Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt
swashbuckler332

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Twofer!

To clarify: I have been sick for the past couple of days. It started out being a "sort of" sick and ended up blossoming into a "pretty sick" which became a "pretty damn sick." I'm feeling much better now, and I'm hoping to go back to work tomorrow morning more for the prospect of getting out of my damn apartment than for any warm fuzzies about the job. I was pretty much confined to my apartment for most of last week and the weekend, and so I ended up doing what I could to keep myself amused. This ended up meaning (surprise, surprise) sitting down at the Vermithrax Pejorative and playing around with music. As a result, I present to you today not one but two compilations that I have made over the past few days.
As both a filmmaker and a film music enthusiast, the films of Sergio Leone are a source of great inspiration. By adapting the much more cynical approach of Akira Kurosawa's samurai films and applying it to the American Western, Leone created a new standard for the genre. From the sun-drenched widescreen vistas to the tight, sweaty close-ups, this was bold and expressive cinema. Leone's Westerns are irresistible because of his style; it is the perfect combination of nihilism, morality and the best macho bullshit.

All of Leone's films were scored by Ennio Morricone, and the collaboration between the two is often hailed as being on a par with that of Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann. Leone would often have Morricone compose music before shooting so that he could play it on the set for the actors. Morricone had two main talents: a gift for melody and a penchant for musical exploration. This meant that in addition to beautiful long-form themes, there is also a streak of weirdness that runs through his music that keeps these scores, some now close to forty years old, fresh and engaging.

The original title for A Fistful of Dynamite was Giù la testa!, which translates into Duck, You Sucker!. Because of the fact that the film was always referred to by the latter name when I was at school - and because I think it's funnier - that is the title I've used here. I also didn't include any selections from the wonderful My Name Is Nobody despite its connection to Leone's oeuvre (he produced and co-wrote the film and it follows through on many of the ideas introduced in the the Dollars trilogy and Once Upon A Time in the West). I decided to restrict the scope of the album to Westerns Leone himself directed, which also eliminated Once Upon A Time in America, a beautiful score to be sure, but one that wouldn't necessarily have fit on this CD.

While I was initially satisfied with my previous essay on the Ennio Morricone/Sergio Leone Western collaboration, Gun and Sun, time has not proven kind to that disc. All but one of the scores represented have in the interim been remastered and expanded, yielding much better sonics and a greater variety of music to choose from to best represent the scores. As a result, while I did check the track listing for Gun and Sun occasionally while assembling the new version, for the most part I approached this as a completely new project. Many of the selections are the same, but will benefit from superior sonics, and in other cases I was able to use tracks which had not been available when I put together the previous disc.

The sources for the new assembly were the new issues from GDM of A Fistful of Dollars and Once Upon a Time in the West, the Pick Up Records two disc set of Duck, You Sucker!. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is sourced from two different discs; the original stereo album tracks sound better on the GDM issue but the monaural additional cues sound better on the Manhattan/EMI reissue. The only expansion from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly that was not sourced from the Manhattan/EMI disc is the conclusion of "The Trio" (track 29), which is exclusive to the GDM disc. For a Few Dollars More is sourced from the same RCA disc as before; apparently the original tapes for this score have been lost, and I'm not interested in spending a small fortune on a lackluster expanded version which has sound effects over the music and overzealous de-hissing, which is the only other source.

I decided early on that I wanted this disc to have to delineated "sides" for structural purposes, but in assembly decided to make the division "official" by notating it in the insert's track listing. There is also an audible pause (and a two-second pregap) between side one and side two. I found that this allowed me to make the disc more internally symmetrical; I could introduce a theme on side one but wait until side two to develop (I used overlapping but discrete successions; for example, the soaring "Once Upon a Time in the West" theme takes over from "For a Fistful of Dollars"). This is a vast improvement over the previous disc in sonics, pacing and appearance (I made my own screencaps from which I derived the artwork on the album), and I feel a very satisfying summary of this extremely important director/composer team.



