Tag Archives: CBS

THE REAL JOHN BARRY.

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There is no doubt in my mind or indeed anyone else’s I have spoken to that John Barry was the most prolific, inventive and innovative composer of film music that we have seen, each day I still hear a piece of his music and lament that he is no longer here with us in body, he however is still with us in spirit and via his music. At last a new release of his music, sadly nothing new or anything that has been discovered that we did not already know about, but a compilation of his standards and our ultimate favourites. The compilation opens with THE JAMES BOND THEME well why not? It continues with stalwart themes from JAMES BOND MOVIES which include GOLDFINGER, THUNDERBALL, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and also tracks from those scores including MR KISS KISS BANG BANG and the 007 THEME. It then moves into two pieces from the TV series VENDETTA these include the catchy theme from the series plus the DANNY SKIPIO THEME which were both originally released on a CBS single (I can still see the bright orange label with the CBS logo on it). WEDNESDAYS CHILD comes next from the cold war thriller THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM again whilst hearing this I can envisage the purple cover of the original CBS long playing record. We then go back to the world of JAMES BOND with the SPACE MARCH and also the instrumental version of the theme from YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. Some of the recordings on this compilation are taken from those great albums that CBS used to release back in the day that were so naively called THE BEST OF JOHN BARRY or JOHN BARRY’S GREATEST MOVIE HITS, who could imagine back then what the composer would create or achieve during his illustrious career. Moving onto track number 13, which although unlucky for some is not unlucky for us the listener as we experience the upbeat and rhythmic theme from the first BOND movie without the suave Mr Connery (ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE). George Lazenby stepped into the shoes for just one excursion as the spy licensed to kill, and shoot me if you like but I still rate this as the best BOND score ever and to be perfectly honest Lazenby was not as bad as they all said. The compilation also includes another track from the OHMSS soundtrack, which is the laid back piano and jazz influenced TRY. WHO WILL BUY MY YESTERDAYS is next in the running order, I think I am right in saying this is the version or arrangement originally released on the READY WHEN YOU ARE JB album as was the next track THE MORE THINGS CHANGE if my memory serves me correctly. For the last two tracks of disc one we return to 007 territories with instrumental versions of DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER and OCTOPUSSY (ALL TIME HIGH).

 

 

 

Disc two opens with the wonderfully haunting and somewhat sleazy and jazzy theme from THE IPCRESS FILE which is taken from the original soundtrack, however track two which is also taken from THE IPCRESS FILE is a re-recording of A MAN ALONE and I have to say that it does lack the attributes of the version which appeared on the original soundtrack release. Also included on disc two is Barry’s epic theme from ZULU again a re-recording which is a great shame as although it is a solid performance it just lacks something that the original has, I cannot understand that when putting together a compilation such as this record companies settle for non-original or re-recordings and even if these re-recordings are conducted by the composer they just do not sound the same. ZULU is followed by the mysterious and edgy music from Bryan Forbes 1960, s movie SÉANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON, I remember seeing the movie and thinking how superbly Barry’s music supported it and its storyline and although the composer was very sparing with his music within the film I think it worked so well. THE KNACK (and how to get it) which was released around the same time as SÉANCE is totally different with the composer adding choral support for this particular arrangement of the infectious theme complete with easy strings and Hammond organ supported by a groovy sounding bass, which together all build up to a crescendo that enlists the help of percussion and brass. THE WRONG BOX, THE CHASE, BORN FREE, THE WHISPERERS, THE DUTCHMAN, THE APPOINTMENT all feature on disc two, most are re-recordings taken from the aforementioned CBS album compilations but evoke memories of early days of soundtrack collecting and discovering new music. Also included is a short excerpt from THE ROMANCE FOR GUITAR AND ORCHESTRA from another Bryan Forbes movie DEADFALL in which Barry appeared conducting a concert whilst Michael Caine carried out a daring robbery. The original recording took up the B side of the soundtrack LP record, the A side containing selections from Barry’s main score which included the Shirley Bassey vocal of MY LOVE HAS TWO FACES and a particularly entertaining typically John Barry track STATUE DANCE. Disc two comes to its conclusion with THE GIRL WITH THE SUN IN HER HAIR which was used for a TV ad back in the late 1960’s that endured into the eighties I am sure. Disc number two opens with the composer’s iconic theme for MIDNIGHT COWBOY again not from the original soundtrack but a track from the CBS compilations way back when, another selection FUN CITY is also included.

