Yet another important and much requested soundtrack release from the now famed Digit movies label . This is the first ever compact disc release for Bruno Nicolai’s powerful soundtrack; the original vinyl release was on the Gemelli label, founded by the composer himself during the 1960’s. Long deleted, this latest version of the score not only includes the original LP cues but also has tracks from the films masters, all of which have been re-mastered to a high standard and sound excellent.
It’s all fairly typical of the style and sound of composer Nicolai, with a driving, forceful, martial-sounding theme featured throughout in various guises and arrangements. Upon closer examination, the central theme does have certain similarities to Morricone’s For a Few Dollars More, albeit with a slower tempo and performed on traditional instruments rather than whistled
However this observation does not in any way detract anything from Nicolai’s work, as it is without doubt one of the Maestro’s most accomplished soundtracks. Performed by full orchestra, it’s compelling and highly listen-able and is more than capable of standing on its own two feet as an entertaining and vibrant collection of themes away from the images that it was intended to enhance.
The score also contains a number of quieter and lighter moments as in track number nine, Nancy, which is a particularly melodic and charming Spanish guitar solo that wouldn’t be out of place on a Spaghetti western soundtrack. Track number seventeen, a jazzy, almost sleazy sounding version of Red Blues, features on the CD twice. Nicolai wrote a number of cues for the score which were utilised as source music, which are completely different from the style of his main score but – surprisingly – don‘t sound at all out of place. So another triumph for Digit Movies, and another great Italian film score saved from obscurity. Highly recommended.
Two spaghetti western scores on one compact disc, both by the same composer Bruno Nicolai, yet both original and individual in their style and sound.
Anda muchacha spara (Dead Men Ride) is a western soundtrack from 1971 which most definitely belongs to the Morricone-esque school of western scoring, with plentiful use of choir solo trumpet, piano, organ and racing chase music. Django spara primo (Django Shoots First) from 1966 is more Americanised in style, displaying hardly any signs or musical trademarks that are normally associated with the spaghetti western, save for the central theme performed on solo trumpet. The remainder of the work is quite low key and fully orchestral, rather than utilising theelectric guitar as in other western scores that Nicolai worked on during this period.
Anda muchacha spara is the star score on this cd, containing all the stock sounds and attributes now associated with the western all’italiana: solo female voice, showdown music, tense riding themes and Mexican sounding mariachis. There is even a cue (track 5) that resembles Morricone’s ‘Addio Cheyenne’ track from Once Upon a Time in the West, a clumsy sounding but faintly attractive and entertaining piece employing a lazy sounding piano accompanied by a laid back banjo solo.
Track number eight is one of the compact discs highlights, with Nicolai utilising to great effect the flawless vocals of Edda Dell Orso (supported by underlying strings and the wonderful harmonising of IL CANTORI MODERNI). Nicolai produced an entertaining and highly accomplished scores for both of these movies, and excelled in his orchestration and composing on ANDA MUCHACHA SPARA..
The tracks on the compact disc do not actually have titles. Anda muchacha spara has a running time of just 24 mins 49 secs and takes up tracks 1 to 15 on the compact disc. Django spara primo is slightly longer in duration, at 25 mins 04 secs, and is numbered from track 16 through to track 28. So, a running time of just under 50 mins; but well worth the money even if its for the first score alone. Packaged adequately by CAM with descent art work, info on both movies and a short piece on Bruno Nicolai. Recommended.
This Italian made western from 1967, received only a limited release in cinemas outside of Italy and Marcello Giombini’s music was never actually released on a recording at the time. A single 45rpm disc containing the films title tune performed by Peppino Gagliardi was, however, issued. This, like many other songs from Spaghetti westerns, was successful in the Italian hit parade, and has subsequenctly been included on a handful of Spaghetti Western music compilations that have been issued on compact disc by record companies in Italy and Japan. This is then the first time ever that Giombini’s wonderful score has been available to collectors and, in my humble opinion, it’s been worth the wait of nearly 40 years.