31 Tracks • 81:29

    Side One

  1. MAIN TITLE (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 2:36

  2. THE MUSICAL POCKET WATCH (For a Few Dollars More) 1:06

  3. HARMONICA (Once Upon a Time in the West) 2:22

  4. HAPPIER DAYS (Duck, You Sucker!) 3:17

  5. CARRIAGE OF THE SPIRITS (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 2:04

  6. FOR A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (A Fistful of Dollars) 1:45

  7. JUAN MEETS SEAN (Duck, You Sucker!) 1:33

  8. THE VICE OF KILLING (For a Few Dollars More) 2:21

  9. THE SUNDOWN (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 1:12

  10. CHEYENNE (Once Upon a Time in the West) 1:11

  11. OVERTURE (A Fistful of Dollars) 2:52

  12. MEXICO AND IRELAND (Duck, You Sucker!) 4:56

  13. ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (Once Upon a Time in the West) 3:34

  14. THE ECSTASY OF GOLD (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 3:18

  15. SETTING THINGS RIGHT (A Fistful of Dollars) 1:20

  16. MORTON (Once Upon a Time in the West) 1:30

  17. FATHER RAMIREZ (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 2:34



  18. Side Two

  19. THE MARCH OF THE BEGGARS (Duck, You Sucker!) 4:24

  20. JILL (Once Upon a Time in the West) 1:44

  21. THE DESERT (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 4:10

  22. SIXTY SECONDS TO WHAT? (For a Few Dollars More) 2:25

  23. ALMOST DEAD (A Fistful of Dollars) 1:36

  24. FINAL DUEL (Once Upon a Time in the West) 3:29

  25. MESA VERDE (Duck, You Sucker!) 3:19

  26. TUCO’S PURSUIT (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 2:20

  27. FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (For a Few Dollars More) 1:41

  28. THE CHASE (A Fistful of Dollars) 2:20

  29. THE BIRTH OF A CITY (Once Upon a Time in the West) 4:13

  30. THE TRIO (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 7:12

  31. GOODBYE, COLONEL (For a Few Dollars More) 1:41

  32. FAREWELL TO CHEYENNE (Once Upon a Time in the West) 2:35




Music Composed, Orchestrated and Conducted by

ENNIO MORRICONE

Except for Selections from For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Conducted by Bruno Nicolai

Featuring
Unione Musicisti Di Roma • Canti Moderni Di Alessandroni • Cinefonica Italiana
Edda Dell’Orso: Solo Vocals • Alessandro Alessandroni: Whistles, Guitar, Choral Direction
Franco De Gemini: Harmonica • Giovani Culasso, Michele Lacarenza: Trumpets • Bruno Battisti D’Amario: Guitar

    Side One

  1. MAIN TITLE (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 2:36
    I toyed with the idea of opening the disc with a different track, but in the end the ubiquitous nature of this particular theme seemed too natural a beginning. The iconic coyote calls and vitalizing electric guitar passage in many was is the spokesmusic for the entire Italian Western genre.

  2. THE MUSICAL POCKET WATCH (For a Few Dollars More) 1:06
    One of the most interesting musical devices in For a Few Dollars More is the integration of the little ditty from the two watches in the film into the score. El Indio (Gian Maria Volontè) owns one, the Colonel (Lee Van Cleef) the other, an example of theme-sharing similar to that heard in the following track.

  3. HARMONICA (Once Upon a Time in the West) 2:22
    This cue is for the meeting of the haunted Harmonica (Charles Bronson) with Cheyenne (Jason Robards). The character is signified by the tuneless wheezing he plays on his intrument, while a second theme, shared by Harmonica with Frank (Henry Fonda) is introduced on electric guitar.

  4. HAPPIER DAYS (Duck, You Sucker!) 3:17
    Over the course of Duck, You Sucker!, Sean (James Coburn) has memories of idyllic past experiences with a beautiful lass (Vivienne Chandle), who seems to represent Ireland and the friend (David Warbeck) who is destined to betray him. This track was simply titled "Duck, You Sucker (Version 3)." I have taken this title from the relevant chapter on the 2 disc special edition MGM/UA DVD.

