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The re-issue program for Italian soundtracks never seems to slow, there always is something that has either never been issued before or a score that has had a LP releases years ago being given the re mastering treatment, Italian westerns were of course one of the most popular soundtrack genres amongst collectors as it was probably these Spaghetti sagebrush sagas that attracted many collectors to Italian film music in the first place. Record companies such as HILLSIDE, HEXACORD,BEAT,DIGIT MOVIES, CINEVOX, GDM etc have over the past decade or so been hard at work finding and releasing many of these at times lost musical treasures and preserving them at first on CD then to digital format, and they are a collection of scores that are well worth preserving after all they are a huge slice of filmic and film music history. I am convinced that the Italian western score has influenced the path of so many composers and also maybe directors and because of these influences the Italian western as in the actual films and the scores have shaped the way in which so many films and TV productions have been created. When you think about it a genre such as the Spaghetti western with its estimated output of around 700 movies, has certainly had far reaching and highly influential connotations. So, I began to look at what soundtracks have been released onto either CD and now digital edition on platforms such as I TUNES and SPOTIFY. All the classics are there of course the Morricone’s, the Nicolai’s, De Angelis, Ferrio, Cipriani, Rustichelli, Baclov, Giombini, S ,M Romitelli, Umiliani, Trovajoli, Savina, Ghiglia, De Masi, Fidenco, yes the list is truly endless, and I am of the opinion it is near on complete, or is it? Well there are some obvious omissions that stand out such as Morricone’s, SEVEN GUNS FOR THE McGregors, SEVEN BRIDES FOR THE Mc Gregors, GODS GUN, One or two of the Stranger movies as penned by Stelvio Cipriani and a handful of others by the likes of Tallino, Alessandroni, Orlandi and Dumont. Hang on Dumont? RE-wind, Dumont? Yes Charles Dumont, sorry? Charles Dumont, Oh, yes French composer who worked on films like TRAFFIC. Yes, that him, So I hear you say what has Dumont got to do with the Italian western? Well, this French composer wrote the score for a little-known Italian western entitled THE BELLE STARR STORY. No! Yes, I kid you not.


The movie was released in 1968, and selections from the soundtrack have been issued before on LP record back in 1968/69 as the A side to A MAN A HORSE AND A GUN by Cipriani,(yes the classic score by Cipriani was at the time relegated to the B side) the LP which was on the famous CAM soundtrack label (SAG 9004) contained just a handful of cues (6) that were released as a representative of Dumont’s score. I suppose because of A MAN A HORSE AND A GUN, being more of a prominent movie and score Dumont’s efforts were somewhat overlooked, but I remember thinking at the time of getting the LP back in around 1971 that the score was pretty good. The song from the movie was also released on a 45rpm single, (AMP 34).

single no time


So, heres a question, why has it not been re-issued in any format? It is after all a member of the Italian western score club, ok, it has no real musical affiliations with the rest of the genre as in stock sounds or even is it remotely connected stylistically with the sound that we so readily associate with the Spaghetti western, apart from a saloon track which seemed to be obligatory in most Spaghetti scores. But it is still a pretty good western soundtrack, and I think deserves to be given a full release, are you listening BEAT, DIGIT MOVIES, or even Kronos, Quartet and Music Box.




The soundtrack on LP opens with a fanfare of sorts that introduces a vocal entitled NO TIME FOR LOVE, which is something the main character of the movie identifies with. The vocal is performed by the movies star Elsa Martinelli, who delivers a suitably sultry and sensual vocal. Dumont penned the music for the song as well as the score and the lyrics were provided by Andre Salvat and Norman Newell. The music for the song is sparse whilst the vocals are being performed, and comprises of woods, bass guitar and a subtle Spanish guitar, until the vocal or first part of it at least comes to an end, and then Dumont enters the fray with a galloping and quick paced piece that is performed by timpani, percussion and horns with strings supporting. This comes to an abrupt end as the vocal is again re-introduced this time with a more elaborate support of strings giving it a more romantic feel and atmosphere. Track two, is an instrumental version of the song and the composer employs dramatic strings to open the cue, but these are then tailed off and amore lush and sumptuous rendition of the song is performed by soaring strings which themselves fade and lead into a delicate and quiet guitar solo. Track three is WESTERN CASINO, which is self-explanatory, and this is where the saloon piano piece comes into the work, Dumont providing a jaunty, honky-tonk saloon sound via the at times off kilter piano that is backed and punctuated by strummed banjo. THRILLING PER UNA STELLA is the title of track number four, Dumont, switching to a more dramatic musical style, with electric bass, percussion, brass and bongos, combining to create a taught and apprehensive sound, that is quite reminiscent of Cipriani in A MAN A HORSE AND A GUN, the track builds with the composer adding strings that seem to envelope and carry the remainder of the instrumentation, bringing the track to a close. Track five, is a guitar version of the central theme and is entitled BELLE STARR GUITAR. Which is brief but effective, the final track is BELLE STARR, in which Dumont creates a suitably western sounding riding cue, with brass, strumming guitars, electric bass punctuations and rumbling percussion. A short but interesting and entertaining soundtrack, that sadly was at the time of its release ignored by many.


