The Caine Mutiny

Retroist Scoreboard: The Caine Mutiny, A Thriller and the Tallahatchie Bridge

It’s the end of May, bills are due, the rent’s due…and there’s a whole new batch of classic soundtracks out there to make you wish the bills and the rent could take a hike for just a little while.

The ever-reliable Intrada has restored and released Max Steiner‘s classic score from the 1954 movie The Caine Mutiny, a soundtrack that has never before been released. An LP of dialogue highlights circulated briefly during the year of the movie’s release, but it contained no music – it has taken over six decades for this soundtrack to see the light of day, and The Caine Mutiny is hardly what I’d describe as an obscure movie.

The Caine Mutiny

Not only is the entire score represented on this CD, but Intrada remembered to include “I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me”, sung by May Wynn – not a single note of music has been left off.

The Caine Mutiny

[Via] Crackle UK

Moving away from The Caine Mutiny, Kritzerland Records is rolling out a classic title of its own, Michael Legrand‘s score from the 1976 cult classic Ode To Billy Joe. Just about everyone involved with the movie had the thankless task of having to retell and expand upon a story inspired by Bobbie Gentry’s hit 1967 single of the same name, which naturally cropped up in the movie as well.

[Via] Barstoneworth Town

As the composer of the movie score, Legrand had to meet the style of that song with his own music as well. The soundtrack was available on vinyl in 1976, and this is its first official CD release, limited to 1,000 copies.

Ode To Billy Joe

From time to time, I’ve mentioned limited edition releases, but the next one may well be the most limited release I’ve yet covered in the Retroist Scoreboard – the score from a 1977 Croatian miniseries about Nikola Tesla. Kronos Records is releasing only 300 copies worldwide of Alfi Kabiljo‘s score, which accompanied a dramatization of Tesla’s early life and his eventual emigration to the United States. As many are unlikely to be familiar with the series for which this music was composed, this is a real curiosity.

Nikola Tesla

Is that all? That is not all. The last title we’re covering this week will thrill you…especially if you’re a fan of vintage Jerry Goldsmith.

Thriller
Tadlow Records has released a brand new recording of highlights from Goldsmith’s scores from the early 1960s TV series Boris Karloff’s Thriller. With Nic Raine conducting the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, working from arrangements transcripted from the original written scores by Leigh Phillips, this is as close as we’re ever likely to get to the original scores. The Thriller episodes represented on the CD are “The Grim Reaper”, “Hay-Fork and Bill-Hook”, “Well of Doom”, “Mr. George”, “The Poisoner”, and “Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper”.

Great care was taken, in the new recordings, to match the arrangements and performances of the original 1960s recordings, and best of all, the reaction to this compilation of Thriller scores has been enthusiastic enough for Tadlow to begin preparations for a second volume.

That’s this week’s releases – something for everybody, especially vintage TV and movie music fans.

If your in the mood for more Humphrey Bogart, why not check out this behind the scenes shot from Casablanca?

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Retroist Scoreboard: Beware the Ides of May – From Raiders To Reynolds

Mid-May has been crazy, so apologies for the Retroist Scoreboard taking an unscheduled break. But hey, there’s some seriously good stuff to talk about now that we’re back.

Intrada Records has released a new 3-CD edition of the late, great Jerry Goldsmith’s score from Poltergeist II. Now, you may well be asking yourself how one squeezes a 3-CD set out of a single movie that doesn’t even last three hours, but this set is a real treat for Goldsmith afficionados.

Poltergeist II

The three-disc set presents, across two discs, the distinctly different digital and analog mixes of the complete score, along with a bonus third disc presenting several key cues from the film as Goldsmith originally scored them, featuring hair-raisingly unearthly choral performances that were frequently left off the sound mix in the final movie. Best of all, Intrada isn’t charging an arm and a leg just because of the disc count, so even if you have a previous release of this soundtrack, your wallet will not be forever haunted by upgrading to this release.

