Orignal Soundtrack Recording- Cabaret

I can almost taste freedom from what has been Donkey Show’s month long tribute to Broadway.  This record , the film adaptation of the Broadway musical, was in the collection of records I got from the estate of Big Al Pallister.

Cabaret was a revolutionary production when it hit Broadway in 1966.  With music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff, the production, based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel, Goodbye to Berlin, chronicled the rise of Nazi Germany against the backdrop of the Kit Kat Klub as well as two romantic story lines.  The story combined the club’s revue along with its society in a interweaving narrative, lead by the Master of Ceremonies, originated on Broadway by one Joel Grey.

Based on its success, the musical was adapted into a movie in 1972.  Grey remained in his role, but the parts of Sally Bowles and Brian Roberts were played by Liza Minnelli and Michael York (switching the nationalities of the actors from the musical).  A good chunk of songs from the stage were discarded and new songs, again written by Kander and Ebb were provided.

The movie made a superstar out of Minnelli for sure.  It also won 8 Oscars.  Director Bob Fosse pulled off the rare feat that year of winning the Triple Corwn of directing (an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony in that category). The following video has a lot of good information regarding the career of Fosse.

For a sample, I went with one of the new songs composed for the film, “Mein Herr”.

Nice little album.  Satisfactory. I realize I should probably state more about both the musical and the movie but I am really burned out at this point.

 

Original Cast Recording- Camelot

Well, here is a gem of Broadway that I purchased for $4.  I posted the movie soundtrack I believe in February of last year during my salute to the Oscars.  On some levels, I found it quite silly on the surface to have a great classical Shakespearean actor like Richard Burton singing about Camelot.  However, I believe his participation in this production helped hold it together at critical moments to become the success it was.  Also, it is no sillier than Richard Harris in the movie.

Camelot was the follow up musical for the team of Lerner and Lowe, fresh off their success with My Fair Lady. The duo had some success earlier with Brigadoon and Paint Your Wagon. With music by the Austrian-American Frederick Lowe and book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, the musical was based off T.H. White’s novel, The Once and Future King.

Expectations were high after MFL, and Lowe threatened to make this his last work if it were not successful.  The show as a bit rough around the edges but seemed to improve in part tp the strong cast which featured Burton, the breakout star of MFL, Julie Andrews, and Roddy McDowell among others.

An early out of town premier ran for over four hours, leading Noel Coward to remark that it was “longer than Gotterdammerung …… and not nearly as funny”.  There is another funny antidote about Andrews being given the song  “Before I Gaze At You Again'” just before a preview leading Andrews to quip “Of course, darling, but do try to get it to me the night before.” Personal problems also came from every direction, including Lerner’s wife leaving him and director Moss Hart’s heart attack.  Throughout the ordeals, I am told by Wikapedia that Burton held the production together and calmed the fears and anxieties of the other actors.

Initial reviews of the previews were mixed but thanks to television and Ed Sullivan, the cast of the show got to make their case to the American public.   Sullivan had asked Lerner and Lowe to help celebrate the 5 year anniversary of MFL.  The duo decided instead to focus on Camelot, performing 4 songs from the show.   Not only did this boost word of mouth and drive pre-sale tickets.

It also made a star out of Canadian Robert Goulet, who as Sir Lancelot, made his Broadway debut with this.  As a result, “If I Ever Leave You” became his signature song.

Camelot opened on December 3rd, 1960.  It ran for 873 performances and spawned the 1967 movie which as mentioned above has been on this blog.  Furthermore, it won 4 Tonys in 1961 including Best Actor in a Musical for Burton.  And although critics were initially mixed, the work has seemed to grow in stature over the years.  Several revivals have been staged and the songs still remain popular. 

This album, itself was hugely popular at the time, being a #1 record in the US and the top selling for 60 weeks. This is back when Broadway music was American pop music(All this, we shall see, will change in three years).Despite this success, the hardships suffered proved to be too much for Lerner and Lowe as this was their last major collaboration other than the stage adaption of their film Gigi and the film, The Little Prince.  Coincidentally, the director Hart died of another heart attack in 1961, making this his last work as well.

