RELEASED NOV/DEC. 2014 ON KRONOS RECORDS. PRE ORDER NOW.http://kronosrecords.com/K55.html


Composer Neil Argo is certainly no stranger to scoring movies and television projects and if maybe you are thinking that you have not heard his name before its not surprising, because Neil is another of those consistently excellent and highly industrious people who work in movie music that is sadly underrated and at times overlooked. Born in San Diego California, the composers interest in the writing of music for film came out of his fascination with composers such as Jerry goldsmith, Dave Grusin, John Williams, Michel Legrand and others. His interest in music began at the age of 5 and his passion for film music composition soon led him to start studying music from an early age at first in school then in later years when he joined the United States Air Force. It was whilst serving in the Air Force that the budding composer joined the NORAD band as a drummer and it whilst performing in this band that he met with other musicians who were looked upon as some of the best in the world at that period in time. He gained much experience whilst in the band and also managed to get an insight into the music business which would stand him in good stead when it came to him leaving The Air Force. On leaving the military Argo attended college in Texas and it was here that he reached the decision that he would set aside his career as a drummer and concentrate on orchestration and composition, and further inspired him into becoming a composer of film music. In the early eighties he was assigned to provided the theme and also the background score to 35 episodes of WILD AMERICA for television which launched in 1982. The composer continued working on the series for a number of years and after completing five years with the production Argo moved location to Los Angeles where he continued to become involved with various film and TV assignments which included orchestration and arranging jobs on DYNASTY, HOTEL and THE COLBY’S for Aaron Spellings production company. The composer also worked on the popular MacGyver series for Paramount at this time. During the early 1990,s Argo was approached by fellow composer John Davis to work as co-composer on a newly filmed TV series of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, sadly this proved to be a little less than popular with the viewing public and the series was cancelled after just two years, but Argo continued working on a number of productions for the Spelling company via his connection with John Davis which began with BEVERLY HILLS 9012, and continued with programmes such as MELROSE PLACE and HEARTS ARE WILD. In 1993 the composer scored the National Geographic special SURVIVOURS OF THE SKELETON COAST which led him to being principal composer on the mini series SKELETON COAST SAFARI for which he received much acclaim.

He has continued you to work on various projects and films of varying genre and has received Awards and nominations for his music. His score for P.J. garnered the composer a Bronze award for Artistic Excellence in 2008 and his music for the movie LEGENDS OF NETHIAH was nominated for A Hollywood Music in Media Award in 20012. His more recent assignments include, CHAVEZ CAGE OF GLORY, EDUARDO AND TED and RESTORATION OF PARADISE.

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The score for P.J. is for the majority of its duration a fairly light affair the composer relying upon the use of solo piano, solo guitar, misty sounding woodwind and also the string section to create some really attractive and plaintive musical moments. In many ways the music is very much akin to the style employed by Dave Grusin and Michel Legrand on many of their film scores, it has at its core a jazz resonance but also posses dramatic and romantically laced sections that blend and compliment perfectly the central style and sound of the work. The music is restrained but also affecting and emotive, the composer fashioning elegant and passive themes that not only work well within the context of supporting the movie but are in addition to this rewarding and entertaining in their own right away from the images they are intended to support. There is however a slightly darker side to the proceedings Argo utilising to great effect the string section to create a sound that purveys an atmosphere that is apprehensive and slightly edgy. P.J. is a score that will be returned to many times after the initial listen and on each outing I know you will find something new and fresh. Enjoy.

John Mansell (IFMCA)
Movie music international(Italiano).

as the notes appear in the cd booklet. design by Godwin Borg of Kronos records..




