Category Archives: Sleeve Notes.


  Released on BEAT records. notes are a mixture of original and also edited notes.

BEAT records art work for soundtrack release.

Beat Records proudly presents the fourth volume of music from the BLACK EMANUELLE series, EMANUELLE AROUND THE WORLD (aka Black Emanuelle au tour du monde, Confessions of Emanuelle, Emanuelle – Alle Luste dieser Welt, The Degradation of Emanuelle) was directed in 1977 by well known filmmaker Joe D’Amato and starred the dazzling Laura Gemser in the title role. The movie is enriched by the performances of Ivan Rassimov, Karin Schubert, Don Powell and George Eastman who’s combined efforts add much to the realism and entertainment value of the picture. Because of censorship laws, two versions of the film were shot, the softer and slightly less erotic version being released in Italy, the harder more pornographic version being produced for the remainder of Europe and other foreign countries. The latter contained a number of extra scenes, which were interpreted by Marina Frajese and Rick Martino. The movie was also banned in a handful of countries and at times when screened was heavily edited in others. The famous reporter Emanuelle (Gemser) is always looking for new scoops, so she agrees to meet Cora (Schubert) a colleague that is preparing an article concerning violence against women at a hotel. But Emanuelle falls prey to a rape attempt whilst at the hotel, but thankfully is rescued by Malcolm Robertson (Rassimov) who is the president of an aid-committee that assists third world countries. Emanuelle and Robertson become friends and decide they want to spend time together, but realise that they cannot because of their respective careers. Soon after her friendship with Robertson, Emanuelle flies to India in order to meet a Guru (Eastman) that claims to have found the secret of infinitive sexual pleasure. After a sexual relationship, Emanuelle realises that the Guru is a fake and abandons him. Still in India, Emanuelle makes the acquaintance of Mary. After a lesbian encounter with her she is told a harrowing story about violence inflicted upon women. Along with Cora she decides to go to Rome where a violent gang is kidnapping foreign girls in order to sell them in oriental countries. Emanuelle masquerades as a tourist with two friends of Mary and is lured into a trap and kidnapped by the gang. The women are saved by a friend of Emanuelle and thanks to him the gang is convicted. In the meantime Cora is first menaced and than brutally beaten and raped by people that tell to her to stop her investigations. Emanuelle who at times still meets with Robertson goes to Hong Kong with Cara in order to search for Ilse Braun who is one of the gang leaders. After some time Emanuelle and Cora succeed in uncovering the truth about the women-trade and with the help of a young Emir are successful in having the Prime Minister arrested who it transpires is the head of the entire operation.

Nico Fidenco.

Back in New York, Emanuelle acknowledges that even there, illegal trade in women is being carried out with important people involved . Eventually Emanuelle exposes all of these people and ensures that they are arrested and put behind bars. Finally she sails off on a boat with Robertson. Emanuelle’s erotic adventures have on many occasions been highlighted and ingratiated by the wonderful haunting themes and infectious up beat compositions of Maestro Nico Fidenco. This the fourth chapter in the series was filmed in many locations throughout the world, these included the eternal city of Rome, the bustling and exotic province of Hong Kong, the mysterious country of India and the larger than life metropolis of New York. The composer drew much of his inspiration for the score to EMANUELLE AROUND THE WORLD, from these glamorous and colourful locations and of course the sensual and beautiful form of the movies central character.

In 1977 Beat records released selections from the soundtrack for the first time. These were on a 45rpm single record (Beat BTF103), and also on 33rpm long playing album with 10 tracks (BEAT LPF 039). In 1993 there was a Japanese release of the soundtrack which was on compact disc for the first time (Wave WWCP 7225). Various selections of Fidenco’s music made appearances on a handful of compilations, which were released on both compact disc and vinyl (Dagored RED 101-1/101-2) There was in addition to these releases a CD bonus disc which was issued as part of a 3 DVD box by Severin entitled “Black Emanuelle’s Box Vol.1”.

