Two soundtrack albums from the master of spaghetti western music, on RCA and EMI respectively. The first record needs little introduction, assuming you have similarly fond memories of watching these films as a kid. “This Is..” features highlights from other classics like The Good, the Bad and The Ugly and Death Rides A Horse, but opens each side somewhat jarringly with the main theme from Chi Mai, and the funky groove of Come Maddalena. Still, beggars can’t be choosers.
I used to watch this Thames Television series every week with my dad, during those war-obsessed years of the 1970s. This was serious television, and I still watch the repeats occasionally.
This vinyl spin-off features Carl Davis’ powerful theme, along with several of his incidental scores, plus a selection of contemporaneous songs from the era by the likes of Vera Lynn, although as the sleeve notes admit, most of the songs actually sung by the troops were simply “too obscene, too irreverent, too vulgar. These songs live on only in old soldiers’ memories”.
Great stuff, but I’m feeling the absence of Sir Laurence Olivier – his arresting, portentous narrative delivery was a big part of the series and it would’ve been nice to hear a few excerpts on the record.
Speaking of eighties BBC themes, here’s another example I found ages ago, from the earlier half of the decade. Included here are several themes from series that I watched avidly, such as Dudley Simpson‘s Blake’s 7, George Fenton‘s Shoestring and Harry South‘s The Chinese Detective, but also many that I have barely the vaguest memory of, such as Squadron, Telford’s Change, Penmarric and Poldark. Some of the more prestigious examples are Yannis Markopoulos‘ Who Pays The Ferryman? and Ennio Morricone‘s “Chi Mai” (aka theme from The Life And Times Of David Lloyd George). Serious, dare I say ‘dramatic’, stuff!
Found these two huddled together recently – a fine selection of themes from the mid-eighties. Well, okay, I guess I could live without the theme from Bread, or Su Pollard‘s dreadful “Starting Together” (from The Marriage), or Paul Hart‘s piss-poor excuse for an update of Tomorrow’s World. But we do have Cagney & Lacey, Bergerac, Jan Hammer‘s Miami Vice and Ken Freeman‘s Tripods. Then there’s Richard Hartley‘s synth-heavy theme for that short-lived series Dead Head (now, who remembers that one?) plus hardy perennials like The Neil Richardson Orchestra‘s “Approaching Menace” (aka theme from Mastermind) The Billy Taylor Trio‘s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” (aka theme from Film ’86) and the Douglas Wood Group‘s Snooker Theme. Not forgetting “Pop Goes Bach” by The New Dance Orchestra (aka Ski Sunday theme) and even a bit of reggae from Black Roots with their theme from The Front Line. But even the thick, fuggy aroma of nostalgia cannot disguise the fact that Booby G‘s theme from Big Deal is a stinker.
God only knows what this is – sounds absolutely awful – the sort of thing you would really need to hear in some German beer festival, after downing 72 litres of ale ! Having attempted a translation – I have so far managed to get ‘The large mood bomb music for everyone’, which I think absolutely rocks – and … if I were that way inclined (which I am) – might very well end up puting on themed nights of banging beats with this very same name!!
This LP however, does not even slightly contain anything whatsoever approaching ‘banging beats’ – and without the aid of understanding any German whatsoever – goes way-way over my head.