Born Eric Gakkroger in Halifax U.K. on September 25th 1921, composer Eric Rogers was destined to become a name that was synonymous with one of British cinemas most successful comedy series. Rogers became interested in music from an early age, and began to become involved with music at the age of thirteen when he was given lessons in playing the organ at his church. He never actually received any formal musical instruction but was a self taught musician and gained experience as a musician playing piano for free beer during the second world war. When the war finished Rogers formed his own orchestra which was given a residency at the Orchid Rooms at London’s Trocedero, he gained a reputation during the early 1950,s for being a talented arranger and also conductor for musical variety theatre in London’s west end. He began to work on films during the late 1950,s at first scoring children’s movies but then working on British releases such as the war drama THE WOODEN HORSE and the comedy GENEVIEVE.

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In the early 1960’s he collaborated with Lionel Bart on the original stage version of the musical OLIVER this was because Bart never actually had any knowledge of writing or reading music, Rogers was responsible for converting Bart’s ideas into musical notes and acting as arranger and orchestrator on the production which premiered on June 30th 1960. At the same time Roger’s began to work with composer Bruce Montgomery, again carrying out orchestrations and arrangements. In 1962, Rogers acted as musical director on the score for Dr. No, working with composer Monty Norman on the first James Bond movie. Composer Bruce Montgomery was involved the CARRY ON films, which at that time were new to cinema audiences. CARRY ON executive Peter Rogers was not happy with Montgomery, the composer found it difficult to deliver his music on time and relied upon Eric Rogers to complete the assignments, so Peter Rogers decided to ask Eric to work on CARRY ON CABBY in 1963.

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This first foray into CARRY ON comedy led to the composer scoring a further 21 films in the series, CAMPING, SCREAMING, MATRON, COWBOY and UP THE KHYBER being his most prominent and popular, the composers final encounter with the franchise came in 1978 when he provided the score for CARRY ON EMMANUELE. In 1975, the composer re-located to America, this was because he was receiving numerous requests from the United States to work on television series and films there. He became involved with De Patie Freleng who were responsible for producing a number of shorts and animated series that were popular at the time. These included, RETURN TO THE PLANET OF THE APES, WHATS NEW MR. MAGOO and SPIDER WOMAN. He also worked as musical director and arranger on a number of animated shows that the company produced including THE PINK PANTHER SHOW and conducted Dean Elliot’s music for THE NEW FANTASTIC FOUR in 1978.

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Peter Rogers and Eric Rogers were not related as many thought, but they did however have a great working relationship and long term friendship. The filmmaker often collaborating with the composer in the actual writing of the music giving him ideas etc as to what he thought would best suit the movies. The music that Rogers provided was at times very tongue in cheek for example in CARRY ON SCREAMING, he worked in a version of the Z CARS theme when the detectives played by Harry H Corbett and Peter Butterworth were seen in there automobile. He also added a touch of pathos in the form of the STEPTOE AND SON theme in CARRY ON DOCTOR when Wilfred Brambles made an appearance. Rogers was also responsible for writing the ever so familiar SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE LONDON PALADIUM theme and scoring and acting as musical director on movies such as, BLESS THIS HOUSE, NO SEX PLEASE WE’RE BRITISH, ALL COPPERS ARE, INN OF THE FRIGHTENED PEOPLE and THE BEST HOUSE IN LONDON amongst others. Rogers died on April 8th 1981 aged 59 in Buckinghamshire.

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Composer Roy Budd was probably one of the most talented and resourceful musicians to come out of England in decades, he was not only an accomplished composer of film music and jazz but also was a more than competent pianist. His first foray into film music came in 1969 when he was hired to score SOLDIER BLUE, the soundtrack is now an iconic one as well as being an important one for the composer. The actual soundtrack for the movie has never been released, which is a great pity because there is a great deal of wonderful music contained within the film. Instead a re-recording of the score with principal themes arranged and also performed by Budd was released on the PYE Records label on vinyl in 1970, the A side featuring the music from SOLDIER BLUE and the B side containing various film themes that had been given the Budd treatment. Many years later a compact disc was issued in Japan on the SCL label, this was a straight re-issue of the PYE album.