Emanuelle Around the World
Emanuelle Around the World (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For this brand new de-luxe edition of the soundtrack, BEAT were able to utilise the original stereo masters, these yielded a great deal of unreleased music, in total 23 new tracks which make the length of this new compact disc a staggering 76 minutes and 53 seconds, a running time that will be much appreciated by fans of the composer. The score is orchestrated and directed by Giacomo Dell’Orso, the husband of Edda, who has collaborated with Fidenco on numerous occasions, and is also a long time friend of the composer.
Fidenco’s exotic and pulsating music envelops the listener creating an atmosphere that is totally sensual, the composer produced music that fuses lounge styles and psychedelic influences that are intertwined with romantically laced interludes. Many of the cues are variations on the scores principal theme “A picture of love”, which is the sweet and touching love theme vocalized by Edda Dell Orso. The creativity and originality achieved by Maestro Fidenco never seems to evaporate, each time he manages to re-invent himself, thus remaining fresh and vibrant providing perfect enhancements and musical support for each motion picture within the series. His music is a flawless accompaniment to each and every scene, but at the same time has the ability to entertain and delight away from the images it was originally fashioned for. This compact disc will be listened to again and again and will bring great satisfaction each time. It is an important release and stands as a monument to the work of Maestro Fidenco and a lasting memento of inventive and entertaining cinema that was produced in Italy, and appreciated around the entire world.

Dove vai se il vizietto non ce l’hai? ( Where Can You Go Without the Little Vice?)

Released on BEAT RECORDS, in 2011.(DDJ012)


R-3348371-1326811886 BERTO PISANO.
Composer Berto Pisano, was born on 13th October 1928, in Cagliari, Sardinia Italy. He was the younger Brother of Franco Pisano who also wrote music for motion pictures and television programmes. In my opinion Berto Pisano belongs to the somewhat sizeable list of Italian composers who worked prolifically in film but never attained the recognition that they truly deserved. Composers such as Pisano regularly scored movies that came out of Italy during the 1960,s thru to the 1980,s, he produced soundtracks of infectious and original sounding music that were often far superior to the films for which they were created. Pisano’s style was very much akin to that of fellow composers, Gianni Marchetti, Stelvio Cipriani, Franco Micalizzi, Nico Fidenco, Piero Piccioni and at times Gianni Ferrio. Who were all very productive and active during the same period. Pisano utilized a pop orientated and upbeat sound for many of the movies that he worked upon and fused this style with more dramatic musical colours and sounds, at times employing seductive, steamy jazz slanted melodies to create scores that not only enhanced and supported the movies well, but also worked on another level and became pieces of music in their own right away from the images that they were originally intended to underline. Pisano worked on numerous movie scores and in recent years has become a firm favourite amongst collectors of European film music and after nearly 40 years is finally being appreciated for his originality as a composer and also for his ability as an orchestrator and arranger to create haunting and lasting melodies. Dove vai se il vizietto non ce l’hai? For example, contains a score that is typical of the composer, buoyant and up tempo compositions lay the foundation for the work and these rhythmic and haunting themes dominate throughout, in fact when one listens to the soundtrack it is probably true to say it is more like listening to tracks from a compilation of easy listening music rather than a film score. But this does not take anything away from the quality of Pisano’s soundtrack, in fact it adds to its already high standard and also makes the listening experience a more enjoyable one.

The score has a distinct sound to it and is written and orchestrated in a style that is more or less the spirit of Italian film music from that particular period, haunting, entertaining, romantic and lyrical with touches of drama and mystery I would say describes Pisano’s music perfectly.

Berto Pisano’s most note worthy credits include, KILLER KID (1967), DJANGO KILLS SOFTLY (1968), KILLER KID (1969), ONE AFTER ANOTHER (1969), KILL (1970), STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER (1975), PATRICK STILL LIVES (1979), MALABIMBA (1979) and BURIAL GROUND (1981) The composer collaborated with numerous artists and musicians during his career, Edda Dell Orso, Alessandro Alessandroni and Oscar Valdambrini amongst them.

Dove vai se il vizietto non ce l’hai? (aka-Where can you go without the little vice ?) has a somewhat complicated storyline, but one which is entertaining in the areas of comedy, drama and scenarios of a sexual nature. Released in 1981, this would certainly never even be considered to be worthy of an Oscar, but it is nevertheless a piece of entertaining and amusing cinema. Directed by Marino Girolami under the pseudonym of Franco Martinelli on this occasion. Girolami was involved in a directing, producing or writing capacity on some seventy movies between 1950 and 1982. ANCHE NEL WEST CER’A UNA VOLTA DIO, ZOMBIE HOLACAUST, DUE RINGOS NEL TEXAS, ROMA VIOLENTA and ITALIA A MANO ARMATA among them. He directed under the nom de plume of Frank Martin, Dario Silvestri, Jean Bastide and Fred Wilson to name but a handful.



