Have you as a collector of Ennio Morricone film music ever sat and pondered, WHY? Why have so many soundtracks of this great Maestro been released and re released but others remain unpublished and unreleased? Yep me too, there are certain scores that of course we are so grateful to have but is really necessary to re issue these over and over, as you know this is a subject that I do get a little fired up over, so I thought instead of writing about the constant barrage of re issues of re issues why not try and delve into the reasons behind why there are certain Ennio Morricone scores out there that still remain unreleased when it is evident that the masters do exist. So are you sitting comfortably, good then lets begin.
ROME COME CHICAGO, This is a great score which is credited to both Morricone and his at that time collaborator and conductor Bruno Nicolai, this is a hard hitting soundtrack filled with many of the Morricone trademarks that we all know and adore. Rasping brass underlined by almost manic sounding trumpets, strident strings and dark sounding piano, and this is just the opening theme, pounding percussion keeps the pace and the composers build upon what is already a strong and vibrant core theme. The move was not that successful out side of Italy but nevertheless it is still today an interesting and entertaining piece of cinema. Why this score has never been released is something of a mystery as the movie was released at a time when Morricone was producing some of his most interesting material, the score in my opinion is on a par with Morricone works such as CITTA VIOLENTA, THE SICILIAN CLAN, THE BURGLARS, A MAN TO RESPECT and FEAR IN THE CITY to name but a handful. A few tracks from the score appeared on a bootleg compilation on POO records, this included the score for THE HORNETS NEST on the A side of the LP, and on the B side we were treated to a handful of cues from a few movies, ROME COME CHICAGO being represented by two tracks, these however were the more down beat compositions easy listening if you like, but still welcomed by collectors at the time.
A bootleg copy of the score was also doing the rounds a few years back but the sound quality on this was not that good, still at least the people who managed to get it had a chance to sample the delights of this Morricone/Nicolai work. SEVEN GUNS FOR THE Mc GREGORS is another score that as yet has not seen a release although recently there were rumours around saying it was coming paired with SEVEN BRIDES FOR THE Mc GREGORS, again utter disbelief that soundtracks such as GUNFIGHT AT RED SANDS, BULLETS DON’T ARGUE, THE RINGO MOVIES and also Morricone westerns such as BANDA J AND S all got released on compact disc in the past five years or so, but not THE McGREGORS, maybe they were to bawdy to be released.
The score for SEVEN GUNS FOR THE McGREGORS is in my opinion a fusion of styles, it has to it an American western sound with strings and brass creating broad and expansive themes, but it also has to it another musical edge with the sound of the Italian western seeping through and establishing itself on more than one occasion. Tracks such as MARCH OF THE McGREGORS and the excellent and thundering SANTE FE EXPRESS have appeared on compilations, but the remainder of the score is still I am sad to say in the vaults of CAM or SUGAR who now own the CAM catalogue, McGREGORS is a tricky one however because some of the rights to the music belong to Universal, so I suppose it could be delicate to obtain permission from both companies to release this one.
It’s the same for the films sequel SEVEN BRIDES OR SEVEN WOMEN FOR THE McGREGORS, the score for this movie did contain some of the original thematic material from its predecessor but Morricone applied a lighter touch for this yarn probably because of the so called romantic content, in fact both of the movies were quite violent the second having a greater body count. Maybe the final decision about the release of soundtracks is down to the man who penned them Maestro Morricone, and with westerns I think we are on thin ice as we all know how he feels about his Italian western scores, he prefers not to talk about them, which for me is a little surprising because it was the music for the western that attracted the publics attention to this composer. Bernard Herrman regarded most if not all of his film music as rubbish, and maybe Morricone shares this opinion about his western scores.
TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA, is yet another score that still has to get a release, yes I know the soundtrack is released but the sound quality is terrible even though it is supposedly re-mastered (not), I am talking about the actual score, there is so much music in the movie and it is good too, again rumours were rife about this a few years back but nothing came of it, I think many were hoping that FSM would release it at the same time as DAYS OF HEAVEN, NAVAJO JOE and THE FIVE MAN ARMY, alas, nothing.
So is there something or someone in the background stopping these scores being released, that I cannot answer, all I know is that we are bombarded with re-issues of Morricone scores from Italy all of which have been released before, (but it has a nice new cover……oh ok I will have 10). There are so many Morricone scores that have not been released, WHY ? We alas will never know or get the truth, it’s a bit like that. It maybe the Maestro himself that stops the release of the westerns and certain other scores, but in my ever so humble but slightly informed position I think not, it’s the interference of an outside source who for some reason believes it is right to keep these gems from collectors, in recent weeks this has happened with a western score and it was again a case of if I cant do it no one else will, they would rather the score remain unreleased than let someone else issue it, that to me is called jealousy and hypocrisy and is fed by an over inflated ego. Shame on you.