 

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Disc three includes musical excellence from movies such as WALKABOUT and MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, alongside BODY HEAT, FRANCES, CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY, THE SCARLET LETTER and DANCES WITH WOLVES and tracks from CHAPLIN, UNTILL SEPTEMBER, THE COTTON CLUB and THE SPECIALIST. This is a good representation of the musical works of John Barry, but still it is not all of his hits, if there is such a thing for a film music composer, I found this a great listen and a varied selection from a composer who’s output verges upon the unbelievable and who will be missed forever more. Worth adding to one’s collection.john-barry

CD 1

1. The James Bond Theme
2. 007
3. From Russia With Love
4. Goldfinger
5. Thunderball
6. Mister Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
7. Vendetta
8. The Danny Scipio Theme
9. Wednesday’s Child (From The Picture ‘The Quiller Memorandum’) (John Barry Orchestra)
10. Sleep Well My Darling
11. You Only Live Twice
12. Space March (Capsule In Space) (John Barry Orchestra)
13. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
14. Try
15. Who Will Buy My Yesterdays
16. The More Things Change
17. Diamonds Are Forever
18. All Time High From “Octopussy”
CD 2
1. The Ipcress File
2. A Man Alone (Theme from the film “The Ipcress File”) (John Barry and his Orchestra)
3. Barbra’s Theme (John Barry and his Orchestra)
4.The Syndicate
5. What A Question
6. Zulu
7. Seance On A Wet Afternoon
8. The Knack
9. King Rat March
10. The Wrong Box
11. Main Title: The Chase
12. Born Free
13. The Whisperers
14. Dutchman
15. Theme From “Romance For Guitar And Orchestra”
16. The Lion In Winter
17. Theme From “The Appointment”
18. The Girl with the Sun in Her Hair (John Barry Orchestra)
CD 3
1. Midnight Cowboy
2. Fun City
3. Walkabout
4. Afternoon
5. Mary, Queen Of Scots
6. Body Heat
7. Frances
8. Until September
9. The Cotton Club
10. Out of Africa
11. The John Dunbar Theme
12. Journey to the Buffalo Killing Ground
13. Chaplin-Main Theme
14. Moviola
15. The Specialist
16. Coney Island
17. Cry, Cry The Beloved Country
18. End Title to “The Scarlet Letter”

WATERSHIP DOWN (1978).

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The score for WATERSHIP DOWN is a classic work which was penned by Angela Morley and Malcolm Williamson with the song BRIGHT EYES being the work of Mike Batt. Conducted by Marcus Dodds this is a quintessentially English sounding score with more than a gentle nod in the direction of vintage composers such as Walton and his like. I think the attraction of the score to WATERSHIP DOWN is the simplicity of it and also the absence of electronic support, written at a time when synthesisers were beginning more than ever to be utilised within film scoring, composers Morley and Williamson decided to approach the assignment in a more traditional way making effective use of symphonic rather than synthetic. The actual credits read music by Angela Morley, Incidental music by Malcolm Williamson, whether this was a collaboration in the true sense of the word I am not sure and which composer was responsible for the lions share of the music too is a mystery but there is a richness and also a melodic lushness present within the score that at times reminds one of the works of Richard Rodney Bennett in particular his soundtracks for FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD and LADY CAROLINE LAMB, it has to it an ambience and style that also has many affiliations with composer John Addison (A BRIDGE TOO FAR) and also resonates a haunting and lingering appeal via the many themes included within its duration. I think that Williamson and Morley must have at some point worked together on the music because the compositions certainly flow and compliment one another.

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ANGELA MORLEY.

In my humble opinion this is one of the most appealing soundtracks produced for a British movie in the last fifty years or so, it is filled with emotive and melancholy passages that have the ability to take one back to the movie when listening to the score and straight away be able to recall exactly where the music is utilised within the picture. It is beautiful and mesmerizing as well as being entertaining and of course supporting the animated images on screen, the song BRIGHT EYES is one of the highlights of the work, with the version from the movie being included on the soundtrack album which is different from the edit that entered the British charts, Batt’s music and lyrics vocalised by Art Garfunkel being supported by highly emotive and heartrending strings that are punctuated by subdued harp which also laces and ingratiates the proceedings. I am not certain about the legitimacy of this recording on PENDULUM records, by this I mean is it a fully paid up edition of the soundtrack? The tracks are the same as the original LP release which was on CBS or Sony as it is known now, so surely Sony would have seen the potential of releasing this rather than license it to a smaller label. WATERSHIP DOWN may have been an animated feature but it was an important movie and one that has fascinated and entertained audiences of all ages since its release.

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MALCOLM WILLIAMSON.

The score is not surprisingly available for download on I Tunes which makes me wonder about the PENDULUM release, but hats off to them as this is a very good recording and is also well presented. Maybe as it is approaching the films 37th Birthday Sony might decide to issue an anniversary edition of the soundtrack, this score is a delight from the offset with the PROLOGUE AND MAIN TITLE opening the disc that includes narration by Michael Hordern, this wonderful opener to the soundtrack sets the scene perfectly and continues on with a number of highlight cues including, VENTURING FORTH, INTO THE MIST, VIOLETS GONE, BRIGHT EYES AND INTERLUDE, KEHAARS THEME and FINAL STRUGGLE AND TRIUMPH. Highly recommended.

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                  ANGELA MORLEY

“All the world will be your enemy Prince of a thousand enemies, and when they catch you they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner. Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed”.

(closing lines from Prologue).

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