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Archive for March 11th, 2013

FSM’s “Wild Bunch” Marks the End of an Era

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1601booklet2.inddAfter more than 15 years as one of the most reputable and trailblazing film soundtrack reissue labels, Film Score Monthly unveiled its 250th and final release today with a triple-disc expansion of Jerry Fielding’s score to the iconic Western The Wild Bunch.

Sam Peckinpah’s gritty tale of a gang of aging outlaws (including William Holden, Ernest Borgnine and Warren Oates) angling for one last score in the last days of the Old West is known for both its shocking (for its time) bloody violence and the revolutionary editing with which it was depicted (featuring quick cuts and tension-building slow-motion in equal measure). Fielding’s Oscar-nominated score starkly contrasts the bleakness of the picture, utilizing unconventional time signatures and period folk music indicative of the U.S.-Mexican border upon which the film takes place to add color beyond the blood spilled onscreen.

Originally issued as a soundtrack LP by Warner Bros. and expanded in 1997, The Wild Bunch is a fitting final presentation for FSM, a limited edition set (2,000 copies) featuring not only the complete score but a heap of alternate takes, demos and other archival material alongside the original soundtrack LP presentation as well.

Order your copy now and hit the jump to preview the track list – and a sincere congratulations for all of Film Score Monthly’s high-quality output!

Jerry Fielding, The Wild Bunch: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – End of the Line Edition (Film Score Monthly Vol. 16, No. 1, 2013 – original film released 1969)

Disc 1

  1. Main Title
  2. From Coffer to First Shoot-Out
  3. They Cleared Out/Buck’s Arroyo
  4. Judas Goat/Mexico Lindo/Half Hour of Light/To Sykes’s Camp
  5. Angel Confronts the Gorch Brothers/1st Denver Hotel (with “Darkey’s Awakening”)
  6. Denver Flashback (with “Darkey’s Awakening”)
  7. Slow Motion Tumble/Aurora Mi Amor
  8. All Clear/Arriving at Angel’s Camp
  9. Drunk with Wine and Love/Dance at Angel’s Camp
  10. Entrance of the General
  11. Mariachi at First Cantina
  12. Song from The Wild Bunch/Angel Blows His Cork
  13. Give It to Him
  14. Ain’t He the One?/Por Favor, I Need Him/Bodega el Bodega de Baño
  15. Give Him One/Aurora Mi Amor
  16. Assault on the Train and Escape, Parts 1 and 2/Locomotive Wreck
  17. Assault on the Train and Escape, Parts 3 and 4
  18. Drinking Song
  19. Santa Amalia
  20. Dynamite/Adventures on the High Road, Part 1
  21. Adventures on the High Road, Part 2
  22. Menace/Adventures on the High Road, Part 3
  23. Sykes in the Sand Box or The Schidt Seen
  24. He’s a Thief/How?
  25. Is That Sykes?/Bounty Hunters and Sykes’s Indian
  26. Dragging Angel/Army Patrol/Dinner at Drunken Brawl
  27. Song From The Wild Bunch (guitar)

Disc 2

  1. Attempt to Save Angel/I Gonna Give It to You
  2. Dirge and Finale
  3. La Golondrina
  4. Adelita
  5. B Natural Chord/Mexico Lindo/Half Hour of Light/To Sykes’s Camp
  6. 1st Denver Hotel (without “Darkey’s Awakening”)
  7. Denver Flashback (without “Darkey’s Awakening”)
  8. Slow Motion Tumble/Aurora Mi Amor
  9. Brother Pike Needs Help
  10. All Clear (Version 2)
  11. All Clear (Version 1)
  12. Drunk with Wine and Love
  13. Song from The Wild Bunch (slow version)
  14. They’re Coming
  15. In the Drink/After the Bridge
  16. Santa Amalia
  17. Adventures on the High Road, Part 2
  18. Musica—Musica
  19. First Machine Gun Fiesta/Second Machine Gun Fiesta
  20. Is That Sykes? (Version 2)
  21. Is That Sykes? (Version 1)
  22. Fireworks
  23. Song from The Wild Bunch (harmonica)
  24. Long March
  25. Dirge (revised overlay pickup, take 3)
  26. Dirge (revised overlay pickup, take 1)
  27. La Golondrina (End Title, Long Version)
  28. La Golondrina (Instrumental Backing Track)

