There have been many releases of Italian western scores over the years and there were so many that it got to the point where it was hard to keep up with the near tidal wave of issues, re-issues and re-releases. Which if you are a fan as I am of the genre and its music is a good thing. However, when it gets to the stage when releases are put out that are sub standard in sound quality I think its time to take a step back look again or even stop. The Digit movies release of CALIFORNIA by Italian Maestro Gianni Ferrio is certainly a contender in my opinion for being given an award for the worst sound quality on a soundtrack. I do realise that with a movie as old as this the tapes would probably be a little worse for wear, so my question is WHY release it in this condition, it is I think a little immoral of the producers or re-mastering people isn’t it ? Or maybe not as they obviously did not spend any time on the sound restoration or re mastering. This is a score that is essentially a good example of the Italian western score from the end of the genres popularity because audiences tastes were changing. I have to say it would probably have been better to leave it in the archives rather than release a score that has terrible sound quality as this does, there is distortion, hiss and all sorts of fluctuation in its duration and instead of being a tribute or a reminder of the genius of Ferrio it is an insult to his memory and also in this case an insult to the harmonica playing of Franco de Gemini. The sound is dull, muffled and resembles the sound one got out of an old LP record after it had been played and damaged by a worn stylus, in fact it sounds as if it is a cheap bootleg,(I said sounds like) the type we used to get many years ago, but wait even they sounded better than this. In fact by the time I got to track number 10, I had just about had enough, what should have been a welcome release turned out to be a pile of garbage in the sound department, this was not re-mastered, edited,digitally selected (what is that anyway-ah maybe they line the tracks up and let a digit select them) or restored by Claudio Fuiano as the credits say (its there in bold print people read it and weep) because nothing has been done or if it has then oh my God those tapes were really bad. Restored????(TO BRING BACK OR RE-ESTABLISH A PREVIOUS RIGHT PRACTISE OR SITUATION) that means to be made as new doesn’t it or restored as in made to sound or look as it did when it was new, it was simply plucked off the shelf and thrown onto a cdr then released on a legiimate disc, once again the collectors are the loosers because they have paid out for a compact disc that is almost useless, I do emphasis that the score is very good, inventive and in places very innovative as most Ferrio westerns are but the sound quality lets it down, I suppose what I am saying is don’t waste your dollars on this piece of un-listenable junk. The compact disc also contains another western score by Ferrio, REVERENDO COLT (1970) or at least selections from it, again the quality of the music compositions, orchestrations and the performances on whistle and guitar by Allessandro Alessandroni are good, as are the fluglehorn performances by Oscar Valdambrini. I have to say that REVERENDO COLT does fare a little better in the sound department but not a great deal, again what should be a joy for collectors is marred by inferior sound quality. I have a suggestion, lets wait for the inevitable re-issue with extra tracks and better re-mastering, there is bound to be one along any day now, but dont worry if we miss that one there is always the definitive edition or the super duper thirty extra track edition with gold lining and free marks and spencer vouchers.

Packaging is colourful and eye catching, but the notes are in two short words, A JOKE. Back to the drawing board Digit Movies, better still recall all the copies apologise profusely and give the collectors their cash back. Then gather all the copies up and dump them in a furnace. There is an old saying, there is no such thing as bad publicity, wanna bet………