Having gone to Harvard with Lerner, John F. Kennedy was a huge fan of the work and claimed to listen the album at bedtime quite frequently.  His favorite line was the one at the end where a haggard King Arthur tells a young boy “Don’t let it be forgot, That once there was a spot, For one brief, shining moment , That was known as Camelot “.  As a result, Kennedy’s administration gained the Camelot moniker.

The album itself is pretty good and features some great performances by the principles.  Obviously Andrews and Goulet are among the talented singers, but the numbers by Burton and McDowell are not bad either.

For a sample, I decided to go with what I thought was a quintessential Andrews-type song ” Then You May Take Me To The Fair”.  Then I thought , what makes this a quintessential Andrews song other than the fact that she sings it?  Well, for me, I guess that is all it takes.  Anyway, this song was cut from the original production after around a month or so. Here is Andrews as a conniving Queen Guinevere, enlisting knights to destroy Sir Lancelot, for whom she does not know she is in love with yet. Oddly enough it appeared on the film version.  I also went with what is perhaps the climax number, “Guinevere”.

Really great little album.  Satisfactory.

OST-Gypsy

Broadway month continues to roll on here at the show and I am still at the time of this writing waiting for Houston to dry up after the weekend that Harvey struck.  Hopefully I can go back to work in another day or so.  This was $1.  I got it mainly because I love Rosalind Russell.

Which is strange as the vocals on this record are not 100% hers.  Rather, they are blended with contro-alto Lisa Kirk.  Russell, who was not stranger to singing having performed on Broadway in Wonderful Town, found that the vocals were beyond her scope (or more likely this was found for her).  Oddly enough, Russell and her husband had flirted with a straight drama adaptation of the source material. the 1957 autobiography of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee but were unable to get the rights.  The actress who played Gypsy Rose Lee, Natalie Wood, sung her own songs, which is surprising as she did not do so on West Side Story.

But here is this 1962 movie, based on the 1959 production of which some critics have called the perfect musical.  With a script written by Leonard Spigelgass based on the original book by Arthur Laurents with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and music by Jules Styne, the film was a critical and financial success, earning three Oscar nominations.  The film also stared Karl Malden and was produced and directed by Mervyn LeRoy.

For a sample, I went with “Some People”.

Satisfactory.  Again, I would expect to hear more about the Broadway production when that album comes up. For the record, I liked Russell’s version of “Rose’s Turn” better then Merman’s but felt perhaps that song should go to the originator.

 

Enoch Light and the Light Brigade- Film on FIlm

This was $1.  Given the quality of work that Enoch Light has put out as well as his innovative arrangements, buying his records is usually a no brainer.  Happy Memorial Day.  Despite the fact that this post has been written in advance of the US holiday, please note that I most likely played in the annual Memorial Day Hockey Tournament here in town and am most likely pretty beat.

This record came out on Project 3 Records, a subsidiary of Light’s Command Records that specializes in what was at the time high tech recording techniques.  Keeping with this theme, this album presents soundtrack work recorded on 35mm magnetic film, aka the title Film on Film.  According to the back cover, the use of film for recording yields a high quality product, great for “stereo separation, clarity of definition, subtlety of dynamic contrast and general musical realism.”  It is also 15 times the cost of tape.  But for the purposes of the novelty of this record as well as Light’s quest for the best sound techniques, the extra cost is acceptable.

The songs are pretty good but other than “Born Free” and the “Theme from Alfie”, these are not exactly soundtrack standards compared to other numbers from the same period. As with other Light productions, there is a rather lengthy description of the songs in the gate-fold.  

For a sample, I went with French composer Maurice Jarre’s “Paris Smiles” from the film Is Paris Burning?  Pretty good track.  It features the guitar work of Tommy Mottola who was featured on this blog earlier this month.

For a buck, it is satisfactory enough.  Would have liked some more common theme songs nut what can you do.

Walt Disney Presents- Peter and The Wolf/ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

I got this for the Peter and the Wolf side.  The other side, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, conducted by Leopold Stokowski will go unmentioned for the most part during this blog.  This was $1.