The film is also very interesting and one of the genres more, shall we say suggestive examples. It, starred Elsa Martinelli in the title role, who was supported by genre stalwart George Eastman. Belle who is a gambler is a fiery character and has the red hair and freckles that seems to go with her personality. She attracts the attention of Eastman’s character Larry Blackie, who is also a gambler. On their first meeting Blackie clears Belle out and wins all her money from her and even relieves her of her ring. Blackie suggests that maybe she could win her money and jewellery back from him, and also suggests that he will allow her to play using as her stake a night with her. Belle looses and Blackie takes her back to the hotel, where he realises she has lost on purpose, Belle takes a shot at Blackie but he is too quick and pushes her back on the bed, things get romantic, but in the morning Blackie tells Belle to go and not to gamble in his area again.

Belle leaves but warns him he has not seen the last of her, and it is not long before the two meet again after she has gunned down four of his men in a saloon. Blackie seems to be fascinated by Belle and She, by him, after a while she eventually tells him her story. The relationship or partnership that we see unfolding on screen between Belle and Blackie, I think can be compared to the partnerships that have been focused upon in Italian westerns such as Mortimer and The man with no name in FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE and the unlikely collaboration of Tuco and Blondie in THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY, other examples of such partnerships are featured in THE BIG GUNDOWN, with Corbett and Cucillo and also in films such as DEATH RIDES A HORSE and to a certain degree DUCK YOU SUCKER and A PROFFESIONAL GUN. It is a partnership that is unsteady and certainly not built on any kind of trust.


Of course, THE BELLE STARR STORY was a little different because the relationship was based upon sexual attraction, which was mainly portrayed via kissing and at times slapping. The film which also starred Robert Woods as Cole Harvey an old flame of Belle’s was directed by Lina Wertmuller who went under the alias of Nathan Wich, a name she also used for the writing credit on the movie as well as George Brown. I think I am correct when I say this was her only contribution to the Italian western genre and also, I am also certain this was the only Italian western directed by a woman. Charles Dumont began his career as a songwriter and at times would pen these under the aliases of Dilda, Gloria Lasso and Toni Rossi. He wrote over 30 songs for Edith Piaf and regularly performed with her. He also wrote songs for Barbara Streisand most notably I’VE BEEN HERE which was originally called LA MUR. During the 1960’s Dumont began to write for TV and film and collaborated with film maker Jacques Tati on TRAFFIC in 1971. He still performs and writes music and songs.

belle starr4
Watching THE BELLE STARR recently I realised that there is a lot of music within the film that has never seen the light of day on any recording, so it is in my humble opinion a prime candidate for a release onto cd. It maybe something of an oddity within the Italian western genre, but surely this is even more reason to release the soundtrack in its full quirky glory.

Michele Lacerenza.

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.






Movies about sport or sporting personalities more often than not contain a musical score that is inspiring, romantic, highly thematic and above all emotional. Just cast your mind back to ROCKY, HOOSIERS, RUDY, and their like. IL GRANDE FAUSTO (1995) is no exception to the rule. The screenplay for this movie is based upon the life of Fausto Coppi, born in 1919, Coppi went on to be a champion class cyclist and took part in over 600 races all over the world out of this number he won 118. He competed in tours of France and Italy, and won these in the years 1940, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953.Composer Franco Piersanti fashioned an excellent score for the movie, the work being packed with some truly haunting and emotive tone poems as well as the numerous action led cues. The music for me evoked memories of Ennio Morricone, the way in which Piersanti orchestrates and builds themes is very similar to that of Maestro Morricone. This style or approach is evident more prominently within track number 8, GRANDE VITTORIA-GIRO D,ITALIA 1949. Urgent and racing strings open the track but these soon melt away and segue into a softer and far more gentle piece which is performed by solo piano and then solo whistler, these are then supported by use of subdued choir and underlying strings which add poignancy and fragility. The composer utilises solo piano a great deal within the score which for me personally makes the work more appealing and entertaining. It is rich with vibrant and highly emotive themes and awash with romantic undertones, where the composer fuses both piano strings and choir to evoke the richness and lushness of vintage scores from Hollywood. Tracks such as STORY OF A SECRET LOVE are simply stunning, this is a score that could easily be overlooked as I do not think the movie was released outside of Italy, the compact disc which was issued on CAM back in 1995, is one that I would recommend.






