Psichedelico Jazzistico

Artist: Ennio Morricone
Released by: él / Cherry Red Records

Here’s a quick look at another Ennio Morricone compilation CD, but substantially different from The Legendary Italian Westerns. These tracks are taken from the late sixties and early seventies, and while not quite as ‘psychedelic’ as the title would imply, they are certainly surreal, and in places have an almost dream like quality. But these dreams aren’t always nice dreams. As some of this music is taken from Giallo films, the music is often creepy and, at times, abrasive. But that is one of the many charms of this release – the diversity of sounds and musical styles on it.

Sometimes the music drifts into religious choral sounds, backed up with church organ, and at other times it slips into very sinister carnival music. There is one track that can only be described as an ‘organ freak out’. There’s even some straight ahead 70’s grinding funk. Also, as you’d expect from Morricone, there is a wide variety of pianos and keyboards.

If you have heard only Morricone’s soundtracks for The Mission and a few Spaghetti Westerns, you may be in for a bit of a shock listening to this. These tracks aren’t all nice melodies (although there are those on the album too). But the bulk of these tracks, mess with your head. If that’s a mind space that you like being in, then you’ll find a lot to enjoy here.

Track Listing

1. Plume Di Cristallo
from L’Uccello Dalle Plume Di Cristallo
2. Non Rimane piu Nessuno
from L’Uccello Dalle Plume Di Cristallo
3. Corsa Sui Tetti (AKA Black Glove Underground Pt. 1)
from L’Uccello Dalle Piume Di Cristallo
4. Come un Madrigale
from Quattro Mosche Di Velluto Grigio
5. Quattro Mosche Di Velluto Grigio
from Quattro Mosche Di Velluto Grigio
6. Sauna
from Metti Una Sera A Cena
7. Alla Luce Del Giorno
from Metti Una Sera A Cena
8. Uno Che Grida Amore
from Metti Una Sera A Cena
9. Sospesi tra le Nuvole
from Forza G
10. Forza G (Psichedelico Jazzistico)
from Forza G
11. L’Assoluto Naturale
from L’Assoluto Naturale
12. Studio di Colore
from L’Assoluto Naturale
13. Indagine Su Un Cittadino Al Di Sopra Di Ogni Sospetto
from Indagine Su Un Cittadino Al Di Sopra Di Ogni Sospetto
from Il Gatto
15. Marianzela e la Seduzione
from Il Gatto

Psichedelico Jazzistico

The Legendary Italian Westerns

Artist: Ennio Morricone
Released by: BMG / RCA
Release Year: 1990

When it comes to film composers, very few people are as prolific and as popular as Ennio Morricone. And as popular and as diverse as Morricone is, his most successful soundtracks are his scores to countless Spaghetti Westerns. This compilation CD collects the cream of the crop and whacks them on one very enjoyable CD.

The opening track, ‘A Gringo Like Me’ has to be one of the toughest drinking songs ever written. It extols all the virtues and requirements it takes to be a man in this rough old world. How’s this for lyrics:

Keep your hand on your gun.
Don’t you trust any one.
Be the first one to fire.
Every man is a liar.

Don’t be a fool for a smile or a kiss,
or your bullet might miss…
keep your eye on your goal.

There’s one thing that’ll save you your life,
It’s your hand on your knife…
and the Devil in your soul.

I know, I know…it’s pure poetry. But in their defence, the liner notes state: “They were often written by lyricists whose command of the English language was at best primitive…” But the lyrics don’t really matter. It’s the tunes underneath, and what great tunes they are!

After ‘A Gringo Like Me’, which is from the movie Gunfight At Red Sands there are three tracks from Guns Don’t Argue. One of the three, ‘Lonesome Billy’ is from the same lyrical school as ‘A Gringo Like Me’.

Then we’re into the big guns (if you’ll pardon the clumsy western analogy). Next we’re treated to seven tracks from A Fistful Of Dollars. If that doesn’t get you whistling, nothing else will.