On this occasion the director manages to steer the cast through a plethora of escapades and fuses all of the plots components with relevant ease considering just how many things are occurring in this chaotic and madcap tale of drama that is fuelled by both erotic and comedic elements. Two private detectives Diogene Colombo (Renzo Montagnani) and his assistant Aroldo (Alvaro Vitali) are approached by a beautiful and alluring woman, Simona (Paola Senatore). She suspects her husband, Commendatore Cesare (Mario Carotenuto) of being unfaithful.



She engages the two unlikely gumshoes to follow him and keep him under close surveillance to find out if her suspicions have any substance. The pair decide that the best way to get close to their target is to disguise themselves and enter into employment within a household, Diogene becoming a waiter or butler and his assistant who has clear homosexual tendencies, decides to dress as a woman and takes on the duties of a maid named Carlotta. What follows is a series of hilarious situations, crazy chases and also numerous encounters of the erotic and sexual kind, all of which combine to make up a disorderly fast paced movie that although is not overwhelmingly good is also not horrendous. Filled with a cast of beautiful young ladies that include Lory del Santo and Angie Vibeker the movie is easy on the eye and also easy on the mind.


  • Released on BEAT records Italy, June 2013



5000 dollari sul asso


LOS PISTOLEROS DE ARIZONA, to give it it’s original Spanish title was released on December 31st1964 and had a number of alternative titles, 5000 DOLLARI SUL’ASSO, in Italy, 5000 DOLLARS ON AN ACE in the U.K. and DIE GEJAGTEN DER SIERRA NEVADA in GERMANY, to highlight just a few. Although produced after Sergio Leone’s A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and Sergio Corbucci’s initial entry into the western arena MINNESOTA CLAY, it became one of the first Spanish/Euro made westerns to be purchased and distributed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer.
Essentially this was a Spanish or “Paella” western but was co-produced by Italian (FIDA-CINEMAFOTOGRAPHICA-ROMA) and German (INTERNATIONALE GERMANA-COLOGNE) film studios, which is something that occurred regularly during the early 1960,s on European productions, the movie however was filmed entirely in Spain on location in the Aragon region of the country and at the Balcazar studios in Barcelona, which had been established by Alfonso Balcazar Granda and his Brother in 1951. Produced by Edmondo Amati and Alfonso Balcazar Granda, 5000 DOLLARI SULL’ASSO was predominately inspired by the westerns that had been made during the 1940,s and 1950,s by American filmmakers and also a handful of German made westerns that had been released in Europe, although a fairly entertaining movie with an active storyline, it was not a movie that could be deemed to be either particularly original or outstanding within the western genre. The film was released at a time when the Euro-western had not fully established itself as a separate entity from American productions and many critics looked upon any non-Hollywood western as a clone or rip off of the already established genre. Alfonso Balcazar Granda directed the movie under the pseudonym of Al Bagran and also collaborated with Jose Antonio De La Loma and Alessandro Continenza on the films screenplay, the latter being the author of the original story. When working on the screenplay the director was keen to cast an American actor in the leading role so Alfonso travelled to Paris to look for an actor to take the lead in their movie, it was there that heard about Robert Woods who was a fresh faced American actor and model.

