The Italian western genre was a popular one and a collection of movies that left their mark on cinema, the influences of the Italian made westerns are far reaching and are still today utilised in certain scenarios. Its an odd thing that even younger cinema goers that maybe have not seen an Italian made western still get the parody of camera work or a mock gunfight scene when it is used in a contemporary movie. The music too has also had much influence of film scoring in general, and even today composers will try to emulate or imitate the sound of the spaghetti western to create certain emotions and moods. The quirky and innovative style of Italian western scores I think will never go away, it will remain forever in the minds of cinema goers old and new. There were many western produced in Italy from the early 1960.s through to the 1980’s some good some bad and some very ugly. The majority of the scores for these spaghetti sagebrush sagas have now been released but it’s surprising that there are still a fistful that remain unreleased, one such score is by a composer who I think was involved with around 99 percent of the scores on Italian westerns, not always as a composer, but sometimes as a whistler, a guitarist and a choir master and vocalist.

Alessandro Alessandroni was the whistler on Morricone’s Dollar Trilogy and many other scores by the Maestro, he was also the leader of the famed Il Cantori Moderni, who performed on so many scores in Italy (not just westerns) that it is impossible to make mention of all of them. Alessandro was also a gifted composer in his own right a Maestro, who scored many movies. One western that he was involved with was El Puro, ( La Taglia E Tua ….L’Uomo L’Ammazzo Io) (1969), which has never received an original score release, yes there was a re-recording released which featured Alessandroni many years ago which contained an extended suite of music from the movie, but the original session recordings have never been issued.


The central theme is very much in the style of A Fistful Of Dollars with underlying influences taken from The Good The Bad and The Ugly, as in the opening drum beat, with the core theme being whistled flawlessly by the composer and accompanied by harmonica possibly played by Franco De Gemini, and organ maybe played by Bruno Nicolai, with the added support of a galloping percussion that is bolstered by Il Cantori Moderni, c and interspersed by barking male voices and electric guitar that are all underlined and tied together with strings. In fact, I suppose that one could refer to this as text-book Spaghetti western. The theme which is primarily a five-note motif is repeated throughout the score either performed in whistling form or given a rendition on electric guitar. There is also a secondary theme in the form of a lilting and romantic sounding Spanish guitar solo that is enhanced with subdued sounding organ both this and the core theme for the soundtrack make appearances throughout in various arrangements, the core theme being given a slower tempo at times and performed by harmonica and aided by a scattering of brass.

Directed by Edoardo Mulargia, El Puro, starred genre stalwart Robert Woods, his character is something of a down and out at the beginning of the movie, he is a drunk and hiding away in a small border village scared of his own shadow and portraying himself as an individual that fears everything even his own shadow. What we learn as the movie’s plot opens up is that in fact the Woods character is a famous gunslinger who is hiding away from the many would be gunfighters that want to make a name for themselves by killing him. So, he hides away in a perpetual state of intoxication in the hope that it will shield him from being found. His only support and compassion coming from a saloon girl Rosie who has recognised him, she decides to help him and takes him in to get him back to health in the hope that they can make a life together. Unbeknown to Rosie and El Puro a sadistic gang leader Gypsy portrayed by Marco Fiorini under the alias of Ashburn Hamilton jnr, who has recently escaped prison arrives in the village with his band of cutthroats looking for El Puro not knowing how low he has sunk. Gypsy is determined to find him and kill him for his own pleasure and collect the 1.000 dollar reward that is still on his head. It is here that we can possibly make comparisons with El Puro and For A Few Dollars More, as Gypsy is in many ways like El Indio the villain of the Leone movie.


Rosie is killed by Gypsy and his gang, and it is now time for El Puro to return to avenge her. It’s not a classic Spaghetti western but it certainly has some interesting twists and turns and there is no doubt it is an entertaining example within the genre. Alessandroni’s style is distinctive with the instantly recognisable whistle being his trademark sound. He is a gifted guitar player and performed Sitar, piano and mandolin on many occasions and provided vocals on so many soundtracks it is difficult to comprehend this Maestro’s boundless contributions to the art of film music. El Puro is crying out for an official soundtrack release, it is a score that is on a par with many others within the genre, including the works of Morricone, Nicolai, Cipriani, Fidenco, and De Masi.




The following article was published originally on movie music international on April 23rd 2022. (c) April/23rd/2022. It was as a courtesy to another writer removed as he was working on a project linked to it. However this courtesy by MMI has now been withdrawn and this post will appear in the MMI line up of articles, reviews etc. The article remains the property of Movie music international and the author John Mansell, and any unauthorised copying or use of this article, or part of it will be looked upon as an infringement of copyright and appropriate action will be taken relating to copyright law.

There are so many film scores old and new that do not for some reason get a commercial release, in this new series about unreleased scores we here at MMI will attempt to uncover and bring to your attention many such works.



Movie Music International. (c) 23/04/2022.