The next four tracks are lifted from the film, A Gun For Ringo which starred Giuliano Gemma. Following this, we return to Eastwood territory with a fine selection of cuts from the For A Few Dollars More soundtrack. Here you get a bit of everything, from the twangy title tune, the showdown and even the musical pocket watch.

After that there are a few short brackets. First one number from Ringo Rides Again and then two tracks from 7 Guns For The MacGregors.

Next is the song ‘From Man To Man’ from Death Rides A Horse, which starred John Philip Law. Despite all the different roles that Law played, Sinbad, Pygar (the angel in Barbarella) – to me, he’ll always be Diabolik.

The CD closes out with four tracks from Once Upon A time In The West. I really love the track, ‘Man With A Harmonica’. If I could have a theme played every time I walked into a room, this would be it. But I guess it could get a bit annoying after a while…but I think it would impress people that don’t know you. Whoa…let’s not mess with this guy. He’s one tough hombre. Listen to his theme music!

I guess the big gaping hole on this compilation is that there are no tracks from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, but that’s not to denigrate the tracks on this album. They are all pretty good, but the theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is probably Morricone’s most recognised musical work, and as such, it seems like a strange omission. (It’s not on Volume 1 of this series either – that’s dedicated to American Western Themes) If you’re a Morricone lover, but you don’t want to buy all the soundtrack albums individually, then this compilation isn’t a bad fall back position.

The Legendary Italian Westerns

Zulu: Original Soundtrack Recording

Original Soundtrack Recording & Selection Of Zulu Stamps
John Barry (1964)

One Saturday morning, in the not so distant past, I was scrounging around the record bins at a local fete when I came across the Soundtrack to Zulu. Strangely, I wasn’t too familiar with the music. Why is this strange? For one, I am a huge fan of John Barry, and secondly, when I was at college, I shared a house with a bloke whose favourite film was Zulu. He’d drag out his old VHS copy at all hours. In the middle of the night, I’d wake up in terror, hearing strange chants emanating from the lounge room. To cut a long story short, I picked up a copy of the album. Hey, it was only two dollars!

Since that day, I have found out that there are all sorts of re-issues, and re-recordings of the Zulu Soundtrack. The one I am talking about here is the 1964 version, with narration by Richard Burton (well you’d want that, wouldn’t you?), and on the second side of the album, what is described as a selection of Zulu Stamps. Well they are not exactly ‘Zulu Stamps’. They are sixties pop reworkings of John Barry’s themes from the movie. They do have an African influence, but they are hardly traditional ‘Zulu’ music. Here’s a snippet from Cy Endfield’s liner notes.

”A number of these great traditional dance and song themes have been studied by the brilliant composer and arranger John Barry, who scored the film, and converted to a music so that all of us who listen to this record can do a little dancing of our own. If you learn the Zulu Stamp you will be doing some of the exciting, groovy dance movements that the Zulus themselves use.”

With an enticement like that, I am sure that many bored sixties housewives, while their husbands were at work, and their kids were at school, urged on by the primitive jungle rhythms would throw themselves around the lounge room doing the Zulu Stamp.

The music on the first side of the album, however is quite brilliant. Not that I expected anything less from Barry. It is good stirring stuff, that reflects the bravery of the men who held their positions at Rorke’s Drift as wave after wave of Zulu warrior swept down upon them. I know that sounds pompous, but those who have seen the film will know what I mean.

Side One: Original Soundtrack Recording
1. Main Title Theme – Isandhlwana 1879 (Narration by Richard Burton)
2. News Of The Massacre – Rorke’s Drift Threatened
3. Wagons Over
4. First Zulu Appearance And Assault
5. Durnfords Horse Arrive And Depart – The Third Assault
6. Zulu’s Final Appearance And Salute
7. The V.C. Roll and Men Of Harlech

Side Two: Selection Of Zulu Stamps
1. Stamp And Shake
2. High Grass
3. Zulu Stamp
4. Big Shield
5. Zulu Maid
6. Monkey Feathers

Zulu: Original Soundtrack Recording