Poltergeist II

Quartet Records has released a very limited edition (1,000 copies) of Frank de Vol’s scores from two ’70s Burt Reynolds movies, Hustle and The Longest Yard, on a single disc. The Hustle score, among its other selling points, has the best track title this author has ever seen on a compact disc of any genre, “Phychedelicatessen”.

Hustle

In a rare instance of what’s normally thought of as a soundtrack label dipping its toes into the mainstream, Varese Sarabande has released The Very Best Of Peter Cetera, decidedly not a soundtrack release…or is it? Crowded with tracks such as “The Glory Of Love”, “Daddy’s Girl”, “After All” and “Stay With Me”, all of which were prominently featured in hit movies, this isn’t such an “out of left field” release for Varese after all – late ’80s Hollywood saw Cetera as a soundtrack (and publicity) goldmine.

Peter Cetera

June 2nd will see the release of a new vinyl pressing of John Williams’ legendary Raiders of the Lost Ark score, this time with additional material that wasn’t featured on the 1981 LP. If you have the 2008 CD box set, there isn’t anything you haven’t already heard here, but this 2-record set from Concord is an eye-catching addition to your vinyl collection. Support for “Indy” music, indeed!

Raiders of the Lost Ark - CD Release

Track List from the CD release.

Looking even further ahead, word has hit the internet, by way of composer W.G. “Snuffy” Walden, that we might be getting a long, long overdue release of music from The West Wing this summer, while September will see the release of one, if not two, albums of music from Showtime’s revival of Twin Peaks. And La-La Land Records, almost the de facto label for Star Trek music these days, is apparently in early negotiations with CBS to discuss a soundtrack release for Star Trek: Discovery…even though it’s not known who will be doing the music. This is shaping up to be an exciting year for fans of TV soundtrack music…

…and we’re not even halfway through the year yet. Buckle up, because there may be even more soundtrack news very soon.

Speaking of the legendary score by John Williams for Raiders of the Lost Ark – why not listen to the composer discuss his work?

[Via] Maestro Sanaboti

Singin' Sixties

Retroist Scoreboard: The Singin’ Sixties

A bit of a light week here at the Retroist Scoreboard, but there’s still music in the air. And pollen. Maybe more pollen than music this week, admittedly, but there’s still music.

Intrada has unearthed Frank Perkins’ combination score-and-songs album from the 1963 Warner Bros. all-star summer flick Palm Springs Weekend, featuring vocal contributions from the likes of Troy Donahue, Robert Conrad, and Connie Stevens. The album, restored from the original master tapes from the 1960s LP release, weighs in at just a little over half an hour, but if you need a fresh (and rarely-heard) fix from the Beach Blanket Bingo era, this is your ticket back to those times.
Singin' Sixties

Varese Sarabande will begin shipping the first-ever official CD release of the soundtrack from 1968’s Barbarella this Friday, featuring Charles Fox’s score with vocals and performances by Bob Crewe and the Bob Crewe Generation Orchestra. Pre-orders are still being taken, and the price on this one is definitely right.

And you may be able to score this score for even less! Due to upgrades of their shipping systems, Varese is offering a 10% discount on all orders placed between May 8th and 21st, the catch being that shipping may be a little bit on the slow side during that period.

Is that all? That is not all.

Occasionally I might point out new or upcoming releases that tickle our ears the way a good soundtrack does, and it just so happens that my picks in that category this week feature some of the pioneer originators of electronic music, and some of its best current practitioners. Full disclosure: both parties include friends of mine, so forgive me for being a little less impartial than usual.

The Radiophonic Workshop is a live, touring, recording amalgamation of original members of the now-defunct BBC Radiophonic Workshop and newer members. Members Dick Mills and Roger Limb were there in the ‘60s and ‘70s, when the Workshop’s pioneering works included the original iteration of the Doctor Who theme music, while later recruits Peter Howell and Paddy Kingsland helped define that show’s sound in the 1980s, Howell in particular having arranged the Peter Davison / Colin Baker era version of the Doctor Who theme.