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Then in 1999 CINEPHILE which is a label in the Castle communications stable released the music from the A side of the original album along with the music from another Roy Budd western score CATLOW, with the release also containing two cues from ZEPPELIN. It contained informative liner notes and colourful art work, but it still was not the actual SOLDIER BLUE score which many hoped it would be, although it did include a vocal version of FIELDS OF GREEN AND SKIES OF BLUE which had not been released previously. Nevertheless it was still an interesting and entertaining release, showing three varying styles of a talented composer and his ability to adapt to any situation when scoring movies, so it is this edition of the soundtrack or soundtracks that this review is based upon. Budd’s versatility is evident within this compilation as we are presented with two western scores, each one being quite removed and different from one another, with different styles and musical colours being utilised by the composer making each individual and in my opinion unique. Budd creating a more light hearted musical persona for Catlow which went hand in hand with the attitude of the films central character played by Yul Brynner, combining “ho down” type music with light and romantic sounding flourishes, plus there were also a few moments which had at their core a darker and more threatening sound as in INDIAN AMBUSH and to a degree GET THE GOLD both of which echoed the style of Jerry Goldsmith when he scored westerns, such as HOUR OF THE GUN, RIO CONCHOS and 100 RIFLES, brass, strings and an array of percussive elements combined with banjo and strummed guitar to create an exciting and tense atmosphere and even had the odd musical nod to Jerry Fielding along the way, with little nuances and quirks of orchestration that vaguely resemble Quincy Jones‘s McKENNAS GOLD soundtrack.

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Again though this is a re-recording there being far more music within the movie and most of this being darker in its style and atmosphere.
For me personally however the main score included on the disc has to be SOLDIER BLUE, it was an affecting movie and also a controversial one. One of it’s taglines being,


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Budd’s score aided the movies progression and storyline wonderfully. The music contained, emotion, sadness, martial themes and also a certain amount of comic content which although present was not overpowering. Budd’s score underlined perfectly the developing relationship between Cresta (Candice Bergen) and US cavalry trooper Honus Gent (Peter Strauss) who are thrown together after a patrol escorting an army payroll and also Cresta are ambushed and mercilessly wiped out by Cheyenne Indians who were attempting to take back Cresta who had been abducted by them and lived with them for two years. Honus and Cresta embark on a perilous trek attempting to reach what the young trooper see’s as civilisation. The trooper thinks of himself as his travelling companions protector but it is in fact Cresta who is the worldly wise of the two. Little by little the two fall in love and this is enhanced by Budd’s touching theme for Cresta which is fragile and and innocent sounding. Budd’s score is a theme laden affair which is thick with haunting and uplifting musical passages, these manifest themselves in cues such as the exciting and exhilarating KIOWA COUNTRY, the beautiful and emotive CRESTA’S SONG, the martial influenced RIDE ON, the haunting FIELDS OF GREEN AND SKIES OF BLUE and the uplifting and up-tempo HOW WONDERFUL LIFE IS. The recording features an instrumental version of the poignant and powerful title song, which is performed over the main titles of the movie by Buffy Saint Marie who also wrote it, this version is arranged and performed by Budd on piano with strings and percussion adding their weight to the proceedings. My only hope is that one day someone will discover the original score somewhere, don’t get me wrong this is an entertaining release and one I for one would not be without, but the original score would be so much better, after all it is an important movie and also a milestone work for Roy Budd. Also included are two cues from the World War One drama ZEPPELIN, a very different style was employed by the composer for this assignment, released in 1971, the movie starred Michael York and Elke Sommer, Budd employing an explosive and dramatic style to underline the action.

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The stirring opening theme complete with sound effects from the movie and also a Mike Samme-esque vocal, ALL YOU WANT ME TO BE which had lyrics by Jack Fishman are included on this compilation. The sound quality on this release at least on SOLDIER BLUE is far better than the Japanese disc, and as mentioned previously it is filled with info and art work which is attention-grabbing and vibrant, well worth investing in.