  5. CARRIAGE OF THE SPIRITS (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 2:04
    A mournful theme for trumpets and solo vocalist is insterspersed with bugle calls as a wagon appears in the desert before Tuco (Eli Wallach) and Blondie (Clint Eastwood), setting their part of the story in motion.

  6. FOR A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (A Fistful of Dollars) 1:45
    The somber main theme for A Fistful of Dollars is led by a trumpet evoking the Mexican setting of the story. The trumpet theme is similar to the music that Morricone would create in later features for showdowns (tracks 21 and 29).

  7. JUAN MEETS SEAN (Duck, You Sucker!) 1:33
    Ths is a whimsical excerpt from a cue titled "The March of the Beggars (Version 2)" on the double disc release of this score. I retitled it to better reflect it's placement in the film. The track concludes with transcendental chorale for organ and chorus as Juan (Rod Steiger) realizes that Sean may be the key to fulfilling his lifelong dream of robbing the Banco Nacional de Mesa Verde, a piece of music that I fell in love with once I had finally seen the film; it was not included on the original album but was thankfully preserved on the Pick Up Records edition.

  8. THE VICE OF KILLING (For a Few Dollars More) 2:21
    The title track of this album is this quintessential bit of Morricone Western scoring heard during a raid by El Indio's men. A beautiful and introspective theme is able to also be exciting and propulsive with an equestrian rhythm.

  9. THE SUNDOWN (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 1:12
    Forbidding strings and plaintive guitar set a mood of stillness as Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef) enters the story. This track was used by Quentin Tarantino in Kill Bill, Volume 2.

  10. CHEYENNE (Once Upon a Time in the West) 1:11
    Cheyenne is a representation of the dying west, over the course of the film he becomes and an anachronism. The tongue-in-cheek clippity-clop rhythm of the piece is a reference to images (and on a meta level, the music) of the old West.

  11. OVERTURE (A Fistful of Dollars) 2:52
    This catchy tune whistled with aplomb by Alessandro Alessandroni is accompanied by odd, fragmented orchestration including whips cracking and chimes that seem to at once embrace and shatter the Western tropes. The use of electric guitar and choir is where Morricone completely breaks with any semblance of tradition.

  12. MEXICO AND IRELAND (Duck, You Sucker!) 4:56
    Juan, drawn into the revolution by Sean, finds everything that he once valued has been taken away from him. This tragic piece of music illustrates Juan's horrified discover and Sean's realization of his responsibility.

  13. ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (Once Upon a Time in the West) 3:34
    After the sorrow of the previous track, the rapturous beauty of the material primoris for Morricone and Leone's masterpiece Once Upon a Time in the West will be most welcome. Morricone provides expansive music featuring the soaring vocals of Edda Dell'Orso for the stunning Monument Valley locations seen as Jill (the ever gorgeous Claudia Cardinale) enters the story. This track has generally been presented in monaural in all album presentations; the GDM edition adds a slight stereo presence that I found pleasing.

  14. THE ECSTASY OF GOLD (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 3:18
    Ms. Dell'Orso returns for this famous cue in which Tuco arrives at the cemetery and progressively more frantically searches for the name "Arch Stanton." I was originally considering this title for the album, but decided on "The Vice of Killing" when I realized that most people would be thinking of Metallica.

  15. SETTING THINGS RIGHT (A Fistful of Dollars) 1:20
    This is a more intimate version of the theme introduced in "For a Fistful of Dollars" (track 6). This was originally titled as another variation of "For a Fistful of Dollars" on the CD, but I have again retitled the cue to conform to the relevant chapter on the 2 disc special edition MGM/UA DVD.

  16. MORTON (Once Upon a Time in the West) 1:30
    The railroad is the transition point between the old West (as represented by Cheyenne) and the new. Unfortunately, railroad baron Morton (Gabriele Ferzetti) is growing progressively weaker over time, and his dream of seeing the Pacific Ocean gradually slips away from him. His theme is likewise something that begins but trails off before it can complete itself.