For anyone out there with any interest/want to see/translate the tracks included – here ya go:
|1 Das Wandern ist Herren Meiers Lust|
|2 Wir sind die Sanger von Finsterwalde|
|3 Dass du mich liebst , das weiss ich|
|4 Ein dreifach hoch dem Sanistatsgefreiten Neumann!|
|5 Immer langsam voran!|
|6 Was nutzt denn dem Seemann sein Geld?|
|7 Heut geht es an Bord|
|8 Einmal am Rhein|
|9 Ein rheinisches Madchen bei rheinischem Wein|
|10 Ach , Isabella, du bist mein Ideal|
|11 Das ist ja prima!|
|12 Wer soll das bezahlen?|
|13 Wenn das Wasser im Rhein goldner Wein war’|
|14 In munchen steht ein Hofbrauhaus|
|15 Du kannst nicht treu sein|
|17 Gruss euch Gott, alle miteinander|
|18 Mein Brautjam wird Soldat|
|20 Die alte Masche|
|21 Wien bleibt Wien|
|22 Heute ist heut’|
|23 Schwarzbraun ist Haselnuss|
|24 Wir versaufen unserOma ihr klein Hauschen|
|25 Oh , wie bist du schon|
|26 shon wieder eine Seele vom Alkohol gerettetet|
|29 Unsere Katz’hat Junge|
|31 Schnaps ist gut fur die Cholera|
|1 Schlosser, die im Monde liegen|
|2 Meine einzige liebe|
|3 Nimm mich mit, nimm mich mit in dein Kammerlein|
|4Heimlich, still und leise|
|5 Die Liebe kam vom Marchenland|
|6 Gluhwurmchen, Gluhwurmchen flimm’re|
|7 Bayerischer Landler|
|8 Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken|
|9 Der Mai ist gekommen|
|10 Bier her! Bier her!|
|11 Es geht ein Rundgesang|
|12 Horch, was kommt von draussen’rein|
|13 Du, Du liegst mir im Herzen|
|14 Schon ist die Jugend|
|15 Eine Seefart, die ist lustig|
|16 Das Wandern ist des Mullers Lust|
|17 Hoch soll er leben|
|18 Lasst den Kopf nicht hangen|
|19 Das ist die Berliner Luft|
|20 O Theophil, o Theopil|
|22 Schenk mir doch ein kleines bisschen Liebe|
|23 Ja , solch jahmarktsrummel!|
55 of the blighters – that’s even more than Wire managed to cram onto ‘Pink Flag’ !!
Now – far from wanting to come across as dissing a perfectly valid genre of music – if anyone can tell me what the frig this one is about – or if anyone actually wants it – then – it’s yours for the taking as reward. Trust me – I have tried listening to more than a minute or two – and it made me long for something more middle-of-the-road – perhaps a bit of Merzbow – or failing that – a bag of nails hammered through me skull !
A simply excellent LP this one released in 1973 – an age before Sublime Frequencies performed the same (perhaps more detailed) crate digging – an audio snap-shot of times gone and places I personally wish to explore more … I must confess to being addicted to these long-forgotten recordings, preserved in long forgotten slabs of wax – and this one in particular satisfies more than most .. everything on here is good – but the track ‘Music from Iraq’ with Abdul-Karim Al Azawi playing the Tabl to very fine effect, is stunning – a snippit to drop mid-dubstep set – and if I believed in the concept – a staple-sample moment if ever there was one …!
Of course TV themes have always been semi-popular with the music-buying public, but I particularly like the collections from this period. None of them are by original artists, instead the themes are recreated (to varying levels of success) by various orchestrators, most notably Jeff Love. In an era of dodgy Top Of The Pops compilations, it seems that cheap cover versions were rife, and tolerated by the public, throughout all areas of the industry. But even though they are not the original versions, they still provide a useful record of the types of TV programmes that were popular at the time, with forgotten shows like Van Der Valk and The Onedin Line being regular fixtures.
It’s the sleeve illustrations that make these artifacts particularly attractive now. Whilst they all follow the same basic principle, each artist brings his own distinct style, always full of detail, but well composed and easy on the eye. No photo-shopping here!
These were mainly released by Music For Pleasure, which seemed to be the dominate label in the crowded budget record market. A firm favourite with housewives throughout the land, no doubt.
Illustration by David Smee (p) 1972 Music For Pleasure Ltd
Illustration by uncredited artist (p) 1972 Contour Records
Sleeve design & illustration by Geoff Hocking (p) 1973 Music For Pleasure Ltd
Illustration and sleeve design by Barry Elphick (p) 1974 EMI Records
Illustration by uncredited artist (p) 1974 Windmill Records