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Released in 1966 KHARTOUM was produced at a time when the genre of the historical war epic was in decline. It dealt with the war in the Sudan in the 19th Century and how the British were dragged reluctantly into a conflict that they were ill prepared for and neither needed or wanted. It focuses upon the involvement of General Gordon or Chinese Gordon and how he is despatched by the British government to the troubled region in the hope that his presence alone might avert a war or at least give the British time to prepare for one. The film has at its core the subsequent siege of Khartoum the fall of the city and the death of General Gordon. The movie which was filmed on location in Egypt and along the banks of the Nile is a superb piece of British imperialism that evokes the religious convictions of Gordon and his love of the Sudan and its people, it also further evokes a sense of pomp, pride and honour which are three things that are at times lacking in the modern world. The film starred Charlton Heston as Gordon and also Sir Laurence Olivier in the role of the Mahdi who was responsible for gathering an army of desert tribesman and instructed them to make holy war at first on Egypt and then on the world. The Egyptians employed a British professional soldier Colonel William Hicks to take an army of over ten thousand men into the Sudanese desert to find the Mahdi and bring his holy war to an end, unfortunately the Mahdi found Hicks first after leading him further and further into the blistering desert and massacred the entire force. The films cast also included Nigel Green, Ralph Richardson, Richard Johnson, Alexander Knox and Michael Hordern who all delivered believable and memorable performances.




The music was provided by British composer Frank Cordell, and his stirring and Elgarish sounding soundtrack is still today considered an iconic work. Cordell was a composer who was probably more readily associated with the area of light music, but saying this he did make some interesting and significant contributions to the world of movie music and after having success with scores for films such as THE REBEL, THE CAPTAINS TABLE etc he decided to leave EMI and concentrate more fully on writing for the cinema.

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His score for KHARTOUM however was one of his most inspired and certainly his strongest work for film. Other movies on which the composer worked included, FLIGHT FROM ASHIYA, RING OF BRIGHT WATER,CROMWELL, HELL BOATS, MOSQUITO SQUADRON, TUNES OF GLORY and DEMON. The soundtrack for KHARTOUM was originally released on a United Artist’s long playing record, and at the time of its release there were a number of copies that made it into the retail outlets that were two disc one sided LP,s which were on white labels.


The score cried out for release onto compact disc but a legitimate edition was not forthcoming and in 2001 ARTEMIS records in the U.K. issued the soundtrack on a recording paired with a suite from the composer score to RING OF BRIGHT WATER which had previously seen a release in 1981 on vinyl. The recording which was a limited edition included all the music from the original LP release plus it also included the opening prologue narration from the movie by Leo Genn. Although this was looked upon as a bootleg or illegal pressing, it looked and sounded like an official one and for me it still remains the best version or edition of the score to be released. The sound quality was for the most part very good and in stereo. The first “official” release of the score was issued in 2004 by FSM the record label of the FILM SCORE MONTHLY publication. This included a straight track for track copy of the LP release with obviously marginally better sound quality, the compact disc also featured the composers score for MOSQUITO SQUADRON which was a watered down version of 633 Squadron, but omitted the narration that was present on the previous CD release, the prologue was included but just the score. At first glance it does look as if the FSM version has more tracks than the Artemis edition, but the cues are exactly the same, its just that the FSM recording is sectioned off into cues rather than them running into each other as on the Artemis recording, but in a way this does add to the listening experience in my opinion. Both are very good releases with the FSM CD having the edge in the art work department, but for sound and content it has to be Artemis for me. Cordell’s magnificent and stirring central theme opens the recording in a glorious and highly regal sounding Overture that includes a number of the scores core themes, the overture was played in cinemas with the curtains closed and gave audience a taster for the ceremonial pomp and circumstances that were to follow in the movie. KHARTOUM is one of those scores that you can listen to without reaching for the fast forward button, every track is a triumph and a delight in fact it is a score that is heaven sent for all quality film music aficionados.