  17. FATHER RAMIREZ (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 2:34
    An intimate Mexican-flavored guitar melody illustrates the relationship between Tuco and his brother Pablo (Luigi Pistilli). A fascinating scene that completely shifts one's perception of Tuco, who views his brother's entering the priesthood as an act of cowardice is made all the more poignant by his attempts to cover up his pain when he joins Blondie again to continue the quest for Confederate gold, which is scored with a rousing return of the B theme from the main title (track 1), bringing side one to a close.



  18. Side Two

  19. THE MARCH OF THE BEGGARS (Duck, You Sucker!) 4:24
    Side two opens with a return to the profane, belching theme introduced in "Juan Meets Sean" (track 7), with humorous quotations of Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" interpolated. In one of the major setpieces of the film, Juan realizes his lifelong ambition to raid the Banco Nacional de Mesa Verde, but all he finds are political prisoners. As he moves from vault to vault looking for the expected riches, he unwittingly becomes a hero of the revolution. The track concludes with a perverted version of the organ/choir chorale that closed off "Juan Meets Sean" reflecting Juan's frustration. This is only one of two tracks that I did any interior editing on (as opposed to shortening), removing some of the more intrusive pauses to make the cue flow a bit more smoothly.

  20. JILL (Once Upon a Time in the West) 1:44
    The elegiac theme introduced in "Once Upon a Time in the West" (track 13) is given a more personal reading with a smaller ensemble in this quiet encounter between Jill and Cheyenne.

  21. THE DESERT (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 4:10
    This harsh cue stands in sharp contrast to its predecessor. Tuco drags Blondie through the desert in retribution for having abandoned him; the music becomes progressively more intense with repeating figures and larger orchestration as the sun cooks away at Blondie while Tuco taunts him.

  22. SIXTY SECONDS TO WHAT? (For a Few Dollars More) 2:25
    The musical pocket watch tune from track 2 returns for the confrontation between the Colonel and Indio, which opens out into an orchestral setting with a trumpet figure similar to the main theme from A Fistful of Dollars (heard in tracks 6 and 15) and later in "The Trio" (track 29). This is the other example of in-track edting. The album version of this track has the organ toccata from El Indio's first showdown oafishly cut in between the pocket watch and the orchestral music, which I have removed for its appearance here, thus conforming more closely to the film edit.

  23. ALMOST DEAD (A Fistful of Dollars) 1:36
    This nervous, edgy cue plays around with the theme introduced in A Fistful of Dollars' overture (track 11). A fiddle heard towards the conclusion of the track ties the cue into the source music heard adjacent to it in the film.

  24. FINAL DUEL (Once Upon a Time in the West) 3:29
    Frank and Harmonica's shared theme is given its most cathartic reading in the final duel between the two in which the connection between the two men is finally brought into focus (literally). "Keep your lovin' brother happy." This is the actual cue heard in the film, complete with funeral chimes at the conclusion, only recently made available on the GDM expanded remaster of the score.

  25. MESA VERDE (Duck, You Sucker!) 3:19
    Juan's entry into Mesa Verde isn't quite what he expected; martial law is declared and people are being shot in the streets. This theme was previously heard in "Mexico and Ireland" (track 12).

  26. TUCO’S PURSUIT (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 2:20
    The main title of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (track 1) is reprised in several interesting variations as Tuco tracks Blondie. This was a cue that I had wanted to include on the original Gun and Sun, but was unable to.

  27. FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (For a Few Dollars More) 1:41
    I specifically saved this jaunty tune for the second part of the disc for tonal balance. Once again, Alessandro Alessandroni whistles the lead which is soon taken over by electric guitar.

  28. THE CHASE (A Fistful of Dollars) 2:20
    A cacaphonous opening leads to a brassy passage as Joe (Clint Eastwood) reunites a family. A quieter passage reprising the main "For a Fistful of Dollars" theme heard in tracks 6 and 15 concludes the cue.