Mark Ayres, who joined the Workshop in its twilight years partly as an archivist of its classic material, and Kieron Pepper, round out the current incarnation of the Workshop, and they’ve assembled a new album using vintage synthesizers and radiophonic recording techniques, Burials In Several Earths, now available for pre-order both as a download and on CD or vinyl. The album drops on May 19th.

[Via] The Radiophonic Workshop

The Radiophonic Workshop originated in the late 1950s, creating electronic wizardry out of tape loops and oscillators on a shoestring budget in a tiny studio in the BBC’s Maida Vale facility. They’ve done a lot more than just Doctor Who – Kingsland single-handedly scored the BBC’s radio and TV incarnations of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – though their live shows feature callbacks to their past glories aplenty.

On the slightly more modern side of things, 8 Bit Weapon is releasing an experimental concept EP on May 8th under the title DLC: The OST. Renowned for crafting amazingly multi-layered music from the sound chips of classic video game consoles and computers, the electronic duo consisting of Seth and Michelle Sternberger is taking satirical aim at the industry that made their instruments this time around…or, at least, that industry’s modern tendency to foist incomplete games upon the buying public. The press blurb for DLC: The OST asks: “What IF the music industry followed this business model? How much of a song would you hear before you purchased the rest of it as DLC?“

Next week: get ready for the Lasso of Truth to snatch your wallet, because La-La Land Records is finally releasing a 3-CD box set of music from the 1970s Wonder Woman series, including music from the pilot movie, and even more music from the second and third seasons. Tune in next week for the details!

Rifling - The Rifleman

Retroist Scoreboard: Rifling through the classics

There’s been no shortage of soundtracks from classic westerns lately, but this week I have a real treat to bring to your attention, a vintage surprise from a label normally associated with audiophile classical releases rather than soundtracks. Laurel Records is releasing a 2-CD set of Herschel Burke Gilbert’s original music from the classic late ‘50s/early ‘60s TV series The Rifleman, remastered from the original session tapes. The 2-CD set includes a 24-page booklet detailing the series’ music and the career of its composer, who also happened to be the founder of the label. The track list includes such gems as a vocal version of the theme tune, which many listeners may not have realized had lyrics all along! TV soundtracks from this era, let alone soundtracks representing the golden age of TV westerns, are rare specimens indeed.

Rifling

The Esteemed Herschel Burke Gilbert.

Varese Sarabande is bringing back a classic soundtrack they first issued on vinyl in the 1980s, this time on CD for the first time: Bob Colbert’s score to the mammoth 1983 miniseries based on Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War. Colbert, a veteran of such TV fare as Dark Shadows, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and Supertrain, gave the epic tale of family drama amid the turmoil of World War II a fittingly grandiose orchestral treatment that has been available on LP only for the past 30-odd years. As part of the Varese 500 series, this release is limited to a very, very short print run of 500 copies worldwide.

Even ThinkGeek is getting in on the soundtrack action this week, with an exclusive milk-white vinyl release of highlights from Ramin Djawadi’s music from season one of HBO’s Westworld. It contains only a fraction of the music available on the full-length digital download, but if you like your music for unnervingly emotional robots to have the warmth of vinyl, this is the only game in town. This title is reportedly selling fast, so muster your best robot-like reflexes on the ordering button.

Last but not least, Intrada has put a heap of back catalog titles on sale through April 26th, offering a 30% discount with the coupon code SALE30. Titles you can pick up at unhealable deep-cut discounts include 48 Hrs., The Blue Lagoon, In Like Flint, SpaceCamp, Cat’s Eye, Judge Dredd, Red Dawn, The Shadow, and vinyl releases such as Rocky IV and Clash Of The Titans. Pick up some real classics for your collection, possibly without weeping for your wallet. Hey, you needed to spend that tax refund somewhere, didn’t you?

