I think if anyone produced a documentary today that included the subject matter of Il Malamondo, many would think they might be just a little un-hinged.  When viewed now the film comes over as an outdated documentary-curio. The director Paolo Cavara released the film during what I suppose could be his formative years and as an inexperienced film maker. It was released at the time of his home country Italy was experiencing economic growth which was nicknamed a boom in the country’s fortunes. The film is basically a trip around the world (well mainly Europe as in France, Switzerland, Sweden, and the UK), documenting the strange and unpredictable behaviour of the younger generation. The film also used language that nowadays would not be PC but back in the day was perfectly acceptable (or so they told us). Il Malamondo or Funny World as the movie was often titled outside of Italy, is a collection of basically stupid practices, in Italy the film focuses upon the well-known singer Adriano Celentano performing in a piazza in Rome, Celentano was very popular during the 1960’s, and also stayed in demand through to the 1970.s because of his ability to impersonate the sound of American rock and roll, he even gained a certain amount of popularity in the UK disco’s of the mid 1970’s with his song Prisencolinensinainciusol, which was released on Epic records. Many of the singer’s fans in Italy looked upon him as their hero because he was seen as someone who was standing up for Italian youth. But things changed for him during the 1990’s when he was exposed as a fraud and not really adhering the values that he was promoting to others.

It is a chronicle of strange and shocking customs from various countries, including a dangerous game played by French students. The documentary reached its conclusion with a partial striptease performed on a beach, and was utilized as the films end credits, complete with a vocal entitled ’Questi vent’anni miei’, which had music by Ennio Morricone, and was performed by Catherine Spaak.

The song never appeared on the soundtrack recording, but on American editions of the original LP recording on the Epic label (BN 26126) a vocal entitled Funny World, which was sung by American vocalist Ken Coleman with English lyrics by Alan Brandt was featured.  Music played an important part within the documentary, and Morricone’s rhythmic and catchy score was a mix of pop orientated compositions and dramatic and romantic pieces that weaved in and out of the unusual happenings on scree at times being amusing and even used as a type of ridicule of the scenarios.

He scored ten movies in 1964 it was also the year of A Fistful of Dollars, and a year which brought us other creative works such as, El Greco, I Maniaci, In Ginocchio Da Teand Prima Della Rivoluzione, the latter being directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. In my opinion I Malamondo, was probably the most inventive score from that year, apart from A Fistful of Dollars. The composer created mad cap sounds, frantic Bossa nova beats and luxurious sounding romantic themes.

Even now when I listen to I Malamondo I find it entertaining, and although there is a kind of sixties pop vibe to much of the score, it is one that stands out within Morricone’s body of work for film, this was the beginning of the Morricone sound, the start of an age of film music that was to develop and progress and will endure for centuries. I Malmondo has so many highlight cues that it would be difficult to single out any as being superior to the other, we are treated to the attractive Penso a te with its inviting electric guitar solo, and the harmonious and haunting trumpet solo of Michele Lacerenza, both of which are underlined with percussion and laced with strings to give it a romantic and endearing musical persona.

The upbeat and richly percussive L’ultima volta, with choir and sprightly sounding organ, again laced with strings and punctuated by electric bass and vibrant piano with the core theme being manipulated and performed by electric guitar, which itself is supported by flyaway and wistful strings. This is the sixties sound of Ennio Morricone. It is arguably one of the most diverse scores written by the composer during this period (1964) and was a score that basically showed off the Maestro’s flair and capability to create inventive, comedic, and innovative music. It was also a score that showcased the composer’s style and sound which was from both the world of film music and pop music.

The score was performed by many popular musicians of the time, Lacerenza as I have already mentioned on trumpet, but also fellow trumpet player Nunzio Rotondo played on a handful of tracks, with Franco de Gemini providing the harmonica parts. The choral work was provided by both Nora Orlandi and her 4+4 coro and Alessandroni’s Il Cantori Moderni and featured the unique and mesmerizing vocalising of Edda Del Orso. The score was re-issued by CAM onto compact disc, and then received a further release which was expanded from twenty tracks to thirty-two cues in 2021 and released on vinyl and made available on digital platforms. I am certain that the majority of Ennio Morricone devotees have at least one edition of this soundtrack in their collection, it is simply a must have score.   