Peter and The Wolf was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid and one of my favorite pieces of music. Sergei Prokofiev wrote the work in 1936 after being commissioned by the Central Children’s Theater in Moscow to write a symphony for kids.  The point of the work was to a)introduce kids to musical instruments and b) illustrate the virtues of vigilance, bravery, and resourcefulness.  Each character is given its own instrument and theme.  The work proved to be quite popular and has been adapted many time, most notably perhaps, the 1946 Walt Disney cartoon this album is taken from.

Narrated by Sterling Holloway, this is a pretty straight adaptation of the work with some slight differences.  The character’s all have names except for the wolf.  That is kind of messed up.  Maybe if he had a name, he wouldn’t be so vicious.  In the Disney version, the Duck turns out to be alive at the end. For a sample. I went with the last part of the work. It features a lot of the character themes as well as the hunter’s music (which is among my favorite) and a triumphant end theme for Peter.

Satisfactory.

 

OST- The Dirty Dozen

I no doubtly got this to write a post about Lee Marvin.  It was a bit on the high end at $4.

In the era of the tough guy actor, there was no tougher actor than Lee Marvin.  Born in New York City in 1924, Marvin was wounded serving the Marines in the Pacific Theater of WWII.  After the war, when asked to replace an ailing actor in a local theater production, Marvin worked his way up from Off-Broadway to Broadway, and then to the big screen.  He started in small supporting roles, most times as a heel, including The Big Heat and The Wild One, playing a foil to Marlon Brando’s character (as well as perhaps influencing the Beatles along the way).

He started getting bigger parts including a stint of movies where we played heel to John Wayne (Sidenote: I always stop watching The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance after Marvin is done.  Eventually lead roles started coming Marvin’s way, leading to his Oscar winning performance in Cat Ballou.

I believe The Dirty Dozen is the work Marvin is best known for.  This film, released in 1967 and directed by Robert Aldrich, features a big roster of talent, including Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, Robert Ryan, and football star- turned actor, Jim Brown in his first role.  I like how the army brass, for the most part are played by establishment type actors who have worked Hollywood for awhile while the Dirty Dozen are mostly newer, anti-establishment actors.  That is why it so fitting for Marvin to play the groups’ leader.

The soundtrack was done by Frank DeVol (1911-1999).  De Vol was an accomplished musician who became a composer and arranger as well as an occasional actor.  After having much success in records and radio, De Vol took his efforts to Hollywood where he worked on soundtracks for both the small and big screen.

This album is ok.  It is not like the movie was known for its music.  However, the soundtrack work is quite apt for the film.  I lot of the songs have the old standard “You’re In The Army Now” woven in to them.  It makes for a good effect during the training scenes at the beginning for the movie. For a sample, I decided to pick a song that shows this.  I chose “The Sham Battle” which played during the war-games sequence.  Not only does this song reference “In The Army”, it also quote “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree”.

Since Trini Lopez was in the movie, the album also features a full out version of his song “Bramble Bush”.  This cross promotion was probably why Lopez was in the movie in the first place. I believe Lopez plays an acoustic segment of this song in one of the barrack scenes.  Lopez is still alive as of this writing. Anyway, I am using his song as a sample as well.

Satisfactory record.

Nat King Cole- Sings His Songs From Cat Ballou and Other Motion Pictures

This was $1.00.  I probably bought it for the Lee Marvin connection.  For Marvin, the Purple Heart recipient and inventor or Palimony, he would win an Oscar for his work on this film, Cat Ballou.

I initially thought this was a collection of songs from the movie.  However, it is as the title states, a collection of songs from the many movies Nat King Cole has provided work for.  I was a bit disappointed as I wanted to hear the .”Silver and Gold” song from the  brothel scene.

But given this, it is still a pretty good album.  Released in 1965 from Capital Records, it  features songs from several of his soundtracks, including “St Louis Blues”.  Pretty good album.  The songs feature that silky Cole voice which made him famous.  

Sadly enough, Cole never got to see his role in Cat Ballou on -screen as he would die in 1965 during post production.  Complications from lung cancer would  take his life at age 45.

I went back and forth on what to use as a samples but decided to go with the reason I bought the record, “The Ballad Of Cat Ballou” with Stubby Kaye.  I also deiced to throw in “Hajji Baba” from the movie of the same name.

