Released in 1967, BANDIDOS is a fairly good Italian western, it holds ones attention via its original storyline but like most Italian produced westerns does have its lulls and lows as far as the story is concerned. One of the films most appealing attributes has to be the musical score by composer Egisto Macchi who fashioned a haunting and theme laden soundtrack, the stock instrumentation and sounds of the spaghetti western are present throughout, the composer relying upon solo trumpet performances, choral support, female voice, harpsichord, organ, jaws harp, bass guitar, percussion, dramatic strings, electric guitar, harmonica, sporadic trills from the woodwind section, racing snare drums that are punctuated by manic sounding brass stabs and vocals courtesy of Nico Fidenco, who I personally think had an input into the score as well as performing the songs, I say this because there are certain sounds or quirks of orchestration within the soundtrack that are distinctively Fidenco, the use of timpani, woodwind, choir and also soaring trumpet solos are stunning and at times rival the work of Lacarenza and Morricone, the overall combination of instrumentation however have to them a sound and style that just says to me Fidenco.
The soundtrack was originally available on LP on the Cometa label many years ago and soon became deleted and rare, in 2011 the soundtrack was issued on compact disc but this too has become something of a rarity and a holy grail for Italian western soundtrack collectors. Macchi has provided us with an excellent work and I think I am correct when I say it is his own foray into the western genre, it is a score that supports and underlines the films action and at times basically props up some of the less interesting sequences.
The score is somewhat overwhelming in places and the music actually takes over and I have to say that at times I found myself listening to the score rather than watching the images on screen which is a bad thing I suppose as it’s the job of the music to enhance the images not detract the audiences attention away from them, but if there are cases of the music in films being more interesting than the actual movie, then BANDIDOS is one of them. The score has a very Hispanic or Mexican sound to it, not in the Mariachi sense but in its deep patriotic and proud persona. The maestro fusing this style with the highly volatile and raw sound of the Italian western to create a wonderfully exhilarating and entertaining soundtrack.
Macchi was born in Grosseto Italy on August 4th 1928,he worked in many areas and genres of music, these included, film scores, classical, avant-garde, musique concrete and he contributed many compositions to music libraries. He began composing in 1953,and was not only a gifted composer but a proficient conductor/arranger plus he played violin and piano. After creating and founding The Musical Theatre of Rome with Domenico Guaccero, Macchi established Studio R7 in 1967, which was an experimental electronic music laboratory. In the same year the composer joined Gruppo di improvvisazione di nuova consonantal, which was an avant-garde improvisation group to which he recruited composer Ennio Morricone who was a long time friend of his. During his career the composer worked on approx: 20 motion pictures, he passed away on August 8th 1992 aged 64. This is a very desirable soundtrack and for any Italian western aficionado is an essential purchase.