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2015 is shaping up to be a good year for the 60's spy or 60's-esque secret agent!
BEAT Records continues to supply our habit with the Francesco de Masi score to "FBI Operazione Pakistan" (1966). This is the last of the Kommissar X films, but only the second score to be released. (The other is Operation Tres Gatti Gialli by Gino Marinuzzi Jr.)
A nice little surprise for 007 fans- Rich Douglas' trailer music for "SPECTRE" can bet found on iTunes!
February's "Kingsman" (2015) by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson paid it's musical respects to classic spy franchises.
May's "Spy" (2015) by Theodore Shapiro has a great Bond type theme performed by Ivy Levan.
Lalo Shifrin's score to "The President's Analyst" (1967) has been released on a Quartet label CD along with his score to "Man On A Swing".
Still to come: July 31st- "Mission Impossible' by Joe Kraemer, August 14- The "Man From U.N.C.l.E." byDaniel Pemberton, and of course, November 6th- "SPECTRE" by Thomas Newman
Beat Records has released Carlo Rustichelli's score to "Scacco Internazionale" (1968). A film starring Tab Hunter as a journalist with good spies and bad spies on his tail and co-starring Daniella Bianchi.
Intrada's expanded soundtrack CD for "Funeral In Berlin" (1966) by Konrad Elfers is newly mixed from 1/2" three-channel masters and has 4 previously unreleased tracks!
Intrada has also released a CD with the Jerry Goldsmith soundtracks to "Our Man Flint" (1966) and "In Like Flint" (1967) mastered from the long lost original 20th Century-Fox stereo session masters! (The earlier Varese CD, also a must have, is the actual music used in the movies. The Intrada CD is the music re-recorded for the soundtrack LPs. Get Both!)
Beat Records has released a fun Francesco De Masi score to "Sinfonia Per Due Spie" (1965) (aka "Serenade for Two Spies". Sweeping romantic cues, twists, bossas, and blues to keep your toes tapping.
Intrada has released the "Complete" Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack to "Sebastian" (1968) which starred Dirk Bogarde, Susannah York, and Sir John Gielgud. This means the actual music used in the film (not the re-recordings for the Dot LP), HOWEVER the LP music from the actual multi-track stereo masters is included! AND you also get the unused electronic music Tristam Cary did as well.
Fans of John Steed and Dr. Keel have reason to rejoice. Not music, but audio productions well worth mentioning. "BIG FINISH" is releasing full cast productions of the 12 lost episodes of "The Avengers (1961)" with Julian Wadham as John Steed and Anthony Howell as Dr David Keel. Head over to their website for a preview and news of other Avengers projects!!
ODD AND UNUSUAL:
"Come Spy With Us" from ACE Records in the U.K. is a fantastic 25 track compilation CD with a nice selection of original themes and covers from 60's spy flicks. Some fairly obscure ones too like "Dr Goldfoot And The Bikini Machine" by The Supremes and "Where The Bullets Fly" by Susan Maughan. Not to mention some single versions (different from the LPs) I'd never heard and a great booklet too! Don't miss this one!
Check out the bluegrass version of "You Only Live Twice" on the "Pickin' On Nancy Sinatra" tribute CD. You can just see Jimbo barreling down the Highway in his Q issue pickup with his shaken, not stirred jug of moonshine.
"Cinema: A Romantic Vision" by Dori Caymmi should get an award for his unique and beautiful take on the Bond theme. If only someone had included this in one of the films!
Occasionally we find interpretations of incidental music rather than just themes. Vibraphonist Cal Tjader took a shot at "Moneypenny Goes For Broke" (from "Casino Royale") on "Cal Tjader Sounds Out Burt Bacharach"
Burt Bacharach did his own cover version of "Bond Street" on his "Reach Out" album. (also on CD).
"The James Bond Songbook" was one of those 60's LPs released to cash in on the Bond craze. It was re-released on CD to cash in on the Bond craze once again! This new CD has been mastered from the original tapes and sounds great. "Jimmy" Bond was a Jazz Bassist and plays here with Harold Land on tenor, Buddy Collette on flute and tenor and Bobby Bryant on trumpet.
"Hammond Bond" has been released by Verve as part of their "Jazz Club" series. It's a re-release of a 007 themed, 60's LP by German organist Ingfried Hoffmann. A sharp-eyed reader identified the original LP as "Soul Bond" Warning- there are only three (T-ball, G-finger, and FRWL) real Bond themes. The others are just jazzy little ditties with remotely spy-sounding titles, but it was the 60's, a swingin' Hammond organ, and it's pretty good!
"Secret Agent Men", produced by drummer Akira Tana features jazz men Dr. Lonnie Smith, Rufus Reid, Chuggy Carter, Rodney Jones, and Bob Kenmotsu cutting loose on "Secret Agent Man", "Mission Impossible", "From Russia With Love" and "Charade". (+9 other tracks)
and MORE great jazz: "Masters Of Groove Meet Dr. No" on the Jazzateria label has Reuben Wilson, Grant Green Jr., Tarus Mateen, and Bernard Purdie giving the tracks from the Dr. No soundtrack their treatment and it's GOOOOD! You get Twisting with James, Under The Mango Tree, Three Blind Mice, Jump Up, The James Bond theme and a couple of originals.
"Sex Mob Does Bond" may be a little out there for some (more John Zorn than John Barry), but they cover both the incidental music and the themes.