Top Sensation aka The Seducers.

Ulla is a prostitute and is hired by the despicable Mudy who the is mother of the shy and mentally disturbed 20-year-old Tony who has a tendency towards pyromania. Ulla is invited on a sea cruise where she is meant to “take” Tony’s virginity. Also invited on the cruise are the provocative Paula and her husband Aldo, who are constantly striving to win the favour of a wealthy woman in hope of obtaining an oil concession. Despite her efforts, Ulla has no effect on the young man until the yacht stops on a Mediterranean island inhabited only by a goat herder and his wife, Beba. Tony is attracted to her, but little by little his mental disorders arise, and the story ends in tragedy. That’s the rather flimsy and offbeat synopsis of the Erotic/drama/thriller movie Top Sensation or The Seducers which was released in 1969.  

But it’s not really the film I am concerned with here but the score which is by Italian Maestro Sante Maria Romitelli who was a composer that was active throughout the 1960’s and into the 1980’s providing a variety of music for cinema and TV productions. Romitelli’s trademark being the use of organ and upbeat percussive backing tracks within his scores. He like many other composers during the 1960’s and 1970’s in Italy worked on Italian produced westerns including Gods Gun and Spara Gringo Spara, both of which contained brilliant sounding musical scores. Gods Gun sadly remains unreleased we are told that the tapes were destroyed, but who knows they could just turn up in studio one day (with extra cues even). Spara Gringo Spara was originally released on a CAM LP record and then later received a much-deserved CD release on Hillside/GDM.

Romitelli’s non-western scores such as Top Sensation, are filled with groovy and hip sounding lounge and easy listening cues, to which he adds a dramatic content when the picture calls for it, its an easy going sound that contains lilting themes and laid-back passages, that at times erupt into fast paced big band brassy sounding affairs. Which is something that many Italian composers would employ as in Trovajoli, Pisano, Nicolai, Marchetti, and even on occasion Morricone. Romitelli treats us to some sublime sounding jazz influenced cues throughout the score and delivers lilting and haunting themes such as the cue entitled Tema di Beba, which is a piece for woods, guitar, and organ, within the make up this cue one can just pick out the elements that go to fashion Tema di Stark in his Spara Gringo Spara score, but on this occasion, he restricts them to subtle and affecting tone poems.

Romitelli also composed a wonderfully alluring and sensual sounding score for La Rossa Dalla Pelle Che Scotta in which the composer utilised the flawless voice of Edda Dell Orso, in the very Morricone-esque sounding Bambole Sensuali. Top Sensation is a fast paced and foot tapping musical affair, pop orientated, blues and jazz infused and dramatically driving. This is a case of the music being far superior to the film it was written for. Top Sensation or The Seducers is available on digital platforms, find it, play it, love it.



Sepolta Viva, (Woman Buried Alive) is a period drama directed by Aldo Lado and was released in Italy in 1973. The movie itself although very good and having an intriguing storyline and containing memorable performances from the likes of Agostina Belli and Maurizio Bonuglia failed to entice audiences into cinemas but has since become a movie of interest amongst certain film buffs. The films plot focuses upon Christina a young and beautiful woman who is the daughter of a fisherman who marries Duke Philippe. But the Duke’s brothers, see that after the marriage they would miss out on any inheritance, so they decide to get rid of the woman by imprisoning her in a tower and convince the duke that Christina has died.

The score is one that in my opinion stands out from many of the works that were penned by Ennio Morricone for the cinema during the early part of the 1970’s.

 It is a soundtrack that I have had in my collection for years, firstly on a BEAT records LP, and then with a CD release from the same label that paired it with two sections from Morricone’s The Antichrist score (1974) which had been released as a 45rpm single on BEAT. 

Sepolta Viva is Ennio Morricone at his emotive and mysteriously elusive best, the score is filled with melancholy and overflowing with a rich and tender abundance of romantically laced themes. This fully symphonic and classical sounding work is a must have item for any Morricone fan and even now stands as one of the Maestro’s finer works from this decade. There are so many themes within the score, each containing their own unique sound and musical persona, but at the same time all having the unmistakable musical stamp of Morricone. Plus having to them an elegance and opulent sound and style. We are treated to lush love themes that are luxurious and haunting, chamber slanted works that are delicate and low key which are complimented by darker and more dramatic and shadowy sounding pieces.