Satisfactory record.

OST- Hootenanny Hoot

dscn5571This was $3.00.  I got it for a song that is not on the record.  Sounds strange, huh?mpw-41919

Hootenanny Hoot was a movie from 1963 featuring Peter Breck and Ruta Lee. In an attempt to cash in on the growing folk music craze, the movie is about a big city producer who travels to the backwoods to put on a show about folk music.  Not a whole lot of story but there is a  love sub plot involved.  Johnny Cash had the closing segment of the film with a breif song.  Other artists include The Brothers Four, Chris Crosby,Joe & Eddie, Cathie Taylor, and The Gateway Trio.  The movie also featured two songs by Judy Henske .jh

Henske’s Webpage

Judy Henske, born in 1936 in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, was once known as the Queen of the Beatniks.  She had a minor hit with “High Flying Bird” and released several albums that are quite excellent.  She was part of the Greenwich Village scene and I believe she is still somewhat active today. Anyway, she is a favorite of mine.

For whatever reason, this soundtrack omits Henske’s work (probably due to publishing issues).  This is a real shame as they are some of the better moments in the movie.  “Wade In the Water” , shown above,is performed excellently and is just visually stunning. “The Ballad of Little Rommie Wise” is also quite good. Anyway, I knew these songs were omitted from the album when I got this.  I mean I can read, although sometime I choose not to.  And at the very least, I always read the front cover (the back not so much).

Well, for the record, the Johnny Cash song did not make the album either.  What we have left is a collection of songs used for the film as well as a handful of tunes by one Mark Dinning and Sheb Wooley  used to supplement the soundtrack. The songs are quite good. Some of the better moments include the songs I will use as samples as well as “Frozen Logger” by Cathie Taylor.  dscn5572

There is also this silly moment from the movie, the song “Foolish Questions”.  For some reason, this song stuck in my mind when buying the album.

For samples, I went with the theme song sung by Sheb Wooley and the rousing “There’s A Meeting Here Tonight” by Joe and Eddie.  I felt these were both good tracks.  I also included Mark Dinning’s take on “The Lost Highway” which if you recall was posted on the Hank Thompson album I did earlier this month.  In comparison, I felt this version falls flat.  There is none of the honky tonk sound that makes this song great.hootenannyhoot1963_2568_678x380_11212014041007

Meh.  There are some good songs on here but I am still reeling from the omission of the Henske tunes.

 

OST- La Leysenda De La Cuidad Sin Nombre (Paint Your Wagon)

dscn5555Vacation officially started two days ago. As you read this, I am currently abroad.  Where am I?  I am sure that will be the subject of December posts.  For the meantime, here I am today churning out the rest of November’s posts so proper spelling be damned.  This was $2.50. I suppose I can classify this musical as one of my favorites. The album title incidentally, translates to ” The Legend of the City Without Name”.paint-your-wagon

I recall seeing the musical as a kid. Written by Alan Lerner and Frederick Lowe and debuting on Broadway in 1951, the musical tells the story of a miner and his daughter and their lives in a mining town.  The musical as well as the music was well received at the time. I think I enjoyed the musical as well.
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The movie version, released in 1969 is radically different from the stage version.  Focusing on the love triangle between Ben Rumson, his wife and his partner, it is a 180 degree turn to be precise.  Most of the original music is used, however.  Andre Previn also composed a few new numbers as well.  The movie did not do well with critics and only modestly well with movie goers, mainly because at that point in time, movie musicals were on their way out.  The movie has also been famously spoofed by the Simpsons.

But in contrast to the movie, the soundtrack was a hit. There are many great musical instances on the record and many choice for a sample. For instance, there is the number “Hand Me Down The Can Of Beans”, a hoe down number performed by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band who were up and coming at the time. The band also made an appearance in the film.

Then there is perhaps the most famous number , “They Call The Wind Maria”, a solemn piece made famous by Vaughn Monroe.  In the movie it is sung by Rotten Luck Willie, who was played by Harve Presnell.  Presnell also played the stingy father in law in the movie Fargo.

“There’s A Coach Comin’ In” is reminicent to The Music Man’s “Wells Fargo Wagon” (which came out later).  However, whereas the people of River City are singing about getting instruments and uniforms for their children, the miners of No Name City are singing about getting whores.  I found that comparison funny.