An interesting oddity on the "Rare, Collectable, And Soulful Vol. 2" collection is "You Only Live Twice" written by Jack Ashford, Andrew Terry, Randy Scott and performed by Lorraine Chandler! The booklet says it was written for the film, but isn't clear whether it was commissioned or freelance.
Shirley Bassey recorded "Diamonds Are Forever" in Italian (Una Cascata Di Diamante). Same backing tracks, different vocals. Both versions are on this Italian 45. (Any one know if they did this with any other Bond themes?)
A 45 released in Germany by Alan Corb has his cover versions of Thunderball and Mr. Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang in German. This is one of the few vocal versions of Mr. KKBB released when the film came out and...
Tucked away on this limited 5 CD set of Ann-Margaret recordings is her unreleased (until now) version of "Mr. Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang". It was probably scrapped when the films title was changed. It had previously only been available on a legendary promo 45.
Here's something interesting... A recent Lionel Bart collection, "The Genius of Lionel Bart" includes a "Thunderball" demo performed by an unknown rock group and several instrumental versions.
Don't let the lousy cover art fool you. "Music To Spy By" by The David Whitaker Orchestra is a great LP to find. It probably falls into the music library category and sounds similar to Whitaker's score to "Hammerhead" which is pretty good.
"The Mad, Mad World Of Soundtracks" has the themes to "The Ambushers, "The Last Of The Secret Agents", and "Deadlier Than The Male" as well as "Agent X" by Peter Thomas (from a German spy film) and a cover of "It takes A Thief". The other tracks are equally exciting.
Volume two is a little more laid back, but includes covers of "Diamonds Are Forever" by male vocal group, The Bachelors, and Bacharach's "Bond Street" played on Accordions!
"The Bedside Bond" was a promo LP of some sort offered through Penthouse magazine in 1966. The Dutton Vocalion label has put it on CD paired with another LP. Des Champ and James Economides are the artists. Not a note of real Bond music, but sound library tunes with 007-esque titles. A couple of tracks are on the "The Thriller Memorandum" compilation.
Get this Propellerheads single at all costs. It has the short version of the incredible OHMSS/YOLT medley from "The David Arnold Project" CD and the long version from the "Sex And Drums And Rock And Roll" CD, but it also has David Arnold's original orchestral version before The Propellerheads got a hold of it. Excellent!
...and speaking of the Propellerheads, they do an unbelievable remix of "Goldfinger" on "Shirley Bassey The Remix Album". There are also remixed versions of Moonraker and Diamonds by other artists.
"The Bond Collection" should have been a major event. Shirley Bassey singing all the Bond themes up to A View To A Kill", but lackluster arrangements played on a synthesizer or a kazoo make it a disappointment.
They snuck a very good 8 1/2 minute suite from Live And Let Die" into "George Martin Plays The Beatles".
"The World Is Not Enough" by Garbage was remixed by U.N.K.L.E on this CD single.
"Bond Back In Action" volumes 1 & 2 are from the same bunch that gave us "The Essential James Bond" (which wasn't). On the plus side we get to hear music not included on the soundtrack albums, but none of it packs the punch we expect from Bond tunes.
Spy Guise, purveyors of all things spy, put together this "James Bond and Beyond" CD with Mike Boldt's interpretations of various spy themes, but the real treats are the 60's radio spots for "The Spy With My Face", "The Spy With My Face & To Trap A Spy Double Feature", "Our Man Flint", "The Venetian Affair", and "Number One Of The Secret Service" (1977) included as bonus tracks.
The "Thrills And Chills" CD by surf band The Moon-rays includes a couple of Gerald Fried numbers from The Man From Uncle as well as an ingenious medley of Martin Denny's tiki tune "Hypnotique" and "Our Man Flint". (Not to mention John Barry's "Beat Girl" Henry Mancini's "A Shot In The Dark" and 6 other tracks).
Weird Al Yankovic's great theme to "Spy Hard" only came out on CD singles and some versions have an instrumental of the theme.
"Power Themes 90" on Telstar has various DJ types remixing British adventure themes. A lot of it is so-so, but "The Avengers" and "Stingray" are knock-outs with "The Prisoner running a close second.
"The Thriller Memorandum" has covers and originals of spy tunes you know and many you probably don't from obscure 60's albums we can only dream about. The liner notes are as good as the music.
"Secret Agent Sounds" on the Mai Tai label has modern surf bands cutting loose on 60s spy tunes.
"Spies And Dolls" by Chaquito (John Gregory) on Dutton Vocalion is paired with his "TV thrillers" LP. Not all spy themes, but great covers of some hard to find ones like "When Eight Bells Toll" and "It Takes a Thief".
An oddity to be sure... After "The Avengers", Dianna Rigg got mixed up in a project to make a couple of short spy-type films to be watched while pumping gas or something. Honest (check You-tube). The music from "Das Diadems" and "The Mini-killers" has turned up on the "Pop Shopping Vol. 1" CD.
"Hooper" was a movie about a Stuntman on a spy film and has one very Bondish cut, "Old James Bonded Bourbon".
Al Caiola's "The Power Of Brass" has versions of "Mission Impossible" and "The Look Of Love", but the real reason I mention it is the spy treatment they give "The Odd Couple". "My name is Unger...Felix Unger" You've got to hear it!