Ballata per un pistolero is, in some ways, similar to Giombini’s Sabata soundtracks; but maybe not quite as bouncy and quirky. In fact, I would say that it’s possibly more varied than Sabata, containing a much more diverse and less repetitive mix of compositions.
The central theme is in many ways akin to Nicolai’s Indio Black theme, albeit minus the chorale parts, with racing snare drums providing the backing to an electric guitar solo enhanced by the use of solo trumpet and wistful sounding flutes and piccolos. There are also a number of interesting and entertaing cues where the composer utilises organ. The central theme does crop up a few times throughout the score, but in numerous and varying arrangements which keeps the listener engrossed. Giombini also throws in a few of the obligatory saloon/cantina tracks, but even these are not as irritating as they can be.
Overall Ballata per un pistolero is a must buy item for any collector of Italian film music, and contains within its musical make up many of the now stock trademarks that we associate with the spaghetti western genre: electric guitars, solo trumpets, racing snares, Mexican sounding dance music and urgent sounding cues for the action sequences. The song which appears at the end of the soundtrack is of a notably poorer sound quality to the rest of the CD, indicating that maybe it came from the original single tapes and not the film masters. Other than that, however, I recommend this soundtrack highly.
La morte risale a iera sera is an Italian made Giallo movie directed by Duccio Tessari and released in 1970. The score is by the highly talented and much respected composer Gianni Ferrio. Ferrio made his musical mark on Italian cinema audiences during the early 1960,s with his soundtracks for Italian westerns such as Sentenza di morte and crime capers such as Il killers.
The score for La morte risale a iera sera did receive a release on LP in 1970, issued on the Cinevox label. This latest re-issue of the score contains all the music cues from that LP recording, plus two bonus tracks, inserted at the end of the compact disc, which represent about 7 minutes of music.
Ferrio’s compositions are a fusion of jazz and easy listening, with some strong orchestral passages adding support to the already robust and interestingly original and furtive score. The main theme, which opens proceedings on the compact disc, is an almost 4 minute cue containing a jazzy, near sleazy sounding, trumpet solo enhanced by the use of piano organ and sporadic but effective sprinklings of harpsichord.
Track number two follows in a very similar style, but this time the harpsichord takes the lead to great effect. Ferrio also includes some interesting and fast paced action cues in LIVIA (track 3), and IL DURO SCAPPA (track 6), both of which have almost a big band sound to them. There are also a number of cues that are more of the atonal type, as in MORTE DI SALVATORE, where Ferrio again utilises a big band jazz sound that’s heavy on the brass section of the orchestra.
This is most definitely a soundtrack I would recommend. I know collectors will delight in and return to it on many occasions, each time finding something fresh and appealing. The sound quality is, for the most part, excellent and in full stereo. Also included are eye catching art work a colourful booklet including informative notes and a mini publicity poster.
After collecting soundtracks now for a good few years, it still amazes me that you can stumble upon so many musical gems and although I am now familiar with the score and the film, I was oblivious to its existence when Hexacord released the soundtrack and I think we have to say a big thank-you to Roberto Zamori for bringing this and other shining examples of Italian film music to collectors. So Sweet So Perverse is one such find. The movie, which starred Jean Louis Tringinant and Carrol Baker, is itself an interesting and entertaining piece of cinema, but the score by Riz Ortolani is a classy fusion of both the more classical sounding sides as well as the jazz lounge type style of the composer. So, an attention-grabbing blend of thematic material here.
The CD opens with a up-tempo song performed by J.Vincent Edward, which is followed by an instrumental version of the theme. In fact, the haunting theme can be heard throughout the soundtrack and just seems to become stronger and better on each outing. In many respects this is written in a style that is very similar to that of Nora Orlandi, especially when she worked upon The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh.
The sound achieved by Ortolani on this score is certainly different from, say, The Yellow Rolls Royce and is a delight from beginning to end. Even track number 8, a western saloon sounding cue, is enjoyable. This has to be one of Hexacords best releases, the sound quality art work and overall presentation are excellent. It’s is a limited edition compact disc, which has also been issued as a very limited edition LP for collectors.