Do you remember when compact discs first took off, and every record company began to swiftly transfer all their old recordings into this format. We saw so many classic albums on CD for the first time, with some CD’s having two albums on them, this sent collectors rushing to the shops to see if they could replace their old scratchy sounding LP record with a nice shiny and clear sounding disc. It was also something that happened in the soundtrack market as well, one label from Italy, decided to release a set of one hundred soundtracks, in what they called a soundtrack encyclopaedia. CAM records in Rome embarked on a mammoth re-issue programme and selected a hundred of what they deemed to be their most popular soundtracks, many of which had been deleted for years, the label had been founded in 1960, by the Campi Brothers, and was in essence the first soundtrack specialist label, established long before the likes of Varese, Intrada, Silva Screen etc. CREAZIONI ARTISISTICHE MUSICALI to give the company its full title, decided to release all one hundred discs at once, but I don’t think that they really took into consideration that many collectors would be unable to finance the purchase of these one hundred titles, the early sets even came with a stand and storage to house them, but it was rare that a collector would buy the complete set, in fact a number of fans would buy them as individual CD’s and some were not even going for completion, but just simply buying the scores that they wanted.
The first release in the series was in fact a double CD entitled TUTTO FELLINI which featured the music of Maestro Nino Rota, then followed the one hundred discs, which were later joined by a further twenty-five single compact discs. The titles within the encyclopaedia were all good scores and were also an Italian film music collectors dream come true. It was great to see CORRI UOMO CORRI by Bruno Nicolai, THE PRICE OF POWER by Luis Bacalov, MAN PRIDE AND VENGEANCE by Carlo Rustichelli and scores such as VENERE IMPERIALE by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino, SEDUCED AND ABANDONED by Carlo Rustichelli, INCONTRO by Morricone, LOS AMIGOS or DEAF SMITH AND JOHNNY EARS as it was known outside of Italy. by Danielle Patucchi, the list was literally endless. However because of the volume of releases and the cost of having to buy the set, the series was sadly soon deleted, and started to appear in a number of second hand shops in the UK, not sure how that happened, but I remember going into a shop in Soho and finding sixty of them at just one pound each. Did I buy them, what do you think?
The other problem with the series was that many of the scores were very short in duration, don’t forget back in the 1960’S CAM were releasing double soundtrack LPS which featured two soundtracks on one album, so instead of adding any music that they had to the recording they just put it out as it was, A MAN A HORSE AND A GUN for example was less than thirty minutes, and if you had to pay full price which was around twelve pounds it was expensive, staying with A MAN A HORSE AND GUN also, the version on the CD was different from the original LP record as released by CAM, the opening theme was missing the downtempo section that was introduced just before the end of the cue, plus there were some sound problems with the recording with one of the best tracks on the score FACCIA A TERRA sounding as if the tape had got caught up and pulled through and these had been re-mastered and had dolby surround sound. However the Soundtrack Encyclopaedia has since become a sought after item, but since CAM was taken over by Sugar music a few years back we have seen many of the soundtracks that were in the set re-issued on budget labels, which is good for collectors. The soundtrack encyclopaedia seemed like a good idea at the time, but sadly it was one of those items that did not work or sell that well and this was only due there being so many, I think if CAM had staggered its release and presented it in batches of five or even ten it would have been more popular. Many of the scores in the set have been re-issued again and again, but a handful have been re-issued by other labels who have listened to collectors and included extra tracks, one of these I am glad to say is Stelvio Cipriani’s A MAN A HORSE AND A GUN, which was released by Hillside/GDM, who not only included extra cues but presented the soundtrack in a clear and restored sound, with the original opening cue also being included.
They also used the original LP record art-work which is stunning. CORRI UOMO CORRI too was re-issued by Digit movies and included a great deal more music and the Tomas Milian version of the films theme song. Other soundtracks in the original series included DEAD MEN RIDE which was paired with DJANGO SHOOTS FIRST both by Bruno Nicolai, ESCALATION by Morricone which was in the first one hundred received a re-issue with improved sound. Don’t get me wrong if you do happen to see any of these CDs in the shops or online and they are a good price, then do not hesitate to snap them up.