  29. THE BIRTH OF A CITY (Once Upon a Time in the West) 4:13
    The mellifluous title theme heard in tracks 13 and 19 is reprised one last time, with Edda Dell'Orso's enchanting vocals and yearning strings as Jill brings water to the railworkers. The poetic title of the film is seen for the first time, floating off as a frontier vanishes and the world changes forever...

  30. THE TRIO (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) 7:12
    Spare orchestration for woodwinds and guitar builds tension leading to full orchestral and choral statements of music similar to that heard in the title theme from A Fistful of Dollars (tracks 6, 15 and 27) and "Sixty Seconds To What?" (track 21) as Blondie, Tuco and Angel Eyes have their famous truel. A screencap of a shot from this sequence is what I created my front cover design from. The second part of this track is different in the film from what appeared on the original album, and the current Manhattan/EMI expansion of the score. This track, however is from the GDM release, which plays the album track out in full, but then concludes it with the film version, which incorporates chimes reminiscent of the musical pocket watch, evoking the duel between Indio and the Colonel from For a Few Dollars More (the aforementioned "Sixty Seconds To What?") and the orchestral/choral portion features a shorter trumpet part and a Holst-like buildup to the final tutti.

  31. GOODBYE, COLONEL (For a Few Dollars More) 1:41
    A more introspective version of the duel music from "Sixty Seconds To What?" (track 21) is heard as the Colonel, having finally accomplished his goal, rides off, trading final barbs with Joe. The musical pocket watch tune weaves in and out of the piece. One of the structural aspects about Gun and Sun I was hoping to improve was the lack of denoument on that assembly, a purpose this track fills perfectly.

  32. FAREWELL TO CHEYENNE (Once Upon a Time in the West) 2:35
    The very finale of Once Upon a Time in the West says farewell to the old forms of the genre (and, some might argue, the genre as a whole, given that it soon fell out of favor with the general public) reiterates that infectious theme for Cheyenne, now a relic who has no place in the world that is to come. The final pause in the music accompanies one of the great bits of Brechtian scoring; the music seems to inform Harmonica of the character's demise despite the fact that he has his back turned to him.





When I first saw She's Gotta Have It, I fell in love with Bill Lee's beautiful score. I was listening to it a couple of weeks ago and I idly thought about the possibility of making a compilation that could include that score and his inspired music for Do the Right Thing. I was pleased to discover that Bill's music was indeed represented on the albums for the other two films that he had scored for his son Spike. The filmmaker has since gone on to a fruitful team-up with Terrance Blanchard, but it is a shame that their falling out after Mo' Better Blues precluded their continued collaboration because Bill's music truly uplifted Spike Lee's movies. The title "Father and Son" comes from a track from the Do the Right Thing score (track 17), which I felt was also appropriate to the nature of their relationship before it soured.

Once again, I opted for a two-sided format with an officially notated delineation between "Side One" and "Side Two." In both cases, there are guest artists; the opening track is a Lee original song performed by Phyllis Hyman, while side two has a tune by Branford Marsalis, who was a featured performer on Do the Right Thing and School Daze. While I didn't do any retitling (though I hope that nobody takes offense to the fact that I didn't retitle track 12), I did drop some subtitles that might have been confusing in context of this album. There are two versions of "Mookie" on the Do the Right Thing album, one septet and one orchestral; this is the latter. From She's Gotta Have It, "Nola" is, in fact, "Nola - Instrumental," based on a song heard in the film that I chose not to include and "Opal" is actually "Opal - Reprise," but since I didn't include the brief initial iteration of the theme, it wasn't a reprise here.

This was actually a pretty easy disc to assemble, it was one of those cases where it felt like it was putting itself together. I only sat down at the computer to preview some tracks and before I knew it, I was putting them together into album form. The two versions of the gorgeous "A Thought" form a sort of framing device for the album as a whole, comprising the second and penultimate tracks, and I carefully modulated the flow to put each track in the best context as possible, to keep it from getting stuck for too long in one mood, but making the transitions from tone to tone as smooth as possible. I specifically wanted to close this album with the ascending saxophone solo that concludes "Martin and Malcolm," a personal favorite of mine.