Carlo Siliotto is a composer whose name has made regular appearances on many film and TV credits since he began to write for the cinema in 1984 with his debut score CHI MI AIUTA? It was probably his score for FLIGHT OF THE INNOCENTS that threw him into the collecting fraternity’s and since then the composer has attained quite a following. Going back a few years now well more than a few to 1995, to an intimate and rather pleasing work for a comedy entitled PALLA DI NEVE or SNOWBALL as it was titled outside of Italy. The film focuses upon an entertainer who works on board a cruise ship and his relationship with a young boy and a rather cute Beluga whale. This is as one can imagine a tale filled with many emotional and heartrending scenarios and situations plus there are also as many comic and madcap occurrences as the story unfolds. Siliotto provided the movie with a varied and vibrant soundtrack, his score elevating and underling each moment. It is a score that is filled with melodic and poignant pieces which stand alongside and combine with as many lighter and more comedic thematic material. Throughout the work the composer attaining just the correct balance of each. The compact disc opens with THE MAIN TITLE THEME which begins with Whale song, or the sound of the Beluga, this is fleeting and short live with the composer bringing into play an introduction on solo piano, this is soon joined by the string section which take on the central theme and develop it into a rich and romantic sounding piece that eventually is performed by full orchestra, wind and brass sections melt away and give the stage to the string section as it performs a waltz like arrangement of the scores main theme. The cue then slows in tempo and strings gradually make way for lilting woods which bring the piece to its conclusion. The composer makes effective and positive use of solo piano throughout the score and it is this instrument that features in track number two with a particularly pleasant rendition of Siliotto’s core theme, it is a motif that is repeated throughout but is indeed kept fresh by the composer’s inventive orchestrations and arrangements. There is also a secondary theme heard at times, again performed in the main on piano, which is mirrored by a chiming effect giving the music an almost childlike sound. I am not going to say that this is the greatest score ever, but it is however an entertaining and highly melodic one. The composer acquitted himself admirably on this assignment and incorporated many styles into his score, which include, Jazz, and a scattering of dramatic and action cues. Released originally on the CAM label this is a score that will be a nice addition to any collection.


Two spaghetti western scores on one compact disc, both by the same composer Bruno Nicolai, yet both original and individual in their style and sound.

Anda muchacha spara (Dead Men Ride) is a western soundtrack from 1971 which most definitely belongs to the Morricone-esque school of western scoring, with plentiful use of choir solo trumpet, piano, organ and racing chase music. Django spara primo (Django Shoots First) from 1966 is more Americanised in style, displaying hardly any signs or musical trademarks that are normally associated with the spaghetti western, save for the central theme performed on solo trumpet. The remainder of the work is quite low key and fully orchestral, rather than utilising theelectric guitar as in other western scores that Nicolai worked on during this period.

Anda muchacha spara is the star score on this cd, containing all the stock sounds and attributes now associated with the western all’italiana: solo female voice, showdown music, tense riding themes and Mexican sounding mariachis. There is even a cue (track 5) that resembles Morricone’s ‘Addio Cheyenne’ track from Once Upon a Time in the West, a clumsy sounding but faintly attractive and entertaining piece employing a lazy sounding piano accompanied by a laid back banjo solo.

Track number eight is one of the compact discs highlights, with Nicolai utilising to great effect the flawless vocals of Edda Dell Orso (supported by underlying strings and the wonderful harmonising of IL CANTORI MODERNI). Nicolai produced an entertaining and highly accomplished scores for both of these movies, and excelled in his orchestration and composing on ANDA MUCHACHA SPARA..

The tracks on the compact disc do not actually have titles. Anda muchacha spara has a running time of just 24 mins 49 secs and takes up tracks 1 to 15 on the compact disc. Django spara primo is slightly longer in duration, at 25 mins 04 secs, and is numbered from track 16 through to track 28. So, a running time of just under 50 mins; but well worth the money even if its for the first score alone. Packaged adequately by CAM with descent art work, info on both movies and a short piece on Bruno Nicolai. Recommended.