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.

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