Woods had been working in Paris acting in the theatre and also doing modelling sessions for Helmut Newton and Piere Cardin for which he was well paid, he had travelled to the French capital on his way to Italy to be considered for a part in the Otto Preminger movie THE CARDINAL. Unfortunately for Woods but fortunately for Balcazar Granda the actor was not successful in getting the role. At first Woods turned down Balcazar Granda, but the filmmaker was convinced that Woods was perfect for the movie and the day after his first meeting with the actor a determined Alfonso returned to the theatre where Woods was performing and offered him a five movie contract which the actor agreed to sign, as Robert remembered. “When Alfonso Balcazar offered me the lead in the film “$5000 On The Ace”, I was doing a Chekhov play called ‘The Seagull’ at The American Theatre in Paris, on the Quay D’Orsay… I turned Alfonso down at first, because of the money… but when he returned a successive night with a contract for five films and a much improved offer, I accepted without reluctance… I had no reluctance to doing a European Western… In fact I thought it was a great idea…something new”. Woods character Jeff Clayton had an uncanny resemblance to the central figure portrayed by actor Giuliano Gemma in the RINGO films, but when one takes into consideration that 5000 DOLLARI SUL’ASSO was released before these, maybe the Woods character had in fact inspired the main protagonist in A PISTOL FOR RINGO and THE RETURN OF RINGO in some way, the film having a common link because of Alfonso Balcazar Granda performing writing duties on A PISTOL FOR RINGO for director Duccio Tessari. Robert Woods also took a hand in contributing to the screenplay for 5000 DOLLARI SULL‘ASSO, the actor adding a number of his own ideas to a script which possessed a SHANE slanted storyline and an ending that had certain similarities with the classic western RIO BRAVO. “The movie took eight weeks of principal photography to complete and an additional week of action-scenes after they sold it for an American release to MGM…I didn’t do much re-writing…the script was good… I just tightened up some of the scenes and took out some clichés… all by mutual agreement” recalled the actor. The film included an international cast of actors from Spain, Italy, America and Germany with Woods being ably supported by Fernando Sancho as the lovable but untrustworthy rogue Carrancho, Helmut Schmid who put in a convincing performance as a cruel henchman named Jimmy el Negro and Maria Sebaldt (under the alias of Maria Sevalt) who portrayed Hellen, the love interest in the story.

Robert Woods recollected memories of the director and one of his co-stars Fernando Sancho, “Alfonso and I had few differences, which were worked out, with the sale of the film to America and the help of my agent, David Niven, Jr…. Petty grievances, for example, about redoing some of the most dangerous stunts… Fernando and I became life-long friends and went on to work many more times together… I miss him”.
The films storyline contains a fairly basic plot but has some interesting twists and turns, Jeff Clayton wins 5000 Dollars in a poker game and gains shares in a ranch as part of his winnings, Hellen and her Brother David (Giocamo Rossi Stuart), are also partners in the ranch and are unwilling to enter into business with Clayton. Soon after collecting his cash winnings Clayton rescues a Mexican bandit named Carrancho, but the only thanks he gets is to be immediately robbed by the same bandit. As if this is not enough bad luck for him Clayton is told by Hellen and her Brother that they think his claim to the ranch is not valid because of the way he obtained it, Hellen and David enlist the services of an attorney called Dundee (Richard Haussler) to see if Clayton’s claim on the ranch is a legitimate one but unbeknown to them, Dundee is actually planning to take the property for himself. The attorney employs a group of thugs to persuade land owners in the surrounding area to sell their properties to him by the use of strong arm tactics and then hatches a plot to have David arrested for the murder of the towns former banker, who has actually been killed by Dundee’s henchman Jimmy. His plan is to prove David guilty and then take possession of the ranch by having a relationship with Hellen. David is arrested and taken to jail and would have been hanged if it were not for the intervention of Clayton who testifies on his behalf and proves that he is innocent. Clayton then enlists the aid of his partners who realise that Dundee was behind the accusation against David and also receives help from the bandit Carrancho who turns out not to be as bad as he likes to think he is, the unlikely allies clash with Dundee and his hired guns in a fight for the ranch. The movie is overflowing with shootouts, energetic fist fights and numerous chases, which are all set against the backdrop of some stunning landscapes photographed by cinema photographer Roberto Reale.