The composer utilizes solo piano, melodic and romantic sounding woods which are underpinned by light use of organ and sliding strings in the opening of the first cue Romanza A Christina, this slight but affecting introduction soon builds with the string section becoming fuller and swelling to become the main element of the piece. The strings then take on fully the core theme and enhanced by piano start to develop this to an even greater level, the strings rising and bringing to life the affecting and expressive theme until it dominates. A theme that is utilized in other places during the score, with Morricone presenting it in varying arrangements, including solo violin performances, and woodwind renditions becoming more prominent.


There is an intimacy and a fragility to the work which makes it even more endearing and effective. The subtle shades and gentle tone poems being perfect for the storyline and its various scenarios, again as with most of Morricone’s romantically laced works, it is also highly listenable and entertaining away from the images on screen. Within the work we can hear that this is undeniably Morricone, a sound that has been utilised in many other scores, a sound that is instantly recognisable and one that is also totally absorbing, and heartrending.

Asperges Me Vidi Aqum,

There is no choral work to speak of within the score, which is unusual for a Morricone score from this period apart from track number twelve on the soundtrack release, entitled Asperges Me Vidi Aqum, that is performed acapella by female vocalists.

But beautiful harp and harpsichord work is heard throughout which fashion a sophisticated and alluring air, piano passages and heart melting violin solos are also featured, the instruments combining at times but also being performed solo to create mesmerising moments in an already enchanting and stunning work.

This is music that beguiles and hypnotises, adds emotion, and gives greater depth and atmosphere to the storyline being acted out on screen. It is without a doubt another one of Morricone’s evergreen scores, but one that is very rarely spoken of like Questa Specie di Amore, and La Due Stagione della Vita. We hear throughout this richly thematic work echoes of earlier scores such as La Califfa, with hints of themes and the use of orchestration that would also become part of the Maestro’s unique and undeniably attractive musical fingerprint. We also hear nuances and sounds that we would experience in later years within Once Upon a Time in America, The Mission, The Banker, and Cinema Paradiso, it is like so many of the composer’s soundtracks from the 1970’s, film music gold.


HAPPY HORROR-DAYS EVERYONE. Come in dont be shy, …Take a seat or why not cozy up on the couch with your favourite soundtracks from a plethora of horror tales that are filled with festive frolics which are festooned with macabre and chilling trimmings. Are you sitting comfortably……. Lets Begin.

Howlin Wolf  Records wish you all a Happy Horror-days with their release of the music from the anthology Deathcember, available now for shipping,

Will you dare to open the door?

DEATHCEMBER, is a holiday-themed horror anthology series soundtrack, with an international ensemble of renowned composers, directors, and actors. Produced by Dominic Saxl, Ivo Scheloske, and Frank Vogt, DEATHCEMBER brings to life a feature-length advent calendar – each door a portal to terror and demented holiday fun! So, will you dare to open the door?

The DEATHCEMBER “Main Theme” and “Suite” are composed by award-winning composer Andrew Scott Bell, performed by the Budapest Scoring Orchestra with Péter Illényi conducting, featuring oboe soloist Judit Borzsonyi, and clarinet soloist Gyorgy Ree. The melodic and sweeping opening theme adds the perfect sense of enchantment and wonder for the advent season. In addition, Andrew Scott Bell composes the transition suites that wind through the score like a snake in the guise of holiday ribbon. Segment scores are a brilliant mix of amazing international talent from Belgium, Canada, Germany, Serbia, UK, and USA. among others, showcasing the talents of composers Andrew Scott Bell, Stephan Nicolas, Nemanja Mosurovic, Jeffrey Peter Mayhew, The NightStalker, Michael Kaufmann, Eduardo Daniel Victoria, Steffen Britzke, Dag Lerner, Nikola Nikita Jeremic, Medhat Hanbali, Erik Lutz, Peter Litvin, Dirk Steffan Buro, and Michael Kohlbecker.