“The Gospel of No Name City” was one of the tunes written for the movie by Previn.  It is a pretty decent number.

Likewise, “Best Things” is a pretty good number with Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood talking about the dirty things in life.

And on that note, one of the best numbers of the movie, is “Wand’rin Star” sung by Marvin.  The ultimate loner song sung by the rugged Marvin, it became a #1 single in the UK.  Oddly enough, it relegated the Beatles’ “Let It Be” to the #2 spot.  Marvin was adamant about singing his own parts.  It was noted some time ago that Marvin turned down the lead in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch to do this movie.   I like William Holden in the picture alright but I can’t help thinking how the movie would have turned out, especially the ending, with Marvin.

Anyhoo, with all these choice to pick, I decided to go with the “Finale” which is a collage of many of the movie’s numbers.  Is this a lazy way out? Perhaps.

Clint Eastwood, Jean Seberg, and Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon, 1969.
Clint Eastwood, Jean Seberg, and Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon, 1969.

Satisfactory record despite the vocal limitations of the movie’s principals. Whew, that is a lot of video on today’s post.

 

OST- Youngblood

dscn5365The NHL season begins today.  All hockey teams are starting out with a clean slate (particularly the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs) and have an equal shot at lifting Lord Stanley’s Cup.  In honor of today, I bought this record, which was $1.00. I honestly hoped to do more with this post but , alas, work got in the way.7183411_orig

Ah, sweet optimism.  After good play in the Worlds from our young stars Conor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Team Europe’s Leon Draisaitl, there is some renewed optimism for the Oilers.  But of course we say that every year this time of year.  The big storyline right now is Sid the Kid starting out with a concussion. Johnny Hockey signing a new contract with the Flames is big news.  He also had a good World Tournament.  The Vegas odds give Chicago the best shot of raising Lord Stanley’s Cup, followed by Tampa, Pittsburgh, and perennial post season chokers, Washington.  Who do I pick?  Well today, I pick the Oilers although that will probably be revised by the end of the week.cutdd

Youngblood, from 1986, is a hockey movie about a young hot shot from New York who tries to make it in the blood and guts world of Canadian Juniors with the Hamilton Mustangs.

The movie stared Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Ed Lauter, and Cynthia Gibb.  Swayze, who from what I am told, used to figure skate as well as work at the Galleria Mall rink before acting took off. As a youth , I played hockey with his cousin. Keanu Reeves, who played goalie as a youth, also stars as the team’s tender, Heaver.

Reeves playing Beer League hockey
Reeves playing Beer League hockey

Two current at the time NHL players, longtime Leaf Steve Thomas and Peter Zezel.  Additionally, George Finn, who played Youngblood’s nemesis, Carl Racki, played four years in the Ontario Hockey League for Belleville, Sault Ste Marie, and Winsdor.   Finally, Youngblood’s father was played by Eric Nesterenko who played 21 years in the NHL, winning a cup with the Chicago Blackhawks (which was not an easy task to do before 2009).nesterenko-600-85 youngbloodd

As far as the movie goes, it is a bit tough to watch as production values have improved since 1986.  Also, the game has become less physical so parts of the movie, especially the stick swinging, seem foreign.  But back in 1986, on ice violence, especially in Juniors, was pretty common place. Finally, as far as hockey movies go, it is kind of hard to top Slapshot and Goon.  That being said, it is a pretty decent movie featuring early performances by young up and comers.

As far as the soundtrack goes, it is pretty much pure 80’s.  Featuring a “hit single” by Mickey Thomas as well as a tune by his band, Starship, the music is pretty much that 80’s rock that really did not escape the decade.  Songs by Mr Mister, Autograph, Marc Jordan, and Nick Gilder kind of put a date as to when this movie came out. I don’t like to keep harping on this album, but it is really not that good.

For a sample, I was really stuck as nothing really jumped out as good.  So I went with John Hiatt as he is usually underappreciated.  Here he is with “I’m A Real Man”.dscn5366

Maybe this year will be your teams year.  Good luck with all that.  As far as the album, meh.