Composer Cordell.
Composer Cordell.

There are no highlights because the entire work is one big shining highlight, from the opulent and grand opening of the OVERTURE to the intimate and slightly imperialistic and apprehensive GORDON MEETS GLADSTONE and the dramatic and powerful CATTLE RAID plus the searing and mysterious UP THE NILE this is a soundtrack that is classic and epic in every way. Not got it yet!!!! Then what are you waiting for?


Notes for the Hammer Vampire film music collection, released on GDI records in 2001 © John Mansell and Marcus Hearne



Bavaria 1910,honeymooning couple Gerald and Mirianne Harcourt are stranded when their motor car runs out of petrol. The Harcourts finding lodging as the only guests in a run down hotel, and accept a dinner invitation from Dr. Ravna, the owner of a nearby chateau. That evening Ravna’s son plays a bewitching piano rhapsody that has a profound effect upon Mirianne. The following day the Harcourt’s return to the chateau to attend a masked ball, but Gerald is drugged. He awakens to find that his wife has vanished and that all her possessions have disappeared from their hotel room. The mysterious stranger Professor Zimmer presents Gerald with the uncomfortable truth: Dr Ravna is the head of an obscene vampiric cult, and he has claimed Mirianne as his latest victim. James Bernards score for THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE is arguably more impressive than the ground breaking work that the composer carried out when scoring DRACULA for Hammer, this was after all the film that initiated the publics love affair with the various blood suckers that the house of horror would introduce during the years that followed. The score for THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE combines both virulent and romantic styles, one of the undoubted highlights of the score being the piano piece that is seen to be performed by Ravna’s son, Carl. In later years the composer arranged the popular piece into a concert work entitled VAMPIRE RHAPSODY, and performed a section of it in the closing moments of the 1987 BBC documentary HAMMER THE STUDIO THAT DRIPPED BLOOD.

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“ I decided to give (Carl’s) music a sort of perverted Lisztian flavour” remarked Bernard. John Hollingsworth, Hammer’s musical director at the time, called the piece ‘THE TOOTH CONCERTO’. John was always fun to work with but sadly KISS OF THE VAMPIRE was the last score of mine that he conducted. On KISS OF THE VAMPIRE I was asked to write a sequence of waltzes which wee to be used in the scenes of the masked ball, these had to be in the Viennese style, and also had to be composed in advance of the main score so they could be played whilst filming of the scenes took place. My deadline was tight, so I asked John to get somebody else to work on the orchestration of these. He engaged Douglas Gamley, who not only did a marvellous job on the orchestrations but also performed piano on the score.

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Reincarnated vampire Carmilla Karnstein poses as a debutante called Mircalla and is enrolled at Countess Herritzens exclusive girls’ boarding school. Researching legends associated with the nearby Karnstein Castle gothic storyteller Richard Lestrange falls under Mircalla’a mesmeric spell and tricks his way into a teaching post at the school. Fellow schoolmaster Giles Barton becomes similarly fascinated by the girl, and covers for her when she satisfies her bloodlust by murdering a student. Barton’s research into the occult leads him to believe that Mircalla is Carmilla Karnstein, and when he confronts her about her true identity his suspicions are horribly confirmed.


Composer Harry Robinson gained a reputation at Hammer for being able to score films quickly and efficiently. Robinson had already worked on the 1968 television anthology JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN and scored THE VAMPIRE LOVERS IN 1970 by the time Hammer turned to him to work on LUST FOR A VAMPIRE. “ Lets just say that this was not exactly a great movie” recalled the composer. “ Certainly the other two movies within the Karnstein trilogy were for the most part very good, but LUST was the weakest of the three. I regard LUST FOR A VAMPIRE as one of Hammer’s ‘tits and bums’ productions-it relied more upon the uncovering of flesh than the unfolding of the story! Basically worked the same sort of formula on LUST as I had done on THE VAMPIRE LOVERS, although I did attempt to make LUST sound slightly more romantic. I hope I succeeded”. A sense of continuity with THE VAMPIRE LOVERS was further strengthened by the inclusion of music within LUST from its predecessor. “The music budgets were quite minimal at Hammer during this period”. said Robinson. “But we adapted things to suit each individual film. A score could be made to sound grand, even if we were only using , say 30 musicians. I think on LUST I used approximately 50 players, and reduced the numbers as we progressed”. Robinson went onto score the third and final instalment of the Karnstein trilogy, TWINS OF EVIL., and his work on this collection of movies is among the most requested by soundtrack collectors to be released.