The DEATHCEMBER soundtrack comes with a 32-page booklet including a foreword by producers Dominic Saxl, Ivo Scheloske, and Frank Vogt along with a note from segment director Sam Wineman about his friend and collaborator, Andrew Scott Bell. In addition, the booklet features notes by composers Stephan Nicolas, Jeffrey Peter Mayhew, Michael Kaufmann, Eduardo Daniel Victoria, Nikola Nikita Jeremic, Medhat Hanbali, and Dirk Steffan Buro, all beautifully packaged in a jewel case with exquisite artwork by Adrian Keindorf (booklet cover), Flavio Greco Paglia (booklet back), and art direction and designs by the magnificent Luis Miguel Rojas.

And whilst you are ordering this ominous horror soundtrack why not take a look at other festive horror scores that we know Yule love…

Silent Night Deadly Night, 2 CD set.

You’ve made it through Halloween, now try and survive Christmas.

This two-Disc Set for the 35th Anniversary of SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. Disc One is the complete score by Grammy-winning composer Perry Botkin and Disc Two contains the songs written for the film by renowned songwriter and singer Morgan Ames. This is a very limited repressing available for a limited time …these will not last long!

On November 9th of 1984, a mentally-tortured and deranged Santa was unleashed on an unwitting public, and the result was a mayhem of whimsically evil holiday fun that thrills horror film lovers annually. The film also provoked the ire of those who wanted to censor the concept of an unhinged Santa. Screenwriter Michael Hickey sardonically recalls, “America’s moral guardians decided that nobody of any age should be permitted to see any entertainment that was not suitable for a six-year-old child.”

The concept for a killer Santa was the creative muse of film producers Scott Schneid and Dennis Whitehead and brought to life for celluloid by screenwriter Michael Hickey and director Charles E. Sellier, Jr. ..The film follows Billy Chapman from his disturbing encounters with malevolent grandfather Chapman through the horrific murders of both of his parents by an evil Santa on the lam. Afterwards Billy and his brother are sent to an orphanage with a stern disciplinarian Mother Superior (brilliantly played by Lilyan Chauvin), and Billy finally lands at the toy store with the bumbling Mr. Sims, who after having him dress up as Santa, finally sends Billy over the edge as a Santa who has EVERYONE on his “naughty” list!

The score by composer Perry Botkin is a classic electronic score from the ’80’s that is truly one of the most celebrated elements of this perennial cult classic. The composer recounts, “I’d never seen a slasher movie in my life until I watched SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, so I had no preconception about what a slasher/horror score should sound like, or what other horror composers had done in the past or were doing at that time. I just sat down with my Mac Plus, banged away, and out came the score.” …And what came out is a brilliant mash-up of frenzied horror cacophony blended with melodious euphony, and a virtual carnival funhouse of electronic holiday madness. As an added treat, the release features a second disc with all of the songs written by Morgan Ames, which throughout the film add just the right touch to contrast the merriment of Christmas against the backdrop of a horror film.

For the SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 35th Anniversary Edition, sound engineer Ian Zapczynski sourced Perry Botkin’s score from the 192 kHz direct transfers of the composer’s original analog master tapes, with the tape-to-digital transfers supervised by Howlin’ Wolf Records at Avatar Studios in NYC. It was important to salvage every piece of audio that would be of interest to soundtrack collectors, and at the highest audiophile-grade quality possible, securing this as the definitive edition of the complete SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT soundtrack set on CD. All tracks for Perry Botkin’s score were fully remastered from the flat tape transfers, and digital restoration techniques were used where necessary, with care to remain faithful to the high quality of the master recording. In addition, two short tracks that were not previously released are added to the tracklist, including the film’s opening “Santa’s Watching.” The construct for this soundtrack edition centers around the original mixes used in the film and the alternate mixes prepared for an ’80’s LP release that never came to fruition. Each alternate mix contains audible differences from its corresponding track, most notably a heavier use of reverb and stereo separation on the tracks mixed for the never released ’80’s LP.

Howlin’ Wolf Records’ 35th Anniversary Release for SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT is a pressing of 300 CDs, featuring the unforgettable original poster art for the film, a 20-page deluxe booklet with liner notes by Co-Executive Producers Scott Schneid & Dennis Whitehead, Screenwriter Michael Hickey, and Composer Perry Botkin, all balanced against a canvas of beautiful designs and vivid imagery by graphic artist and long-time Howlin’ Wolf Records Art Director Luis Miguel Rojas.