Disc 3

  1. Song from The Wild Bunch
  2. Main Title
  3. Aurora Mi Amor
  4. Asssault on the Train and Escape
  5. Drinking Song
  6. Adelita
  7. Adventures on the High Road
  8. Bodega el Bodega de Baño
  9. Dirge and Finale
  10. End Credits (La Golondrina)
  11. Demo #1 (Teresa’s Entrance)
  12. Demo #2 (Dirge and Finale)
  13. Teresa Ad Lib #1
  14. Teresa Ad Lib #2
  15. Teresa Ad Lib #3
  16. Santa Maria #1
  17. Santa Maria #2
  18. Tender Theme (Teresa’s Entrance)
  19. La Golondrina (End Title, Short Version)

Disc 3, Tracks 1-10 released as Warner Bros. LP WS-1814, 1969. Portions of Discs 1-2 released on Warner Bros. CD (no cat. #), 1997

Written by Mike Duquette

March 11, 2013 at 14:48

Coming Up Roses: Sepia Reissues Ethel Merman’s “Greatest” On CD

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Merman - Her GreatestWhen Ethel Merman opened on Broadway in 1930’s Girl Crazy, introducing the world to George and Ira Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm,” The New Yorker described her, precisely and accurately, as “imitative of no one.”  She was only 22 at the time, but already Ethel Merman was recognized as having a tone unlikely any before or since.  The actress-singer with the booming, clarion voice called the Great White Way her home for the next forty years with regularity, going from triumph to triumph via the likes of Anything Goes, Annie Get Your Gun and Gypsy.  Sure, there was the occasional misfire along the way.  But with songwriters like George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerry Herman, and Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim tailoring songs for her over a four-decade period on the New York stage, who could ask for anything more, indeed?  Thankfully, The Merm made frequent side trips to recording studios.  One of her best albums, arranged and conducted by Frank Sinatra’s frequent associate Billy May, is finally arriving on CD from the U.K.’s Sepia label.  Merman: Her Greatest was recorded for the Chairman’s Reprise label and released in 1962 and has been expanded by Sepia for a March 12 release.

In addition to her never-bettered cast album performances on the seminal aural documents of musicals including Annie Get Your Gun (twice, in 1946 and 1966) and Gypsy, Merman recorded a number of oft-anthologized sides from the earliest days of her career onward.  Beginning with an RCA test session in 1931, Merman recorded in the thirties for labels such as Brunswick, Victor, HMV, and Liberty Music Shop.  These sessions afforded her a chance to preserve for posterity many songs she introduced by Porter (“You’re the Top,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Down In the Depths (on the 90th Floor),” “Ridin’ High”) and others.   In fact, Merman likely introduced more Porter classics than any other singer, having starred in five of his musicals: Anything Goes, Red, Hot and Blue, DuBarry Was a Lady, Panama Hattie and Something for the Boys!

In the forties, Merman scored her first – but not her last – Billboard chart appearance with 1944’s “Move It Over” on RCA, but she primarily called Decca her recording home.  There, she committed songs from Panama Hattie to vinyl as well as the full 1946 cast recording of Annie Get Your Gun (a No. 2 success on the Billboard chart) and Songs She Made Famous, recorded in December 1947 with conductor Jay Blackton (Annie Get Your Gun).

Decca smartly held onto Merman, signing her to an exclusive contract.  In 1950, she recorded her songs from her Tony-winning turn in Irving Berlin’s Call Me Madam for the label, leaving the rest of the cast to record the show with Dinah Shore over at RCA Victor.  (RCA held cast album rights and Decca wouldn’t loan Merman to the rival label for the occasion.)  Merman’s album followed Annie to a No. 2 chart berth.  Twenty singles were recorded for Decca in 1950 and 1951; these would be released on CD in 2005 as The World Is Your Balloon.  Film soundtracks were released on the label, too, including Call Me Madam (No. 5, 1953) and There’s No Business Like Show Business (No. 6, 1954).  1955’s studio album Memories was a collection of songs from the 1890s through the 1920s like “A Bicycle Built for Two” and “Sweet Rosie O’Grady,” and the same year’s A Musical Autobiography teamed her with Buddy Cole and His Combo for another walk down her own memory lane.  Her starring role in the 1956 Broadway musical Happy Hunting, introducing “Gee, But It’s Good to Be Here,” was recorded not by Decca, however, but by RCA, following the expiration of Merman’s contract.

