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CD: Bandolero! (1968)
Review Rating:   Very Good  
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May 7, 2013

Tracks / Album Length:

28 tracks / (78:21)



Jerry Goldsmith


Special Notes:

10-page colour booklet with liner notes by Julie Kirgo / Limited to 2000 copies.

Comments :    

Jerry Goldsmith had already scored a small cache of westerns (Black Patch, Rio Conchos, Stagecoach [M]) by the end of the sixties, and in 1968, in addition to Bandolero! he composed a sci-fi (Planet of the Apes), dramas, and a sleazy detective film (The Detective), with each score being quite distinct from the rest.

While Bandolero! does feature sounds and instruments with which Goldsmith was fixating during the sixties - the twangy mouth harp, Indian sitar, and grooving electric bass – it’s an overt signal that during the sixties period films (westerns) no longer needed to be scored using traditional orchestral, folk, and melodic elements. One could even characterize the score as being evocative of the rule-breaking style of Ennio Morricone, in so far as there’s a pop structure to the main theme (not to mention the opening whistle), specific pop music instruments – the electric bass, which Quincy Jones exploited in Mackenna’s Gold (1969), and J.J. Johnston in Man and Boy (1971).

The first third of Goldsmith’s score features light (if not slightly comedic) theme intros, whereas the midsection becomes increasingly more orchestral, with greater scope, grimmer theme variations and the injection of some rich Mexican flavoured material (which the composer would further incorporate in arguably best western score, 100 Rifles [M], the following year).

The score’s tragic theme variations include a lovely understated section in “Bad News / He’ll Cross It / The Bait” with solo guitar and marimba, and a slight Bolero rhythm on married woody and metallic hits. Being the album’s longest cue, it also features stronger dramatic content, and mood shifts where silence and minimal instrumentation deliver some of the score’s strongest material. (Then again, the brief “El Jefe” contains some of the modernism in POTA, as well as the dynamic rhythms in 100 Rifles.)

Previously released on a super-short album format on LP and CD and later as an expanded disc (both discs via Intrada), LLL’s CD includes an extra bonus track among 3 which buffer the original score (44 mins.) and shorter LP cue edits (28 mins.). Julie Kirgo’s liner notes provide a compact history of the score and film, and the booklet features numerous production stills.

While not one of Goldsmith’s top western scores, it marks a significant shift where the rules that governed genre scores were being slowly stripped away by pop influences, modernism, and the increasingly inimitable styles of up-and-coming composers within Hollywood.



© 2013 Mark R. Hasan

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