JeanMichelNoir’s wickedly delightful score for GOOD TIDINGS is filled like a Christmas stocking with mayhem and menacing holiday cheer. Evil Santa’s everywhere, beware, there is a new and more terrifying breed of unremorseful and sinister Santa à la the Christmas shocker GOOD TIDINGS! To up the ante, there is not one, but three, twisted masked killers to flee – a trinity of terror! The most malevolent Father Christmas of the troupe is none other than composer JeanMichelNoir, indulging one of his other creative passions as an actor, filmmaker, and storyteller. He discusses the intent to make a film that was “straight-up unapologetic horror” with a performance as the “scariest bad guy” possible. There is no spoiler in proclaiming, mission accomplished!

JeanMichelNoir, self-described as the “playful demon,” is one of the creative entities who live within Liverpool artist, composer, musician, filmmaker, and actor Liam Ashcroft. Ashcroft is a prolific artist and creator who moves seamlessly between the inner creative forces that drive him. Be it JeanMichelNoir (the composer), Mugsmasher (the political activist), or Liam Ashcroft (the master for channeling all internal creative forces), the output is always an unbridled fury of fierce originality!

GOOD TIDINGS has the progressive operatic feel of Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells,” and JeanMichelNoir credits Goldsmith’s “Ave Satani” as an influence, using his voice to chant woeful Latin-translated phrases to fashion a “scary carol.” Whatever the influences, they are molded, twisted, and contorted into a form that is distinctively JeanMichelNoir.

GOOD TIDINGS features a 16-page booklet with liner notes by composer JeanMichelNoir and beautiful original cover art by Austin Hinderliter (Creepy Carves). The packaging is exquisitely designed by acclaimed Howlin’ Wolf Records Art Director Luis Miguel Rojas weaving a tapestry of psycho-Santa promo shots from the film with vibrant imagery of the composer in a colorful giallo-infused style.


Silent Night – Scary Night.

Chime in the holidays in style with SILENT NIGHT by award-winning composer Kevin Riepl (CABIN FEVER: PATIENT ZERO, CONTRACTED, ABCs OF DEATH). Featuring dark ambient chills, orchestral thrills and holiday sleigh bells, Riepl’s score puts a foreboding spin on the perennial classic “Silent Night.” Commenting on Riepl’s music for SILENT NIGHT, director Steven C. Miller heralds, “Kevin’s score is visceral, emotional, and straight up brutal. Working with him has clearly elevated the film.”

SILENT NIGHT is a loose remake of the horror classic SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. The film’s stellar cast includes Malcolm McDowell (Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE), Jaime King (SIN CITY, MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D), Donal Logue (SHARK NIGHT 3D, BLADE), Lisa Marie (SLEEPY HOLLOW), Brendan Fehr (FINAL DESTINATION, X-MEN FIRST CLASS), and Ellen Wong (SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD). McDowell and King star as a small-town sheriff and deputy on the hunt for a murderous Santa Claus terrorizing their community on Christmas Eve. But with the streets full of Santas for the annual Christmas parade, the killer is hiding in plain sight. He’s made his list, checked it twice, and the naughty are going to pay with their lives.

The score is expanded and remastered by David McConnell at Thread Audio.

SILENT NIGHT features an 8-page booklet with liner notes by composer Kevin Riepl and wickedly festive designs by Luis Miguel Rojas. For a limited time orders placed on the Howlin’ Wolf Records website will ship with an additional insert booklet autographed by composer Kevin Riepl. This offer is available while supplies last.

Better Watch Out.

You might be Home, but you’re not Alone.

The score for BETTER WATCH OUT is the work of the acclaimed composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Brian Cachia. The score is performed by the Bratislava Studio Symphony conducted by Vladimir Martinka and concludes with a somber arrangement of “Carol of the Bells,” featuring Mark Buys on guitar.