Before we shut down this week’s Retroist Scoreboard, here are a couple of sneak previews. La-La Land Records has been delighting X-Files fans for several years with elaborate box sets containing highlights of Mark Snow’s scores from many a popular episode of the original show’s run, and now the label is bringing X-Files fans’ soundtrack collections up to date with a collection of music from the recent revival of the series, available for order next week.

Varese Sarabande is taking pre-orders for the May CD release of the score from Barbarella, the first-ever official CD pressing of this score. (There have been CDs transferred from the original LP before, but all of those prior releases have been bootlegs.) Also, the price is definitely right on this one – the music has that unmistakable flavor of the ‘60s, and it has a price tag from the ‘90s.

And finally, the official soundtrack of the human race as of 1977 is about to be made available! Last fall, Ozma Records launched a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a remastered edition of the Voyager Golden Record, the gold-plated LPs that were affixed to the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft before their launch toward interstellar space in 1977. Devised by Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan and Jon Lomberg, the Golden Record is a primer of the sights and sounds of Earth, including natural sounds from many environments, music from many cultures (including the late, great Chuck Berry and Louis Armstrong), and pictorial and pictographic representations of Earth, its location, and its dominant life forms who felt like flinging some very informative vinyl into the depths of the Milky Way galaxy. While the 3-LP vinyl box set ran nearly $100 and is still in production, those of us who, like myself, backed the project at a more budget-conscious level can expect to receive our digital downloads in the very near future. There’s no word as yet on any general, non-Kickstarter-backer release plans for the remastered Voyager Golden Record.

Now, if the Voyager Golden Record had been made about a year later, what are the odds that Earth’s Greatest Hits would’ve wound up including some John Williams tunes suitable for a galaxy far, far away?

Lovecraft

POW, Lovecraft! To the moon!

If you’re in the mood for the moon, or perhaps for awakening eldritch horrors, this is your week, soundtrack collecting friends.

There’s a new soundtrack out for a movie based on some classic H.P. Lovecraft lore, and if you’ll pardon the expression, it’s a great old one. Intrada this week brings us Richard Band’s complete score from 1986’s From Beyond, including alternate recordings of some of the movie’s cues. Alternates are an interesting glimpse into the compositional process, a look at how a scene could’ve played out musically…but didn’t. Maybe it’s a slight shift in arrangement, maybe it’s a total rethink of the piece of music from the ground up.
Lovecraft

Oh, but it gets better – since Intrada has rolled out a new release that combines Lovecraft and Richard Band and Jeffrey Combs, why not offer a special deal on another soundtrack that has all of those things in one place? The already-released Richard Band score from 1985’s Re-Animator can be yours for 15% off – with or without the purchase of From Beyond – if you use the coupon code BEYOND at checkout.
Lovecraft

Now let’s go to the moon. Many an ardent fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation will tell you that the show’s music was much better in its first four seasons on the air thanks to composer Ron Jones, whose tendency to buck the showrunners’ very strict ideas on music didn’t exactly endear him to them, and they simply stopped engaging his services toward the end of the fourth season, even though he’d given the show its most celebrated score (1990’s fan favorite two-parter The Best Of Both Worlds). Jones has since moved on to Family Guy, happily leaving space behind…until the makers of a new documentary about the space program sent him back into orbit.

Jones’ score from Fight for Space can now be brought down to Earth from Amazon’s digital music service. (No CD release is planned at this time.)

If you’re looking for a more fanciful trip to the moon, however, Kritzerland Records brings us John Scott’s classic score from 1967’s Jules Verne’s Rocket to the Moon (released in the U.S. as Those Fantastic Flying Fools in an attempt to grab the coattails of Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines). This soundtrack was released…in 1967…on vinyl…in the UK. Chances are, for most soundtrack collectors, this is their first realistic shot at owning this one. Scott was near the beginning of his career here, prior to such high-profile assignments as The Final Countdown, Greystoke: The Legend Of Tarzan, and King Kong Lives, and this score makes it easy to see how he started climbing the Hollywood ladder so quickly.

