Released in 1966,RINGO AND HIS GOLDEN PISTOL or JOHNNY ORO to give it the original Italian title, was directed by Sergio Corbucci. The main protagonist and also the character in the title was played by actor Mark Damon, the movie was re-tilted simply to cash in on the success of the RINGO movies which had been directed by Duccio Tessari and starred iconic Italian western actor Giuliano Gemma. The plot focuses upon a bounty hunter Johnny Oro who kills for money and treats his way of life as a business so much so that he refuses to take his golden gun out of its holster unless he is assured he will make money for doing so. He decides to let a man (Juanito Perez) live because he sees no reason to end his life if there is no price on his head; this proves to be something that the bounty hunter will later on regret. After killing the mans brothers who do have a bounty on them Perez swears vengeance and forms an alliance with a local tribe of Indians who aid him in a battle against the town and also the sheriff who are protecting the bounty hunter. The musical score is the work of Italian Maestro Carlo Savina, who of course will be a familiar name to collectors acquainted not only with the Italian western but with Italian film music overall, Savina composed numerous film scores for a plethora of genres and also acted as conductor on a handful of scores for Miklos Rozsa and Nino Rota. In fact Savina was credited as the composer of the score for EL CID on Italian prints of the movie back in the early 1960,s. Of course we know this is no so as Rozsa is the true composer of the work. Savina was quite active in the Italian or Spaghetti western genre and penned some of the most memorable scores for some of the lesser known movies. His COMIN AT YA soundtrack for example still remains one of the genres most haunting and popular non Morricone score. JOHNNY OROIS A TYPICAL Italian western score, but when I say typical I do not say this because it is mediocre or indeed predictable, it is typical simply because it contains many of the standard sounds that are nowadays so readily associated with the spaghetti score. Solo trumpet, whistling, solo harmonica electric and classical guitar and echoing percussive passages. In many ways the style that Savina employed was not that dissimilar from Francesco De Masi when he worked on westerns, the sound achieved being a fusion of the Hollywood western soundtrack with brass flourishes and also thrilling and melodic strings that were integrated with the more inventive and original sounds of the spaghetti western. JOHNNY ORO contains numerous themes and relies mainly upon the distinctive whistling of Alessandro Alessandroni to accompany the central character there are also strong trumpet cues within the score that simply oozes class and charisma. This release also includes Italian and English versions of the title song performed by Il Cantori Moderni. This is certainly one of the best Italian western scores written, and listening to it now nearly 50 years after its composition it still grabs ones attention and remains original and fresh. Released on the GDM/Hillside series it is one that you should own. nice clear sound and attractive art work with a number of colour stills and various reproductions of the poster for the movie inside the liner.
Roberto Zamori’s name will be a familiar one to many collectors of Italian film music. His name has appeared on numerous soundtrack releases, and he has been responsible for getting scores from films released onto Cd and also LP for the first time, scores that would have probably been lost forever if it were not for his intervention. Professor Zamori was born in Prato, Italy on the 17th march 1946. his father was Italian and his mother was swiss.
“My maternal Grandfather was a great music lover, I presume this is where I get my love of music from”.
So what musical training if any did Roberto have ?
“ When I was a young man I began to learn to play the guitar, and in the 1960,s I had my own group, who were named GLI SPIRITI, we made two records ,but my real musical experiences came later when my dreams came true and I began to work alongside such composers as Lavagnino ,Cicognini, Umiliani and Savina. From whom I was taught a great deal. I also have to add Carlo Rustichelli and Maestro Sciascia to that list, I was privelaged enough to be able to sit in the recording rooms and watch and listen to them, it was a wonderful learning experience ,and one that I am so grateful for. I a now in my 60,s but because of my experiences with these marvelous composers, I am able to still hear the sounds that they created, so when I am working on a soundtrack release, I can still hear that music as it was played firstly, I try to work hard to get the rich sound of the 60,s and 70,s, as on the Italian westerns with the bass guitar sounds etc”.
“ To be honest because of certain recording companies, who have not paid me for my work, I have had to put all projects on hold for a short time. Although I do have many projects ready but its just the funding at the moment. Myself and Lionel Woodman are at the moment planning a compact disc of the film music of Giacamo Dell’Orso, he is such a fantastic musical personality in Italy, but not widely known for all his work on arrangements etc. If you ever meet him you will find him to be a wonderful person and an accomplished musician and composer”.
How long does it take you to prepare a soundtrack for release ?