BETTER WATCH OUT is a horror/dark comedy written and directed by Chris Peckover, which has been described stylistically as a HOME ALONE inspired romp in the mold of a Tarantino film. The film stars young Australian actors Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller, and Ed Oxenbould, and features performances by well-known Hollywood actors Patrick Warburton (SCREAM 3) and Virginia Madsen (CANDYMAN). DeJonge and Oxenbould delivered standout performances in M. Night Shyamalan’s THE VISIT, and again in BETTER WATCH OUT, now with another remarkable young actor Levi Miller (PAN). Rounding out the cast of impressive up-and-coming actors are Aleks Mikic and Dacre Montgomery (STRANGER THINGS).

The music for BETTER WATCH OUT embodies everything that is wonderful about Christmas-themed horror films with orchestral music that ranges in musical texture from melodic and sentimental, to whimsical, to dark and foreboding. Brian Cachia sparingly and effectively accents with sleigh bells and chimes to ring in the wicked holiday mayhem.

BETTER WATCH OUT features a 12-page insert booklet with liner notes discussing the composer, director, cast, and score, all beautifully packaged with designs by Howlin’ Wolf Records Art Director Luis Miguel Rojas.

A Cadaver Christmas.

Ring in this Christmas season with William Campbell’s lively and entertaining score for the yuletide zombie romp, A CADAVER CHRISTMAS, directed by Joseph Zerull. William Campbell is a composer, pianist and improviser whose music has been performed throughout North America by orchestras, chamber groups, vocalists, in theater productions, and can be heard in the documentary, “Finding Face” (Spin Film). As a pianist he has performed with multiple new music groups including the acclaimed Sonoran Consort. His first solo piano CD, simply titled, “Piano Songs,” was released in 2011. Campbell is the recipient of numerous composition awards, as well as a member of ASCAP and CCLI, and is a board member of the Iowa Composers Forum, helping to organize festivals of contemporary music. He earned degrees from the University of Arizona (B.M.), the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (M.M.), and the University of Oregon (Ph.D.).

A CADAVER CHRISTMAS features a fun, rhythmically-brooding score that takes the listener on a journey through a demented holiday soundscape blending the aura of classic horror and science fiction with the sounds of Christmas!

A CADAVER CHRISTMAS is beautifully packaged featuring an 8-page booklet showcasing cover artwork by The Dude Designs with colorful and haunting designs by graphic artist Luis Miguel Rojas. For a limited time orders will ship with an additional insert booklet autographed by composer William Campbell.

Hurry and get your Christmas Horror lists in, Santa and his elves are already busy.



A new quartet of CD releases from the Spanish soundtrack label Quartet records have been announced, Frenzy by Ron Goodwin and Henry Mancini, A 4 CD set of Elmer Bernstein’s Magnificent 7 scores, an expanded Mary Queen of Scots by John Barry and last but certainly not least an expanded version of Ennio Morricone’s The Sicilian Clan, all good scores in fact all I think are worthy of that much overused “Iconic” label in their own particular and unique way.

Frenzy is a great release containing both the music of Goodwin and Mancini, the latter’s score being rejected by Hitchcock and replaced by the Goodwin soundtrack.

The release is a tribute to both composers who were indeed giants in film music and both were active in the easy listening and cover version market, both composers releasing compilation albums during the 1960’s and 1970’s containing evergreen favourites and arrangements of their own film themes and also the work of other composers for film. The release marks the film’s 50th Anniversary and it is considered by many to be one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best movies.

This is a premiere release of both score’s and I know will be a welcome addition to any film music connoisseurs collection.

In 1971 John Barry composed a regal, haunting and wonderfully thematic score for Mary Queen of Scots, now thanks to Quartet we can savor even more of the composer’s music from the production, originally released on an LP record at the time of the film’s release this is an expanded edition of the now classic score by the British composer. The original recording ran for just under thirty minutes, and the subsequent (bootleg) of the score on CD also having the same duration when it was released alongside Anne of the Thousand Days by Georges Delerue a few years ago. This is a stunning edition of the work having been remastered and a staggering fifty-three tracks including the original album cues and the original score and source tracks. It is I think one of the composers best scores from the 1970’s.

It also boasts a twenty-page booklet and liner notes by John Burlingame who is an authority on John Barry. Totally recommended. Any Elmer Bernstein score is always welcome in my book, but a set of four compact discs containing his superb soundtracks for The Magnificent Seven cycle of movies is a sheer delight.  

