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Editor's Choice -

Best Of The Month

May 2012  

  

 

THE WESTERNS -
Music and Songs From Classic Westerns

 

Disc One = 32 Tracks (Playing Time = 72:18)

1. THE BIG COUNTRY (1958) - Opening Title - Orchestra (2:34)
2. THE SEARCHERS (1956) - The Searchers - Sons of the Pioneers (2:14)
3. THE SEARCHERS - The Yellow Rose of Texas - Chorus (2:26)
4. BULLWHIP (1958) - sung by Frankie Laine (1:32)
5. JESSE JAMES (1939) - Louis Silvers - Opening title (1:29)
6. SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON (1949) - Title song and
The Girl I Left Behind Me - Chorus (2:51)
7. HIGH NOON (1952) - Do Not Forsake Me - Tex Ritter (2:37)
8. THE HORSE SOLDIERS (1959) - I Left My Love - Chorus (4:02)
9. THE HORSE SOLDIERS - When Johnny Comes Marching Home (0:55)
10. THE HORSE SOLDIERS - Bonnie Blue Flag - Chorus (2:00)
11. THE HORSE SOLDIERS - Dixie - Chorus (1:44)
12. SADDLE THE WIND (1958) - Julie London (1:24)
13. GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL (1957) - Frankie Laine (2:54)
14. DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1939) - Opening title - Chorus (1:24)
15. DESTRY RIDES AGAIN - Little Joe -
Marlene Dietrich & Charles Winniger (2:07)
16. DESTRY RIDES AGAIN - You've Got That Look - Marlene Dietrich (2:10)
17. DESTRY RIDES AGAIN - The Boys in the Backroom -
Marlene Dietrich (2:33)
18. SHANE (1953) - Opening title - Orchestra (2:39)
19. RACHEL AND THE STRANGER ( 1948) - Opening title - Orchestra and
O He-O-Hi-O - Robert Mitchum (2:10)
20. RACHEL AND THE STRANGER - Just Like Me; Summer Song;
Tall Dark Stranger - Robert Mitchum, Loretta Young, Gary Gray (2:42)
21. RACHEL AND THE STRANGER - Foolish Pride; Rachel (2;59)
22. THE MAN FROM THE ALAMO ( 1955) - Opening title (2:06)
23. MAN WITHOUT A STAR - Frankie Laine (1:58)
24. MAN WITGHOUT A STAR - And The Moon Grew Brighter And Brigther - Kirk Douglas (2:01)
25. DODGE CITY (1939) - Opening title - Orchestra (1:43)
26. DODGE CITY - Marching Through Georgia - Ann Sheridan
and Chorus (1:42)
27. THE TALL MEN (1955) - Opening title - Orchestra (1:36)
28. THE TALL MEN - Jane Russell (2:20)
29. TIMBERJACK (1955) - Sons of the Pioneers (2:54)
30. TIMBERJACK - What Ev'ry Young Girl Should Know - Virginia Rees (3:02)
31. TIMBERJACK - My Dog - Hoagy Carmichael (1:40)
32. MY DARLING CLEMENTINE - Oh My Darling Clementine - Chorus (1:40)