As I noted in a recent conversation with ehowton, my Just Talkin' About Shaft is, for all intents and purposes, an R&B album. Similarly, this turned out to be a perfect sunny Sunday morning jazz album, thoughful and pensive in some places, upbeat and optimistic in others.



22 Tracks • 64:39


    Side One

  1. BE ONE - Vocal by Phyllis Hyman (School Daze) 4:30

  2. A THOUGHT (She’s Gotta Have It) 3:02

  3. MOOKIE (Do The Right Thing) 6:30

  4. AGAIN NEVER (Mo’ Better Blues) 3:49

  5. NOLA (She’s Gotta Have It) 3:37

  6. HOW LONG (Do The Right Thing) 3:39

  7. ONE LITTLE ACORN (School Daze) 2:16

  8. BROOKLYN BRIDGE (She’s Gotta Have It) 1:09

  9. WAKE UP FINALE (Do The Right Thing) 7:25



  10. Side Two

  11. BENEATH THE UNDERDOG - Branford Marsalis (Mo’ Better Blues) 5:03

  12. OPENING CREDITS (She’s Gotta Have It) 2:31

  13. MAGIC, EDDIE AND PRINCE AIN’T NIGGERS (Do The Right Thing) 1:53

  14. WAKE UP - Excerpt (School Daze) 0:50

  15. OPAL (She’s Gotta Have It) 1:35

  16. RIOT (Do The Right Thing) 1:04

  17. ONE LITTLE ACORN - Piano (School Daze) 1:14

  18. FATHER TO SON (Do The Right Thing) 4:20

  19. END CREDITS (She’s Gotta Have It) 2:27

  20. DELIVERY FOR LOVE DADDY (Do The Right Thing) 1:04
  21. MO’ BETTER BLUES (Mo’ Better Blues) 3:34

  22. A THOUGHT - Reprise (She’s Gotta Have It) 1:08

  23. MARTIN AND MALCOLM (Do The Right Thing) 1:43


  24. Music Composed, Arranged and Conducted by BILL LEE
    Except “Beneath the Underdog” Composed by BRANFORD MARSALIS

    SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT (1986)
    HAROLD VICK: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone • BILL LEE: bass • STANLEY COWELL, CEDAR WALTON: pianos
    KENNY WASHINGTON: drums • VIRGIL JONES: trumpet, fugelhorn • JOE CHAMBERS: drums, percussion, glockenspiel, bell tree
    engineer: VINCE TRAINA

    SCHOOL DAZE (1988)
    TERENCE BLANCHARD: trumpet • KENNY BARRON: piano • THE NATURAL SPIRIT ORCHESTRA
    engineers: DENNIS FERRANTE, VINCE TRAINA, PAUL GOODMAN

    DO THE RIGHT THING (1989)
    BRANFORD MARSALIS: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone • DONALD HARRISON: alto saxophone
    TERENCE BLANCHARD, MARLON JORDAN: trumpets • ROBERT HURST: bass
    JEFF “TAIN” WATTS: drums • KENNY BARRON, JAMES WILLIAMS, pianos • THE NATURAL SPIRIT ORCHESTRA
    engineer: PATRICK SMITH

    MO’ BETTER BLUES (1990)
    BRANFORD MARSALIS: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone • KENNY KIRKLAND: piano
    ROBERT HURST: bass • JEAFF “TAIN” WATTS: drums • TERENCE BLANCHARD: trumpet
    engineer: PATRICK SMITH



On the boards: a Harry Palmer mix (I received the Konrad Elhers score from Funeral in Berlin just today) and a follow-up to The Vice of Killing concentrating on Maestro Morricone's music for the other Sergio, Corbucci. There may also be an additional Morricone Western mix in the offing that isn't connected to any particular filmmaker, which would allow me to include Death Rides a Horse, The Hills Run Red and My Name is Nobody, among others (possibly Guns for San Sebastian, although whether that fits into the Western genre is questionable). Considering how prolific Morricone was, that is a somewhat daunting task, but a worthwhile one.
Tags: ennio morricone, film music, jazz, my mixes, sergio leone
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