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Schettel, mittel-Europe; Anna Mueller leads a young girl to the castle of her lover, Count Mitterhaus. The girl is then murdered by the vampire Count, and professor Mueller gathers together a horde of angry villagers to help him take revenge. Mitterhaus is eventually impaled upon a sharpened stake and curses his assailants; “Your children will die to give me back my life!” Fifteen years later the disease ridden village is in quarantine. A mysterious gypsy woman crosses the blockade, bringing with her the convoy of vehicles that comprise the Circus of Night. While the circus prepares to entertain the local children the gypsy woman who is in reality Anna uncovers the castle crypt, Mitterhaus’s bloody vow is about to be fulfilled. Composer David Whitaker, studied at the Guildhall of Music between 1947 and 1949,and began his career in film music in 1966 when he scored the Jerry Lewis comedy DON’T RAISE THE BRIDGE, LOWER THE RIVER. Although his arranging work has included commissions from such diverse artists as THE ROLLING STONES and LISA STANSFIELD, it is probably true to say that Whitaker is best remembered for his two Hammer horror scores DR JECKYLL AND SISTER HYDE and VAMPIRE CIRCUS. “ After seeing VAMPIRE CIRCUS I decided it needed a big score,” said the composer. “At that time the Hammer formula for an orchestra line up comprised around 120 musicians, and it was really up to the composer how these were utilised. With the guidance from Hammer’s musical director Philip Martell I spread them as I saw fit. I think we used around 60 musicians per session. Phil was quite serious, and although we hit it off very well there weren’t many light moments with him. I do remember however, being rather amused that the vampire at the start of the movie seemed so camp”. Whitaker subsequently scored Hammer’s comedy from 1973 THAT’S YOUR FUNERAL.

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Transylvania 1804,Count Dracula rises from his tomb and assumes the physical form of his Chinese disciple Kah. A century later Professor van Helsing lectures a class of cynical students about the legend of Ping Kuei, a remote village plagued by marauding vampires in golden masks. One of the professors students His Ching takes the story seriously and begs his tutors help in the vanquishing of the creatures. Van Helsing joins his son, Leyland, wealthy widow Vanessa Buren and His Ching on an expedition to the village. They travel with His Ching’s five brothers and his sister, Mai Kwei, all martial arts experts. Following an arduous journey the party arrive at the besieged village, and Vanessa and His Ching die in the ensuing battle. The last remaining vampire kidnaps Mai Kwai and takes her to their temple, where their foul overlord awaits……..

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For James Bernard’s final feature film score for Hammer he fused his recognisable style with traditional Chinese music. The epic results made for a suitably impressive accompaniment to the company’s last vampire movie, and appropriately incorporated cues from Bernard’s score from the 1970 movie TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA. Bernard’s work on this project did not however end with the film score, as the composer recalls. “ I Was asked to compose music for a LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES ALBUM that would contain dialogue from the movie with a narration spoken by Peter Cushing, similar in style to the DRACULA album that had been recorded with Christopher Lee. Phil Martell thought it would be a good idea to include a new theme that would act as the opening section of music, similar to an overture, so I composed some music especially which was used to open and close the record. I chose a Chinese sounding march with lots of crashing cymbals, percussion and brass. Philip Martell conducted the sessions and although the LP was called the original soundtrack recording it actually contained very little of the score from the film”.

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