The score for 5000 DOLLARI SULL’ASSO was composed and conducted by Italian Maestro Angelo Francesco Lavagnino and was his first western score. The composer was born in Genoa Italy on February 22nd 1909, he graduated from the Giuseppe Verdi music conservatory in Milan, with a diploma in violin and composition and spent much of his early career working as a musician in orchestras that were performing in the concert halls and opera houses in Italy. Whilst doing this he also began to teach music and it was during this period that Lavagnino decided to start to compose music for film, his first foray into film scoring came in 1947 when he wrote the music for the comedy drama, NATALE AL CAMPO 119, which was directed by Pietro Francisci and starred Vittorio de Sica. As the 1950,s began Lavagnino started to become known within his native Italy as a composer of great talent producing music of high quality and also he was able to adapt to any genre or style of film. He also continued to teach music at this time and helped other composers come to grips with the technicalities of film scoring, one such composer was Francesco De Masi who he not only tutored but engaged as an assistant for a few years. The composers first major film scoring assignment came in 1951 when he provided the soundtrack for OTHELLO which was directed by Orson Welles, Lavagnino also scored the actor/directors FALSTAFF-CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT in 1965 and it was probably because of his first collaboration with Welles that the composer began to be offered assignments on bigger budget productions which included non-Italian movies such as Henry Hathaway’s action, drama, adventure LEGEND OF THE LOST, which starred John Wayne, Sophia Loren and Rossano Brazzi in 1957, the British made GORGO in 1961 and Italian/American co-production ESTHER AND THE KING for Director Raoul Walsh in 1960. Lavagnino seemed to excel when he wrote music for documentaries and won awards for his work in this particular area of film. At The Cannes film festival in 1955 he was nominated for the Palme d’Or for his music to CONTINENTE PERDUTO and won the special jury prize at the same festival for the score. In the same year he won the Silver ribbon award for his score to CONTINENTE PERDUTO which came from The Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists. In 1956 his stunning score for L’IMPERO DEL SOLE (EMPIRE IN THE SUN) garnered him another nomination from the film journalists and in 1957 he was awarded the silver ribbon from the same organisation for his music to VERTIGINE BIANCA (WHITE VERTIGO).

Lavagnino was Sergio Leone’s first choice of composer when the filmmaker was filming A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, but the director was persuaded to engage a lesser known young music composer named Ennio Morricone, because the films distributor felt that Morricone would be a better choice. One wonders if the music for the Italian western genre would have evolved in a different way or indeed would have been as successful as it was if Lavagnino had scored the first Leone western. Obviously Morricone would have at some stage in the proceedings scored a western, but maybe the sound achieved would have also been different if Morricone had not collaborated with Leone in the early days of the genre. I say this because although Lavagnino’s music was at times highly original it was certainly more classical in its style and sound than Morricone’s and often leaned towards a more Americanised or conventional sound with some of what can now be deemed as being Spaghetti infused passages when the composer worked on westerns, but saying this Lavagnino created numerous western scores and put his own unmistakable musical fingerprint upon them. In the latter part of 1964 and throughout 1965, Lavagnino not only composed the score for 5000 DOLLARI SULL’ASSO but in addition worked on a number of other Euro-westerns, THE TRAMPLERS, L’UOMO DALLA PISTOLA D’ORO, THE MAN FROM CANYON CITY, OCASO DE UN PISTOLERO, SEVEN HOURS OF GUNFIRE, JOHNNY WEST IL MANCINO, SOLO CONTRO TUTTI and the comedy western I DUE SERGENTI DEL GENERALE CUSTER. He also penned the music too at least another seven western movies over the next few years one of the last being, SAPEVANO SOLO UCCIDERE in 1971. Lavagnino scored over 200 movies during his illustrious career and was responsible for creating some of cinemas most haunting and atmospheric soundtracks, his music supporting, enhancing, ingratiating and in certain cases almost caressing the movie or project he was involved with. The composer passed away in Gavi, Italy on August 21st 1987.



 The music for 5000 DOLLARI SULL’ASSO was issued on compact disc (CAM-CSE 116) in 1993, but the soundtrack release did not contain all of the music from the score, the song for example A GAMBLING MAN which was performed by Don Powell, who also provided the lyrics and included a whistling performance by Lavagnino was missing from the edition that C.A.M issued although an instrumental version of the theme, minus the whistle was included twice? Powell’s vocal version however was released on a 45rpm single at the time of the films release and the recording did make an appearance on a two record set called THE BEST OF THE BLOODY WESTERNS, on seven seas records in the 1970,s and later appeared on disc two of the Japanese four compact disc compilation, THE SPAGHETTI WESTERN ENCYCLOPEDIA, (King Records KICP-434) in 1994.


The edition of the score that was released by CAM in 1993, had a running time of 42 minutes and contained 17 selections from the soundtrack. This expanded release of the score from BEAT records has a running time of 53 minutes and includes 23 cues, including the Don Powell vocal. The music is a fusion of the sound and style that was associated with western movies that had been produced in Hollywood and also it contains certain sounds and quirks of orchestration and instrumentation that would eventually themselves become a part of the “Spaghetti Western Sound”. Mexican Mariachis, jaunty saloon piano passages, dramatic and tense sounding pieces and melodic and plaintive interludes which are all enhanced and punctuated by electric guitar, trumpet performances and a brief but memorable whistling introduction to the song. Lavagnino’s score is a classic work from a genre that has produced a veritable smorgasbord of sounds, styles and musicality that still to this day inspires and influences cinema and film scoring.



released in 2013 on BEAT records.



