The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for February 11th, 2011

The Gremlin May Be Out of the Bag

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It was an innocent question.

A Facebook friend of Screen Archives Entertainment, the online soundtrack merchant most notably associated with the Film Score Monthly label, asked if there would ever be a release of Jerry Goldsmith’s score to Gremlins. It’s not an unfair question, either: it’s one of Goldsmith’s most popular and fun scores, and with yesterday having been his birthday (he would have been 82), there’s no better time to ask.

What nobody expected was SAE’s answer: “Sometime this year I believe.” Unsurprisingly, the shockwaves ran deep. Despite the popularity of the film (and the definite need for expanding the extremely short LP, which featured pop songs and score), the major soundtrack labels have been tight-lipped about a potential reissue of Gremlins. News spread like wildfire across film music message boards, and FSM founder Lukas Kendall locked the topic on his site’s board with a terse statement:

OK…this is one that they were NOT supposed to be mention [sic].

This has been in the works for eons. However, there are some major licensing issues that have to be resolved between Warner Bros. and Universal Music (Geffen Records) and I cannot predict how long it will take.

Kendall is understandably not happy about the slip, but this author is glad to hear some development on one of the holiest of holy grails in film score history. Depending on how one reads into that tidbit, it seems that the future reissue would feature both the complete score and the three rare pop tracks, Quarterflash’s “Make It Shine,” Michael Sembello’s “Gremlins…Mega Madness” and “Out Out,” performed by Peter Gabriel with Nile Rodgers in the producer’s chair.

And this Gremlins fan will wait as long as it takes for a release…even after midnight.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 11, 2011 at 14:27

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Friday Feature: “Born Free”

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Remembering his great friend John Barry upon the composer’s recent death, lyricist Don Black regaled the press with stories of the “blunt-spoken Yorkshireman” with his divine gift of music. Black relished the tales of Barry’s epic battle with Barbra Streisand which led to the mercurial composer’s departure from Streisand’s The Prince of Tides and his succinct rebuke to producer Harry Saltzman on the producer’s criticism of his theme song for Diamonds Are Forever: “What the f–k do you know about songwriting?” Yet one of John Barry’s most unhappy experiences was also one of his most successful, and audiences were the clear winners when Barry accepted the assignment to write the score to Born Free, which we’ll look at in today’s Friday Feature.

Joy Adamson’s 1960 book Born Free was a natural for the Hollywood treatment. In the novel, Adamson described her life in Kenya caring for an orphaned lion cub named Elsa, eventually releasing the lioness back into the wild. Adamson’s memoir spawned two sequels and was reportedly read by over 50 million people before 1965. A sale of the movie rights was sealed in 1963 by Sam Jaffe and Paul Radin, but the ball wasn’t rolling until Carl Foreman entered the picture as the executive producer or “presenter.” Foreman was a multiple Oscar nominee with credits including High Noon, and a survivor of the Hollywood blacklist. Joseph McCarthy’s long shadow loomed over Born Free; while Foreman had refused to name names in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, Radin had done just that. Lester Cole, signed to write the screenplay for Born Free, actually served prison time as one of the Hollywood Ten for his refusal to answer HUAC’s questions. Foreman vigorously defended Cole, with the end result being that his screenplay was credited to one “Gerald L.C. Copley,” with Cole not receiving credit under his own name until 1997.

John Barry makes his mark on Born Free after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 11, 2011 at 12:07

King, Taylor and Fellow “Troubadours” Arrive on DVD with Bonus CD

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Morgan Neville’s 2010 film Troubadours: The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter is nothing if not ambitious. A participant in the Sundance U.S. Documentary Competition, Troubadours functions as a dual biography of Carole King and James Taylor, as well as the story of Doug Weston’s club on Los Angeles’ Santa Monica Boulevard that gave rise to King, Taylor and so many others. Their 2007 reunion and subsequent tour in 2010 provides the framework for the film. Yet moreover, it touches on the entire singer-songwriter ethos that rose out of the turbulent last days of the 1960s, and in doing so, also biographically spotlights Jackson Browne, Elton John, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell and other Troubadour mainstays such as Don Henley and Glenn Frey of Eagles. (Steve Martin, a frequent guest at the Troubadour’s “Hoot” nights with his banjo in tow, contributes much of the film’s humor with his wry and on-the-money recollections. One such memory involves Frey setting him straight on the band’s name in something out of a “Who’s on first?” routine. It’s “Eagles,” Martin stresses today. Not “The Eagles!”) With its limited theatrical run wrapping up, Concord Music Group, a producer of the film, gives Troubadours a DVD release on March 1 via its Hear Music label in a special package that also contains a 10-track CD.

The accompanying CD is not a soundtrack to the film; wouldn’t that have been something, with its exclusive (and sometimes impromptu!) performances and rare archival footage of Taylor, King and others. Instead, we’re offered a sampler with some of the biggest names to play The Troubadour and be associated with the Los Angeles music scene of the early 1970s. As guitarist Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar points out in the film, don’t call these musicians mellow! They include Taylor and King, of course, who are represented with “Sweet Baby James” and “It’s Too Late,” respectively, but also Raitt, John, Kristofferson, Randy Newman, Warren Zevon, and also 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tom Waits. Lowell George’s Little Feat is the only group present, and a track from Linda Ronstadt is also included. While Ronstadt herself wasn’t a singer-songwriter, Neville’s film points out her importance to the era as a first-rate interpreter of many of her friends’ songs.

What rare treats are offered in the film? Hit the jump for details, plus pre-order information and track listing for the bonus CD! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 11, 2011 at 09:52