Coming next week: the late, great Elmer Bernstein rides again with The Sons Of Katie Elder. Tune in next time, true believers.

Speaking of showbiz and soundtracks, it’s time for the penultimate installment of the Retroist Scoreboard Glossary, giving you the lingo that crops up so often in discussion of collecting soundtracks.

The Retroist Scoreboard: The Industry & The Hobby & Some Acronyms

AFM (American Federation of Musicians) – the trade union of session musicians hired to perform film scores in the United States, the AFM represents its members in negotiations for the release or reuse of their music, and as such wields considerable power in the soundtrack industry. The AFM contends – quite rightly – that if labels or the directors/studios of later movies wish to make use of music already recorded, the musicians who performed in those recordings should benefit from that continued use as well. The AFM was responsible for establishing the approximately 45-minute “ceiling” on the amount of music on most soundtrack albums through the ‘90s (and, as such, can be inadvertently thanked for making complete or expanded score reissues necessary in the first place). Negotiations between the AFM and Film Score Monthly (FSM) in the late ‘90s led to the industry-standard 3,000 copy limited edition that has become the norm for boutique soundtrack labels, though that limit can also be said to have created the secondary market for limited edition soundtrack releases.

Film Score Monthly (FSM) – the long-running periodical publication of the film music collecting hobby, Film Score Monthly was founded as a fanzine in 1990 by Lukas Kendall, became a glossy professional publication in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, before going digital (like many other print magazines) more recently. Film Score Monthly also became, chiefly in the 2000s, a soundtrack label unto itself, releasing such classic film scores as The Dirty Dozen, Logan’s Run, THX-1138, Ben-Hur, Patton, Heavy Metal, and dozens of others, though Kendall opted to cease operating as a label several years ago. Some out of print FSM titles are now worth serious money on the secondary market.

Holst – in soundtrack collecting circles, you hear a lot about Gustav Holst (1874–1934), the composer of The Planets (Op. 32) orchestral suite, which was not a soundtrack. But Holst’s unique style, especially the opening bars of “Mars, Bringer Of War” (The Planets’ first movement), has had a profound influence on orchestral scoring. You can clearly hear its influence on John Williams’ Star Wars (and, via Williams’ influence on later generations of composers, to much more recent fare), and various filmmakers and composers have even licensed and incorporated snippets of The Planets into their own scores, such as The Right Stuff. (Director Nicholas Meyer originally wanted to track Star Trek VI with The Planets, but the cost of licensing the music from the Holst estate ruled that out; see tracking.)

Korngold – a descriptive term derived from the name of legendary film composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957), who all but invented the full-blooded orchestral film scoring tradition for movies with fantasy settings, bestowing a brassy, heraldic sound upon The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938) and Captain Blood (1935). (The irony of it is that, if Robin Hood was a real person, the dominant music of that period in history would likely have been plainchant, not a brass section.) Korngold is often pointed out a major influence on most later film music composers, including one John Williams; over half a century after his death, his name has become a verb among some film music fans (“wow, he was really Korngolding it on that movie!”).

Perpetuity Rights – in the early days of the specialty soundtrack label (namely, the 1990s), small labels such as Varese Sarabande and GNP Crescendo negotiated the rights to film and TV scores they released in perpetuity – no other label can release that soundtrack. Ever. This has an effect on reissues in that, unless that label releases an expanded or complete score later itself, there’s now an additional party to pay in reissuing/expanding a previously partially released score. This was a major issue with La-La Land’s 2012 release of the 15-CD complete music collection from classic Star Trek: GNP Crescendo had to be paid because it had locked down the soundtrack rights for the scores from the original series. This behind-the-scenes negotiation is invisible to the buying public, but may substantially increase the price they pay for a reissue.