Monday, 14 November 2016

Spaghetti and cowboys: part 2

Title: Tequila!
Year: 1973
Composer: Lallo Gori

Maestro Ennio Morricone pretty much revolutionized the music written for western films in the 1960s, so it was no surprise that others who came after him started to imitate his style. The two scores I’m reviewing today are examples of this but even though there are moments where it feels more like a copy than original work, they are not without their merits. Both scores were written by Coriolano “Lallo” Gori who had already had a prolific career scoring a varied spectrum of film scores.

Tequila! begins with great suspense music for bass clarinet, flute and distorted electric guitar before the cheesy whistling main theme is introduced with a honky-tonk rhythm. This theme is surely no classic but catchy and quite charming at first, but during the album’s duration becomes quite annoying. There is also a pop inspired theme with bouncy organ lines heard in Seq. 4 which also concludes in a short harmonica reprise of the main theme. The main theme gets further variations in Seq. 6 when it’s combined to a bouncy rhythm and jazzy trumpets, Seq. 8 for pizzicato strings and Seq. 13 for electric guitar and solo trumpet. The most Morriconean track is Seq. 12 with a Mariachi trumpet over mournful strings and occasional waltz rhythms. Seq. 9 is quite a horrendous pub piano cue for plucking synthesizer elements and Seq. 11 isn’t much better with cheesy cabaret music that is for some reason interrupted by a moment of suspense.

Suspenseful music is the best thing about the score and I especially love the eerie flute that is both jazzy and almost seductive at times. Suspense drives Seq. 2 and 3 forward, latter of which continuing to a simplistic nursery rhyme for tinkling synthesizer. By far the best suspense music is heard in Seq. 10 with monstrous growling harmonica which unfortunately turns back to the main theme. The only moment of action, Seq. 5, relies heavily on the horseride rhythm with electric guitars before quieting down to bare strings.

The score for Tequila! includes some Gori trademarks like the jazzy flute writing and the vibrating organ sound that both work wonders during the suspenseful cues. However the cheerful nature of the rest of the score and the constant changes in mood make it hard to take seriously. That’s also the reason why the listening experience suffers and ultimately makes me wish that I was listening to some other Spaghetti western score instead.

Rating: ***

Title: Era Sam Wallash... lo chiamavano Così Sia! (Savage guns)
Year: 1971
Composer: Lallo Gori

The second score on the disc starts with a long introductory track that begins with a spoken introduction about a man called Così Sia. Those moments are again cheesy and the cheesiness in deepened by the religious organ work that is actually quite marvellous. Then another Morricone inspired Mariachi trumpet moment comes in that introduces the main theme which gets an exciting horseride variation at the end of the track. The main theme is played softly on classical guitar solo in Seq. 2 before the cue turns into a suspense track with jazzy flute work. Seq. 3 has another mellow version of the theme for electric guitar before changing into a colourful depiction of the sunset with strumming guitar, flute, xylophone, harps and high strings.

The Mariachi trumpet returns in Seq. 5 with another passionate performance before the bolero rhythm takes over with a moment of understated heroism. The following cue continues in the same vain but gets more action oriented towards the end. However the tragic atmosphere isn’t shaken off and dominates the rest of the album with occasional moments for the horseride rhythm and jazzy flourishes provided by the flute. The suspense is lifted just at the end of Seq. 9 with a rather lovely moment for strings, guitars and a waltz rhythm. The last track provides a reprise of the main theme in horseride mode.

Era Sam Wallash… is clearly the stronger score on this ‘twofer’. It’s leaning more towards suspenseful writing in almost every track with a sense of brooding atmosphere which makes you wait for something bad to happen but it never does. In addition it’s simultaneously a highly melodic work and has a beautiful main theme that however needs a few times to sink in thoroughly.

Rating: ****

1. Tequila - Seq. 1 (02:24) ****
2. Tequila - Seq. 2 (01:54) ****
3. Tequila - Seq. 3 (02:18) ***
4. Tequila - Seq. 4 (01:26) ****
5. Tequila - Seq. 5 (01:17) ****
6. Tequila - Seq. 6 (02:11) ***
7. Tequila - Seq. 7 (01:32) ****
8. Tequila - Seq. 8 (01:40) ****
9. Tequila - Seq. 9 (01:50) *
10. Tequila - Seq. 10 (03:12) ***
11. Tequila - Seq. 11 (01:51) **
12. Tequila - Seq. 12 (01:56) ****
13. Tequila - Seq. 13 (01:02) ***
14. Tequila - Seq. 14 (01:55) ***
15. Tequila - Seq. 15 (01:13) ***

16. Era Sam Wallash... - Seq. 1 (05:30) *****
17. Era Sam Wallash... - Seq. 2 (02:44) *****
18. Era Sam Wallash... - Seq. 3 (02:58) *****
19. Era Sam Wallash... - Seq. 4 (01:21) ***
20. Era Sam Wallash... - Seq. 5 (03:41) ****
21. Era Sam Wallash... - Seq. 6 (02:02) ****
22. Era Sam Wallash... - Seq. 7 (03:31) ****
23. Era Sam Wallash... - Seq. 8 (02:58) ***
24. Era Sam Wallash... - Seq. 9 (03:28) ****
25. Era Sam Wallash... - Seq. 10 (01:31) ****

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