Disc Two = 30 Tracks (Playing Time = 68:36

1. RAWHIDE (1951) - Opening title - Orchestra (1:39)
2. RIVER OF NO RETURN (1954) - Title song sung by
Tennessee Ernie Ford (2:02)
3. RIVER OF NO RETURN (1954) - One Silver Dollar - Marilyn Monroe (2:02)
4. RIVER OF NO RETURN - I'm Gonna File My Claim - Marilyn Monre (2:41)
5. RIVER OF NO RETURN - Down In The Meadow - Marilyn Monroe (2:24)
6. RIVER OF NO RETURN - Title song sung by Marilyn Monroe (2:13)
7. RIO GRANDE (1950) - Opening title - Orchestra (2:07)
8. RIO GRANDE - I'll Take You Home Kathleen - Sons of the Pioneers (3:20)
9. RIO GRANDE - Cattle Call - Sons of the Pioneers (1:08)
10. RIO GRANDE - Down By The Glensaide - Sons of the Pioneers (2:05)
11. RIO GRAQNDE - Dixie - Orchestra (1:01)
12. RIO BRAVO (1959) - Opening title - Orchestra (1:25)
13. RIO BRAVO - My Rifle, My Pony And Me - Dean Martin and
Ricky Nelson (2:06)
14. RIO BRAVO - Get Along Home, Cindy - Rickey Nelson (1:16)
15. BEND OF THE RIVER (1952) - Opening title (1:25)
16. FORT APACHE (1948) - Opening titlre - Orchestra (2:15)
17. THE KENTUCKIAN (1955) - Opening title - Orchestra (1:32)
18. THE KENTCUKIAN - Possum Up A Gum Tree - Diana Lynn, John McIntire, Una Merkel, Burt Lancaster (1:40)
19. THE KENTUCKIAN - I See My Darlin - Burt Lancaster, Diana Lynn,
Una Merkel (1:39)
20. RED RIVER - Settle Down - Chorus (2:19)
21. WICHITA (1955) - Title song sung by Tex Ritter (2:03)
22. VERA CRUZ (1954) - Opening title - Orchestra (3:13)
23. 3:10 TO YUMA - Title song sung by Frankie Laine (1:56)
24. THE MAN FROM LARAMIE (1955) - Title song - Chorus (2:16)
25. RANCHO NOTORIOUS (1952) - Get Away, Young Man -
Marlene Dietrich (2:15)
26. STATION WEST (1948) - The Sun Shining Warm - Burl Ives (3:34)
27. WAGON MASTER (1950) - Wagons West; Song Of The Wagon Master -
Sons of the Pioneers (2:07)
28. WAGON MASTER - Chuckawalla Swing - Sons of the Pioneers (4:13)
29. THE TEXAS RANGERS (1936) - Texas Rangers' Song - Chorus (1:31)
30. STAGECOACH (1939) - Medley of Traditional Themes - Orchestra (5:29)

Compilation and transfers by Geoff Milne.
Digital Processing: Tall Order Mastering
Graphic Design: Mary & Mick Ltd.

Jasmine Records JASMCD 3600/1

Rating: ****

For any vintage western film fan this 2 CD set should be of great interest. It was released by Jasmine Records in 2010 but I have chosen to highlight it this month to get the credit it deserves for helping to preserve great western film music from the past.

These are from the original soundtracks from films of the 1930s, '40s, and '50s by some of best film composers of that era: Hugo Friedhofer (VERA CRUZ), Bernard Herrmann (THE KENTUCKIAN) , Max Steiner (THE SEARCHERS), Dimitri Tiomkin (HIGH NOON and others), Victor Young (SHANE and others). Also one of the best movie lyricists of that time, Ned Washington (HIGH NOON, GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL, 3:10 TO YUMA, THE MAN FROM LARAMIE).

Some of the songs may be a surprise for actors not known to be great singers, like Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, and Robert Mitchum. The same applies to actresses such as Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe (the best actress singer on this CD set) , and Loretta Young. But they all are satisfactory with the songs they sing, even Marlene Dietrich's weak but distinctive voice. Of more appeal are the popular recording artists like Frankie Laine, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Tex Ritter and the superb Sons of the Pioneers, especially their singing on RIO GRANDE and THE SEARCHERS.

Both CDs contain over an hour of music. Most of the best known themes are included here, opening with the wonderful Main Title by Jerome Moross for THE BIG COUNTRY (Disc One, track 1). Some of the films feature only the title song, such as BULLWHIP and HIGH NOON. But most of the films feature more than one track, such as DESTRY RIDES AGAIN, RIVER OF NO RETURN and RIO GRANDE, with a great Main Title theme by Victor Young.

One thing that has bothered me for many years was the music from STAGECOACH (1939) receiving an Oscar for Best Score in 1939 (Disc Two, track 30). This "score" is really a batch of arrangements of familiar tunes, like "Bury Me Not On the Lone Prairie" or Stepeh Foster's "I Dream of Jeannie." How did these arrangements by Richard Hegeman, Frank Harling, John Leipold and Leo Shuken get the Oscar for Best Score? That's especially hard to understand with more worthy original scores like Aaron Copland's OF MICE AND MEN, Erich Wolfgang Korngold's THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX, and Dimitri Tiomkin's MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON. Maybe it was because STAGECOACH was such a popular film that year. Popularity has usually been the deciding factor in Oscar choices, and it still applies today. Was THE ARTIST really the best score of 2011 or the most popular? You can guess my answer!

Though the sound quality on THE WESTERNS is vintage mono and not up to today's digital standards, these are all the original soundtrack recordings (some including galloping horses and gunshots) and not someone's arrangements or a modern orchestra. For those who have searched for any of the original western film themes and songs, this is the CD set to get.

It also has a short but worthwhile summary of western film music by CD producer, Geoff Milne.

Highly recommended especially for vintage western fans.

 

-- Reviewed by Roger Hall, 30 May, 2012

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