GUN from the soundtrack ARIZONA SI SCATENO E IL FECE FUORI TUTTI, performed by IL CANTORI MODERNI under the direction of Alessandroni, this spaghetti western score is probably not one of the greatest examples of Nicolai,s work for the genre, but the title song still remains a light, catchy, rhythmic if not predictable example of the Italian western sound. Ie; “I GUESS I GOTTA GET MY GUN, I GUESS I GOTTA SHOOT SOMEONE”. So predictable but entertaining, in a corny sort of way. Track two is taken from the score, AMERICA COSE NUDA COSI VIOLENTA, LOOK AWAY is performed by an unidentified studio singer, who has a very strong and vibrant vocal talent, she carries the vocals well and this cue is for me anyway one of the more attractive cues within the compilation. 100,OOO DOLLARI POUR RINGO is up next and vocalist Bobby Solo performs flawlessly the title song RINGO CAME TO FIGHT. Again maybe the lyrics are a little predictable, but this I am sure you will agree was something that occurred within many Italian western songs, the composers and lyricists attempting to imitate the sound of the American cowboy movies but at the same time trying to create a sound and style of their own. The cue gets a second airing fourteen tracks on in the collection, but this time we are treated to the Italian vocal version, somehow they always sound better in Italian ?
Track four is a real classic, I WANT IT ALL. from FEMMINE INSAZIABILI, this is Nicolai at his best, an enthusiastic and energetic opening for percussion, strings combined with brass and female vocal is followed by a great performance by vocalist Laura saint Paul, I remember when I first heard this on the original Ariete LP many years ago, it’s a track that one will return to constantly and each time you will hear something or get something out of the recording that you did not get before, and evergreen in the Italian soundtrack song book department. This cue is repeated later in the compilation in Italian. Now track five, is a little bit of a puzzle for me, GO GIDDY GO, is from THE DAY OF THE LANDGRABBER or LANDRAIDERS, at least the music is from the score anyway, this is rather clumsy sounding saloon track from the soundtrack, the lyrics this time are ultra cheesy as we say in the U.K. By this I mean a little over the top, and somewhat annoying but in a nice way, its one of those songs that will probably drive you mad, as it will keep going around in your head for days after the initial listen, I found myself trying to separate the vocal from the music, as I had been so used to hearing the instrumental version on the score which I hold dear as one of Nicolai,s best. I am not sure if it spoilt my opinion of LANDRAIDERS or not, but having seen the movie I honestly cannot remember hearing this on the soundtrack? Maybe it was something that was cut from the score, or maybe even not used the movie was cut to shreds when I saw it back in the mid seventies so that might explain why I do not recall it, there is also another vocal from the movie on the compilation which is track number 13, this time it is a vocal rendition of the LANDRAIDERS theme, under the title of SWEET LOVE SONG, surprisingly the lyrics kind of work, performed again by an unidentified studio singer, who sounds rather like Matt Monroe, maybe its because the LANDRAIDERS theme in its original form has an urgent and raw sound to it, when heard within this compilation it is arranged as a love song, so again after hearing the original for so many years it takes some getting used to. One of the more easy sounding and entertaining tracks on the collection has to be CIAO CIAO from CIAO ITALIA with typically Italian sounding vocals courtesy of the one and only Fred Bongusto, it just posses the sound and style that is the epitome of everything Italian, warm, easy going and friendly. Overall I would say that this is a compilation that collectors should have, it shows us another part of Nicolai,s creativity, and underlines what a great talent the maestro was. It is also an entertaining collection that will probably become a firm favourite.