 Layout 1Released in 1966, 1000 DOLLARI SULL NERO was not only an entertaining piece of cinema but also it was to become a key production within the genre of the Italian produced western. This was the movie that introduced us to the character SARTANA or at least the name of a character that became one of the prominent protagonists within the genre and one that would feature in a number of later productions. The Sartana featured in 1000 DOLLARI SUL NERO however is not a real pre-cursor to the Sartana that we all know and love, this character is a violent and unmerciful being that lashes out and utilizes cruelty and spills blood to achieve his goals in life.  Gianni Garko proves that he is an actor of worth with his portrayal of the blonde haired, blue eyed sadist; his performance is more than convincing as the bad guy of the story   assuming the identity of his character wonderfully not merely portraying the character but becoming the unsavoury individual taking the performance to a higher level. The films central character Johnny Liston is played by Antonio De Teffe, who under the alias of Antony Steffen starred in a number of westerns. Steffen is a perfect pairing with Garko the two actors bouncing off of each other to create a wonderful atmosphere and infuse a sense of reality to the films storyline. Liston has served twelve years in prison after being wrongly accused of murder. After his release he returns to his birthplace, the village of Campos. He discovers that the entire village is terrorized by his Brother Sartana (Gianni Garko), who to add insult to injury has also taken Johnny’s fiancée Manuela (Angelica Ott) as his lover. Sartana is acting as a dictator of sorts who intimidates, exploits and robs the villagers and people living in the surrounding countryside and aided by his band of cut-throats and bandits rules the area with a grip of iron. He also takes great delight in mistreating Manuela beating her and abusing her mentally and physically, whilst at the same time he persecutes her mute Brother Jerry, whipping him and ridiculing him ruthlessly.  Liston decides that he must find out who framed him for the murder and also why he has been made to feel so un-welcome in his own village. He is disgusted and sickened by the actions of his Brother and attempts to put a stop to his Siblings malicious and brutal ways. But, he receives no support from the villagers who are all terrified of Sartana. Johnny even tries to enlist the help of his own Mother, (Carla Calo) but she shuns him telling him that he is weak, favouring his Brother whom she idolises. Johnny’s only real ally is Jerry the mute Brother of Manuela.  Because they are Brothers neither Johnny nor Sartana wants to directly strike at the other, so a struggle of wills ensues until their Mother dies and then the fight begins in earnest.  Directed by Alberto Cardone under the name of Albert Cardiff, 1000 DOLLARI SUL NERO was the second western that Cardone made in 1966, the other SETTE DOLLARI SULL ROSSO which also starred Anthony Steffen is another fine example of the Italian western genre, the two films although having titles that could be conceived to be related were actually not content connected at all. The director who is in the opinion of many highly underrated began his career in film in 1945; he worked at first as a second unit director or assistant director on a number of movies, which included BEN HUR in 1959. He was responsible for three more Italian westerns, these were, L’IRA DI DIO, (THE WRATH OF GOD) IL LUNGO GIORNO DEL MASSACRO (LONGS DAYS OF KILLING) and 20,000 DOLLARI SPORCHI DI SANGUE (THE KIDNAPPING). All of which were worthy and interesting additions to the genre that was to become known as the Spaghetti western.

Layout 1

He also co-directed two other westerns which were produced in Germany during 1964. The director decided to leave the genre behind in 1968, moving onto to be second unit director on Roger Vadim’s sexy space adventure BARBARELLA, but returned to the western in 1970 when he acted as second unit director on EL CONDOR, which starred Lee Van Cleef and Jim Brown.  Cardone enjoyed a busy and fruitful career as director, assistant director, editor and screen writer up until his death in 1977. The music for 1000 DOLLARI SUL NERO is the work of talented composer/performer Michele Lacerenza, the Maestro is probably best known for his solo trumpet performances within numerous Italian western scores but as a composer in his own right he was responsible for helping to create the “sound” that we all now associate with the Spaghetti western.  He scored four out of the five Italian westerns that were directed by Alberto Cardone and placed his unmistakable musical identity upon each one. Lacerenza although known too many soundtrack collectors was underrated as a composer and also in the opinion of many under utilized.