After the jump: the scoop on Merman: Her Greatest and beyond! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 11, 2013 at 13:21

Posted in Ethel Merman, News, Reissues

“ICON” is Now a Capitol Idea

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Belinda Carlisle ICONAnother few batches of Universal’s eye-rolling ICON series are on the way – and while they offer a few genuine surprises, there’s a lot, perhaps even more than usual, to shake one’s head over.

The big surprise right off the bat is that the mid-price compilation series will now chronicle not only Universal-controlled catalogue artists, but EMI-controlled ones as well. This is hardly a surprise, given the past year’s big story of music business restructuring that’s leaving the world with three major music labels including a Universal/EMI conglomerate.

But the budget compilation idea is nothing new for EMI artists – and frustratingly, ICON is starting off by covering those EMI artists with more than enough compilations to go around, including The Beach Boys, Poison and Pat Benatar. While we have a few surprises to go around on the Universal side of the ICON list – Liberace and Captain & Tennille are prime examples on the “didn’t see that coming” list – there’s very little new or exciting in these batches. (The ICON entry for Bon Jovi is, in fact, a clone of the band’s 1994 compilation Cross Road with the cover art poorly repurposed.)

The only real boon for collectors is the ICON title for Go-Go’s frontwoman (and recent acquisition by Demon Music Group) Belinda Carlisle, whose set will feature a brand-new recording, “Sun,” her first recording to hit U.S. stores in 15 years.

These new batches kick off tomorrow with five EMI-controlled gospel artists (including Amy Grant, whose biggest pop hits were ironically on Universal’s A&M label). Another 15 follow the next week, and two more (Jimmy Cliff and Bon Jovi) follow the week after that. And they’re all yours to consider after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 11, 2013 at 12:36

Songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil Are “Born to Be Together” on New Ace CD

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Mann and Weil - Born to Be TogetherBorn to Be Together: could a more apropos title have been devised for a collection of the songs of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil?  Married since 1961, the team both defines and defies the phrase “unsung heroes.”  Without hit records as recording artists, Mann and Weil have never had the name recognition of their Brill Building-era compatriots like Carole King or Neil Sedaka, but these Grammy Award-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are hardly unsung.  If all they’d ever written was the most played song of the twentieth century, The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” they would have gone down in the history books.  With over 1,000 songs reportedly under their collective belt and some 100 hits (not a bad track record, eh?) charted, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil are simply international treasures.  Ace Records has recognized this with Born to Be Together, the label’s second volume of songs from their storied catalogue following 2009’s Glitter and Gold.

A 2004 theatrical revue starring the couple, They Wrote That?, made reference to one of the most frequent exclamations regarding their body of work.  You might find yourself saying that yourself glancing the track listing of this 25-song compendium: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,”  “Saturday Night at the Movies,” “We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place,” “Make Your Own Kind of Music.”  But those hits are just the tip of the iceberg here.

Compilation producer Mick Patrick has expertly woven those familiar tracks (all in their most famous versions) into a tapestry that also takes in lesser-known versions of hit songs and true rarities.  The disc also takes in compositions co-written by Mann and/or Weil with other luminaries, among them Gerry Goffin, Russ Titelman, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Ernie Freeman, and of course, Phil Spector.  The specter of Spector lingers on both the majestic songs he produced (“Lovin’ Feelin’,” The Crystals’ “Uptown,” The Ronettes’ darkly seductive “Born to Be Together”) and those he co-wrote as recorded by others (Len Barry’s Philly treatment of “You Baby”).

After the jump: much more on Mann and Weil, including a full track listing and order link! Read the rest of this entry »