“There is no set time for the preparation of a soundtrack CD, it depends mainly on the condition of the tapes, and how much work I have to do to restore them, let us just say using my own parameters it can take up to 6 to 8 hours to restore just 60 seconds of music”.
What project has proved the most difficult for you ?
“Each project is difficult, if it was an easy task then everyone would be able to do it, I think that the SOUND DIMENSIONS set was for me the most trying project. The restoring of the old analog tapes took me three months ,but I think it was worth all the time, as I have now the satisfaction of listening to the final product. The sound I managed to achieve was exactly the same as was heard at the original recording session. No electronic cleaning was used, and the work , ah well it was hard and long, but all done by hand. I have to say I am pleased that many people who have purchased the set, have e.mailed me saying they are pleased with the sound quality”.
You, have worked with many composers, Morricone must be the most high profile Maestro you have worked with, what is it like collaborating with a musical legend ?
“Everyone knows that Maestro Morricone has his own personality, maybe a complex one, but definately not a simple one. Let us say that it has been and still is a interesting adventure planning anything with him. I am proud to have worked with the most popular composer of film music in the world, and also the composer of the song SE TELEFONADO surely the most beautiful song written in Italy”
You have produced many soundtracks from Italian movie, have you ever trued to produce a soundtrack from a non Italian move?
“ I have always been interested in producing something from a British movie, I am mainly interested in the B movies of the 1950,s and the 1960,s but I have tried contacting many people, and have never had any luck obtaining a soundtrack,I love the music from the Hammer films, the GDI series is such a great one, but even this has stopped production, Maybe you can help me with this sometime “?
I know what you mean when you say no-one in the UK is interested, they are just interested in the money, they have no love for the music, and even less knowledge of it, it is sad. I would be honoured to help you with anything.
You have organized numerous concerts in Italy of film music, what are these and what composers have featured in them ?
“ I have organized around 270 concerts over a period of 25 years, they have always been well attended, the most recent was in TREVISO this was a Homage to Sergio Leone, we had an 80 piece orchestra, and the theatre was packed with 1,500 people who were all big fans of the spaghetti western, and also of Morricone. I also remember last summers concert in LIGURIA which was a film music festival, this included an outstanding live performance by EDDA dell Orso, she was singing Italian themes from movies, it was exquisite. This was televised by RAI television and there were over 1,000 in attendance. This was also a good night for me because I sang with edda at the end of the concert, the theme from METTI UNA SERA A CENA, the audience became crazy with laughter, it was a great night dedicated to Italian film music”.
The soundtrack market is quite frail at the moment has this effected your work at all,?.
“ It is not just the soundtrack market that is bad at the moment, the music industry in general is taking the worst battering in many years, changes in the music world have nt yet taken full effect, so the music industry landscape is very sparse and sad at this time. Labels which have always been interested in just money are now themselves finding things difficult because of new technology such as the internet. People are able to get music easily on the internet, and no one gets paid for it, I think this is something that will be hard to stop. I personally think that the recording labels must try and create something new and fresh, many labels are trying to generate revenue, so in a way it is good for me because record companies that up to two years ago shut their archives are now open to negotiation”.
What is your opinion of the state of Italian film music today ?
“My own personal opinion of the new generation of Italian film music, well it is not that interesting, and recently there have been many new scores that I have listened to that are not good at all, in ten years or even less people will not remember the composers of this music or even the music, but this is also true of the new films and television productions, they are dreary and uninteresting, so its hardly surprising that composers are not being inspired by this type of filmmaking.
American movies scores are much in the same position, the composers fail to be inspired by the films that they are working on, so unfortunately no matter how big the budget is the music is still suffering. In Italy, the times of Morricone/Leone, Rota/Fellini, Rustichelli/Germi etc… have now passed, and there are no new names to take their place.
Allow me just to add this : during the last 15-20 years, especially the ten years 1981-1991 concerning the permanent congress in Prato “Musica/Immagine” and later with the Hexacord project, I have worked with money directly from my pockets – to give to young generations a better knowledge about Italian Composers for the Italian Movies.
I hope to go on and on in this, as I think it’s really a terrible thing to forget forever what people like Piccioni, Trovajoli, Cicognini, Rustichelli, Umiliani, Marchetti, Alessandroni and many many many others made. They are responsable for an Italian way to the music scores, and I’ll never tire of giving them the best tribute I can do.
I am Most grateful for everything they have been so able to teach me, I still work and I still have plans to make music according their way of thinking.
PASSION IS PASSION !
OK, thanks John, for your attention to me and my work.
Italian Film Music and Italian Composers owe you so much !