The collection is lovingly produced, restored, and mastered by Chris Malone, the package designed by Nacho B. Govantes comes with cover art created by Jim Titus and a thirty six-page booklet with an in-depth essay by the well-known and respected music writer Frank K. De Wald. It includes music from all four movies in the series that were released between 1960 and 1972, it is one that you must own.

The only release in this foursome that I am suspicious of is The Sicilian Clan, this is a classic Morricone score, and probably one of my favourites from him. Suspicious you say surely not!!!!! Why? Well I will tell you, all the time the Maestro was alive any re-issue of this was restricted to the ten or sometimes eleven tracks that were available originally, firstly the LP release and then later on subsequent re-issues on CD, then there is the eleven cue edition on digital platforms, the score I am sure was originally owned by CAM with Morricone exercising his right as a composer many times about re-issues of the score. But then Sugar took over the CAM catalogue and we saw it re-issued again. Many record labels and producers enquired over the years about extra music and were I am told that there was no extra music which is something I believe and still do, so now suddenly up pops a quartet release supposedly expanded and taken from master tapes that were supplied from a source in Italy, now this is where it gets complicated, because each time I criticize this source named in the releases info and its authenticity I get threats of a legal proceedings, so all I will say is the extra cues could well come from the American release of the film, which Morricone supposedly wrote extra music for, but if that is the case why would those tapes be in Italy? Unless they are from Morricone’s own archive, and is this another case of the computer being utilized to create tracks from existing material as we have witnessed in past releases on various Italian based labels? I will add that if these are from the American version of the movie, great, fantastic and I am wrong I apologize,  but I have seen that cut of the movie and I cannot recall there being that much extra music and certainly not a track that resembles an easy listening cue which could easily be taken from any Morricone score from the 1960’s.

I am in no way disrespecting the Maestro, or the score for The Sicilian Clan, as there is NO doubt at all that this is an iconic work from the Maestro and a truly expanded release of the score would be a fitting tribute to his memory, it’s just that I am doubtful of how these extra cues have been unearthed after so many years of other record labels and producers asking for them,  the Maestro passes away and low and behold, hallelujah and hosanna there is extra music available now. Would Morricone have written extra cues for a film that was to be released outside of Italy seeing as he was being ignored in America at this time by filmmakers etc, who up until the 1990’s looked upon him as a second-rate composer?

Well Maybe, could they have been added but not by Morricone? Because two at least do sound like cover versions of the core theme from the score, again possible. Maybe the label will answer, maybe they will provide concrete proof that these tracks are authentic, maybe the devil will play snowballs in hades, and then hell will freeze over who knows? I point this out because IF it is not music from the movie and just put together on a computer or cover versions this is a case of misleading collectors and that is not right.

On examination of just two of the “Expanded cues” I and another person who is well versed in production of soundtracks noted that there were two varying sounding tracks, and maybe these had been badly pitched up or pitched down recordings of existing cues that had been edited together, then there are other cues that on closer examination do not even sound as if they are being performed by the same musicians, these extra tracks sounding less professional and polished, having to them a rawness, maybe they were demos or Morricone decided not to use them? Quartet are well known for releasing great titles and it’s brilliant that they can, their visual presentation is vibrant and colourful but the sound and the authenticity of some of these (mainly Italian scores) or at least certain cues from them are for me at least suspect.

Roma Come Chicago is a release of theirs that comes to mind with the sound being dull and having fluctuating sound levels that drop in and out from track to track, as well as having significant chatter and distortion on several the cues. In fact, I remarked at the time that the Bootleg recording of the score which had been doing the rounds for many years sounded far superior and had more music. I feel and I have to be honest here as I am a film music critic who hopefully does not mislead collectors because I am a collector also, the score for The Sicilian Clan is one of Morricone’s best, but the way in which this edition has been presented as in “EXTRA” music is not quite ringing true with me, so I would say if you have the score and love it stick with your copy,(sometimes less is more) maybe if you have not got this in your collection it could be a nice addition to your soundtrack stock, or even go online and take a listen on any of the digital platforms.

However, the artwork is striking the label utilizing the front cover art of the UK LP release of the soundtrack which was on EMI. And notes from writer Jeff Bond.