The score for 1000 DOLLARI SUL NERO, is a perfect example of Italian western music, it contains many of the now established musical trademarks that are acknowledged as stock sounds within the genre. The score is energetic and infectious, the composer creating a firm foundation for the remainder of the soundtrack via his haunting TEMA DI JOHNNY, in which Lacerenza performs trumpet solo. This particular cue appeared on a handful of compilations of Italian western music that were released firstly on long playing vinyl and then in later years on compact disc. JOHNNY’S THEME and also the song from the movie, NECKLACE OF PEARLS performed by Peter Boom were also issued on a CAM records single 45rpm (AMP 12) at the time of the films release, both were conducted and arranged by another popular Italian film music composer Berto Pisano.  The flawless trumpet solo is augmented and punctuated by the use of organ, subdued percussion, strummed guitar and castanet’s, which together create an ambience that just oozes Spaghetti western. The theme appears on a number of occasions throughout the score, but the composer orchestrates and arranges it differently on each outing, thus the music remains fresh and vibrant every time. In a number of ways the orchestration on the score can be likened to the instrumentation on Sante Maria Romitelli,s SPARA GRINGO SPARA making one think that maybe the conductor of the main score on 1000 DOLLARI SUL NERO Luigi Zito, had an influence or input as he also conducted the Romitelli score.  Lacarenza fuses neo classical sound with a pop orientated style that at times evokes the guitar groups of the 1960,s such as The Shadows or The Ventures. Electric guitar accompanied by racing snare drums, harmonica, strings and woodwind are further embellished by percussion and organ all of which are drawn together by Lacerenza’s masterful trumpet playing.


l_michele lacerenza_000

Born in Taranto, Puglia, Italy on January 7th 1922. Michele Lacerenza was to become one of the most important musicians to be connected with the Italian cinema and in- particular the Italian western. Like Alessandroni, s whistle and guitar playing, Franco De Gemini’s excellent harmonica performances and Edda Dell Orso’s unique aural vocalising, Lacarenza was to make his mark on the western genre and also other movie scores with his inspired and unblemished trumpet playing.  Lacerenza came from a family background that was musical; his Father Giacomo Lacerenza was a well known conductor. Lacerenza came to the forefront of Italian film music when he was asked by composer Ennio Morricone to perform trumpet on “A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS”. The films director Sergio Leone had originally insisted on having Italy’s most prominent trumpet player at that time Nini Rosso to perform on the soundtrack, but Morricone wanted to use Lacerenza because he remembered his flawless performances whilst they were at the music conservatory and has stated since that he wrote the piece with Lacerenza’s trumpet in mind. After playing the films central theme for Leone the great film-maker was said to be reduced to tears because Lacerenza’s performance was so full of emotion. Morricone described him as “A sublime trumpet player” After the success of A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, Lacerenza continued his collaboration with Morricone on scores such as A PISTOL FOR RINGO , FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE and THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY. Lacerenza became much in demand and began to perform on many other film soundtracks, it was also at this time that he had a hit record with a cover version of THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN (La Casa Del Sole) a song that had been a worldwide hit for British rock band The Animals. Lacerenza’s career went from strength to strength and as well as performing on film scores and collaborating with composers such as Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota and Armando Trovaioli he also began to compose music for the cinema and although his output may not have been immense it was certainly important and original. The Maestro also taught music at the Foggia conservatory of music and the Santa Cecilia Academy.  He died in Rome on November 17th 1989.


Released on BEAT records in 2013.


