The films of Gerry Anderson were for me an essential part of growing up. As a kid and later with my children I would watch things such as STINGRAY, FIREBALL XLF, FOUR FEATHER FALLS, SUPERCAR and of course THUNDERBIRDS. It was Anderson who also brought us TORCHY and TWIZZLE which were shows that he began his career with and are now looked upon as quite crude in their appearance etc. I think THUNDERBIRDS was probably the most successful of all his TV series and it was the THUNDERBIRDS that he would take to the big screen in 1966 with THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO and then again two years later in 1968 with THUNDERBIRD 6. The latter unfortunately failed to achieve the popularity and also the box office attraction of its predecessor but in later years it has gained something of a cult following and along with THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO has garnered the attention and acclaim of many. Both the TV series and the two motion pictures contained music by British composer Barry Gray, Gray produced a majestic and martial sounding score and central theme to accompany the Tracy family in their persona as International rescue and for the first movie THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO he wrote a grand and sweeping secondary theme for ZERO X. Based upon the central and already familiar Thunderbirds theme the composer expanded and bolstered the infectious theme further with grandiose use of brass and strident strings. The composer combined the two themes in the opening credits music for THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO/ MAIN TITLES AND ZERO X and treated his fans to a greatly enlarged rendition of the theme and incorporated the theme for the ZERO X into the composition. Driving strings, supported by timpani and dazzling brass set the scene perfectly for what follows in Grays’s monumental soundtrack. Track number 2, ZERO X/SPY ON BOARD begins with a rousing and even more confident and robust rendition of the Zero x theme with the composer giving the composition more depth and also a sense of romanticism via the utilization of the string section. The mood of the cue alters with a foreboding and tense brass stab that is followed by taught and sinister sounding strings that underline that all is not right as we see the figure of the Hood entering the Zero x to do his dirty work. Gray then creates a more subtle version of the Zero x theme that itself segues into a relaxed and luxurious arrangement of the Thunderbirds theme as the scene changes to that of Tracy Island but ends on a sinister note as tense brass bring the cue to a close. Track number 3, thunderbirds are go/Penelope on the move is a great track, the composer bringing into play an extended and vibrant arrangement of the Thunderbirds theme as International Rescue swing into action and each ship is launched, the cue also includes a brief passage that accompanies the scene of Lady Penelope’s mansion strains of “They’ll always be an England” underline this very British scene.
This is followed by a particularly busy and upbeat version of the central theme that includes little comic sounding nuances along the way the composer re-introducing snippets of the Zero X theme as the cue progresses. This is a score that I now fans will adore and if you have not had chance to hear it before then you will be in for a treat indeed, every track is a literal smorgasbord of sounds, themes and haunting musical passages. THUNDERBIRD 6 is essentially a more relaxed and lighter sounding work than THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO, the composer creating a number of highly melodic and easy going themes that are at times interspersed with little comic sounding musical notations. But throughout it all we hear the familiar THUNDERBIRDS theme which seems to hold the score together, but overall the score is far lighter with numerous luxurious sounding themes that are straight out of the easy listening department with many of them being utilised as source music rather than scoring the action or scenario unfolding on screen, This does not mean that I did not enjoy the score because I certainly did and having both scores on one disc is wonderful because it enables us to appreciate more fully just how much of a musical genius Barry Gray was. This is a must have release that is packaged to the normal high standards of the La La Land label with numerous stills and some highly informative sleeve notes. Recommended in fact F.A.B.