There is something to be said about low budget movies especially it seems if they are of the horror variety. I often find that the lower the budget the better the end results, if that makes any sense whatsoever, I think it’s a case of limited budget so the filmmaker has to do that little bit more or go that extra mile to make a movie that will be convincing and also at the same time entertaining for audiences, a lower budget often requiring the director or producer to become even more inventive and innovative. I am not however saying that all low budget movies are worth watching, but there are a handful of exceptions that are not only surprising but very entertaining.

The horror anthology Beyond Dark Dreams, (2021) is a movie I would urge you to try and watch, and not just for the images on screen, it’s very confident direction or its offbeat storyline. But also, for its impressive musical score, which is the work of young composer/musician Matt Cannon, who wrote, produced and performed the music. His score comes across as an infectious sounding work, with haunting melodies radiating from cues that start out as atonal compositions. It is also a well-balanced work, with the composer fusing both action, atonal and romantic sounding cues with consummate ease.

On listening to the score, I found that it evoked several of the early horror soundtracks that came out of Italy, when I say early, I am not saying the work of director Mario Bava or indeed any other directors who were active in creating the suspense filled horrors from Cinecitta or composers who were also active during the pre-1970’s period such as Carlo Rustichelli (The Long Hair of Death) or Roberto Nicolosi,(Evil Eye, Black Sabbath) but I am thinking more of the steamy and sensual styles as employed by synth/rock band Goblin,(Suspiria) the eloquent yet marvelously atonal works of Stelvio Cipriani, (The Blood Stained Shadow) the jazz influenced easy listening but edgy compositions of Giuliano Sorgini, (The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue) and to a degree Bruno Nicolai (Throne of Fire, Il Conte Dracula, La Notte Che Evelyn Isci Della Tomba) who were all active during the 1970’s scoring horror and Giallo pictures.

There is a malevolent style running through Cannon’s music, that effectively puts one on edge and sends chills up and down your spine. In fact, this otherworldly and unnerving music could easily be taken from an Italian horror directed by the likes of Dario Argento, Jesus Franco, or George A Romero, it has within its perimeters an abundance of atmospheric sounds, which evoke perfectly a sound and style that was realized via synths and electronic instrumentation during the 1970’s and 1980’s by composers such as those already mentioned and also the likes of Wendy Carlos in films such as The Shining.

Matt Cannon.

There is a dark, foreboding, and anxious mood present throughout this score which is effective both in the movie and remains appealing as just music to listen to, ok at times one might be tempted to turn the sound down and check under the bed when listening to the score, but it is still for any film music fan a rewarding listening experience. The composers use of harpsichord sound and organ like passages within the work is stunning and very effective, the spidery and creepy sounds sending out sinister chills and immersing and enhancing the action on screen in sinister and virulent atmospherics. Cannon, adds to this already unnerving mix quirky and uneasy effects, plus sounds that surprise and unsettle the listener. It is a fully synthetic/electronic work, but one would not realize this just on the initial listen as the sounds are at times quite full and even lush giving the impression of being performed by conventional instrumentation.

The use of harpsichord adding much to the proceedings and successfully establishing a ghostlike and chilling persona to the work. (shades of Bruno Nicolai’s La Dama Rossa Uccide Sette Volte). I am hoping that a full soundtrack maybe issued in the future as it is a score so deserving of this and one that I know collectors of horror scores would adore. Matt Cannon is a composer who has worked up until now on low budget horror movies, but each time I hear one of his scores I feel he is evolving and developing as he grows musically and creating interesting and entertaining scores on a regular basis, which as we all know is quite rare these days especially within the horror genre. His style is advancing and establishing itself becoming more and more evident as his career in scoring movies moves on, and I am sure he is a composer who we will be hearing a lot more of in the not-too-distant future. His score for Force to Fear is one to also watch out for, it has to it an eighties retro vibe, and as well as action laced, and dramatic sounding cues contains upbeat and infectiously up- tempo pieces throughout. Although it is another fairly low budget affair being released on Blu-ray, Force to Fear is a well-polished and entertaining production and pays attention to creating realistic fight sequences whilst at the same time focusing upon creating authentic sets and introducing characters that could have been plucked straight from the 1980’s.

The score for Force to Fear will be released soon on compact disc by the ever industrious label Howlin’ Wolf Records in the USA. Who specialise in releasing scores from horror movies. At the moment you can listen to selections from Matt’s score for Beyond Dark Dreams online at the Bandcamp streaming site. Matt Cannon, is also an actor, but prefers to work as a composer, he began scoring low budget films in 2015 when he provided the music for MILF’S vs Zombies, he followed this in 2017 by scoring the (Trespasser’s segment) of 10/31.

He has since 2015 worked on approximately fifteen synth-based film scores, all of which have predominately been within the Horror genre. The style that he employs is at times highly original, but at times we do hear little nods and acknowledgements to the likes of composers such as Jay Chattaway, Alan Silvestri, Brad Fiedel, Harold Faltermeyer, and Alan Howarth. Which is not a bad thing, as we all know just how successful and influential these composers became.