bcm 9513 coverBorn Dominic Colarossi on January 24th 1933 in Rome Italy, composer Nico Fidenco began his career as a vocalist and became a popular singer in Italy during the latter part of the 1950,s through to the 1970,s, it was actually because  the composer had recorded a number of cover versions of theme songs from movies that he decided to become involved in the writing of music for films as the composer recalled.  “When I was singing I did a few cover versions of songs from films, EXODUS, MOON RIVER, SUSIE WONG and WHAT A SKY for example. These recordings were very popular in Italy, and my interest in film music grew from this. So I decided to try and write some material myself, cinema had always attracted me, even when I was younger, and too be part of the cinema world was I suppose a dream come true. The whole process of movie making and production has always interested me. I have in recent years attended a movie player course at “CENTRO SPERIMENTALE DI CINEMATOGRAFA” in Rome. So I am still learning”. Fidenco began composing for film in 1964 when he wrote the score for DESTINATION MIAMI-OBJECTIVE MURDER which was followed by IN THE SHADOW OF A COLT in 1965. It was after this that the composer began to become involved with the scoring of motion pictures on a more regular basis and soon became a much in demand film music composer. Often Fidenco would be called upon to provide music for a film when composers such as Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai were not available and he was responsible for penning numerous soundtracks for Italian westerns when they were at their most popular. His music has graced over 80 motion pictures in a glittering career that has lasted more than 50 years and the music that Fidenco composed back in the 1960,s and 1970,s still remains fresh, vibrant and original to this day and is in demand by the likes of DJ,s and music producers.   Fidenco’s scores for the EMANUELLE series of films are probably his most recognized and acclaimed and the composer himself marks these soundtracks as his best works.  “I have to say that my music to BLACK EMANUELLE is my favourite soundtrack and I also consider this to be my best score”.  It is true to say that Fidenco was and still is a remarkable composer, arranger, performer and vocalist, his soundtracks for the Italian Western genre in particular are outstanding and although many are filled with the now established “SOUND” that is associated with that collective of movies, they were all original and innovative in their own individual way and at the time of their creation set standards and musical guidelines for many other composers at times influencing music in Hollywood produced westerns. During his career Fidenco has worked with many other artists and composers, among these are Alessandro Alessandroni, Nora Orlandi, Franco De Gemini, Edda Dell Orso and has retained a special friendship and collaborative partnership with fellow composer Giacamo Dell Orso.  “It must be at least 35 years or even more now that Giacamo and I have worked together, we still see each other and occasionally do musical things together, but I rarely write for cinema now and spend a lot of time performing recitals on piano in Italy and also in South America”.

 Fidenco received no formal musical education and was a self taught musician often playing by ear. “I simply learnt about music by listening to it, and by being around musicians and singers. I listened and watched, and by doing this I began to pick things up”.  The musical score for EL CHE GUEVARA was originally released on a long playing record on the CAM label (sag 9007) in 1969, which has become something of a rarity. The LP contained 14 tracks which represented Fidenco’s score, this new edition contains all of those cues plus another five tracks, three of  which are alternate instrumental and vocal versions of LA BALLATA DEL CHE or previously unreleased tracks from the score which are source cues.  Composer Nico Fidenco rose wonderfully to the task of scoring this biopic and produced a score that contained many South American flavours and sounds, the composer fusing these components of the score seamlessly with proud and dramatic musical passages, all of which combine to create a soundtrack that embellishes and services the movie well and also manages to stand  alone as an entertaining collection of themes away from the images they were intended to enhance. This is the first time that any of the music from EL CHE GUEVARA has been issued onto compact disc with the exception of a five minute suite which included three or four of the scores principal themes that  was made available on a six compact disc box set that was released to celebrate Nico Fidenco’s 50th anniversary as a composer and performer in 2010. EL CHE GUEVARA is surely one of the composer’s finest scores as it contains so much variety and original sounding writing. Fidenco utilizes a fairly small orchestra but adds choir and rhythmic and booming percussive elements, solo female voice, guitar and martial sounding flourishes to the proceedings, all of which combine to create a work of great worth and one that is above all a pleasurable listening experience.   

 bcm 9513 inlay esternaEL CHE GUEVARA was released in 1968. The film was produced shortly after the death of CHE (Ernesto Guevara de la Serna) in October 1967 following his execution in Bolivia, many critics at the time of the movies release were unhappy with the authenticity of the films storyline. But to be fair to both the films director Paolo Heusch and his production team very little was known of the central character and the events that surrounded his life and background at the time. The screenplay by Adriano Bolzoni was more than likely based upon newspaper articles and other media reports that had been edited and censored, so in effect we were served up a biopic which did not have all the facts to hand because any information that was available was probably either watered down accounts of the truth or even slightly fabricated. Leading actor Francisco Rabal’s depiction of CHE also suffers somewhat from a clear lack of knowledge of his character. While he does do some sterling work in the central role he remains somewhat awkward and at times shallow in his performance. His portrayal of CHE is maybe based more upon the mystery, romance and elusiveness that at the time shrouded the man rather than the actual facts about this rebel with a cause. American actor John Ireland also makes an appearance and gives a credible performance as a correspondent Stuart.