Here is part six of my overview of our FSM CD catalog—which titles are sold out, which are getting low (including exact quantities) and which would be around for some time to come. Go here for The Early Years, Volume 5 (2002), Volume 6 (2003), Volume 7 (2004), Volume 8 (2005) and Volume 9 (2006) reports.
GO HERE FOR INFO ON FSM’S BIG XMAS SALE! If you are wondering about low quantities, see description below for The Bridge at Remagen/The Train.
Vol. 10, No. 1: Some Came Running (Bernstein): We have pressed 2000 copies of which 448 are in stock. This is a great late ’50s jazzy/romantic/symphonic score by Bernstein to a “Rat Pack” drama. The masters had a bizarre technical problem, or else this would have been released by George Feltenstein for Rhino years earlier: for some reason the center channel (featuring pivotal piano lines) was blank for many cues. We got Elmer’s personal monaural mixdown and used it to restore the afflicted passages. Great score!
Vol. 10, No. 2: The Wrath of God (Schifrin): We have made 1500 copies of the 3000-copy edition and have 207 in stock. This is a terrific South-of-the-Border action score by Schifrin (think Goldsmith’s 100 Rifles) with great Latin jazz source cues. It didn’t sell as well as I had hoped, maybe due to the film’s obscurity—it’s a strange movie starring Robert Mitchum as a machine gun-wielding preacher.
Vol. 10, No. 3: The Long, Long Trailer/Forever, Darling (Deutsch/Kaper): We have pressed the first 1500 copies of the 3000-copy edition and have 295 in stock. This is a “Lucy and Desi” double-bill from their feature film career, with charmingly whimsical scores by Adolph Deutsch and Bronislau Kaper, respectively. We hoped to sell to the Lucy-and-Desi fan base—the pair sing “Breezin’ Along With the Breeze.” It should have been limited to 1,500 copies and I doubt we will press any further copies.
Vol. 10, No. 4: Damn the Defiant!/Behold a Pale Horse (Parker/Jarre): We have pressed 1500 copies of which 211 are in stock. This was our final Colpix double-bill, with both albums mastered from vinyl as the master tapes are long lost. We made sure to add the unique tracks for Behold a Pale Horse from the French EP. Damn the Defiant! is a fine symphonic score by English composer Clifton Parker to the seafearing/mutiny film, and Behold a Pale Horse is a lovely Spanish-flavored historical score by Jarre.
Vol. 10, No. 5: The Dirty Dozen (De Vol): We have made 2000 copies of the 3000-copy limited edition and have 443 in stock. I love how the score’s theme seems to speak “Dirty Dozen”! The film is a classic; we added to our library of 1960s WWII carnage (Where Eagles Dare, Kelly’s Heroes). De Vol’s lengthy score is presented complete, with better sound than previous MGM Records album editions.
Vol. 10, No. 6: The Satan Bug: Archival Edition (Goldsmith and sound FX): We have made 3000 copies and have 622 in stock. This is a fantastic avant-garde Goldsmith action score—like a dry run for Planet of the Apes—that exists in a combination of glorious stereo music masters and cues from the film’s music/FX stem. I am pretty sure I told the story at the time of the release: a few rolls of the music masters survived via Hollywood archivist Bob Burns—who knows what happened to the rest. So we created an “Archival Edition” filling in the lost music from the music/FX track—including, unfortunately, sound effects like car chases, explosions, etc. It was the best we can do—and I knew it would be popular anyway. If the score and/or composer are popular, people will buy a CD no matter what the condition! (Goldsmith would have never allowed this kind of release were he still alive.) I was amused in rewatching the film to see our 5455 Wilshire office address (1997–1999) immortalized in one of the scenes of an evacuated Los Angeles. This is another one of those bizarro fantasy projects that I dreamed about doing in the 1990s that eventually came to fruition—wow! For research for the liner notes, I viewed Goldsmith’s sketches at the Motion Picture Academy library. It’s amazing: some cues are so simple, they are like a few well-placed brushstrokes...you think, this wouldn't be that hard to write. Then you turn the page and there would be an action cue that has a zillion notes for a six-second passage—yikes!
Vol. 10, No. 7: Wait Until Dark (Mancini): We have pressed 3000 copies and have 572 in stock. I have written often about how this is one of my absolute favorites of our CDs. Mancini’s creepy suspense score uses two pianos, one tuned a quarter-tone flat—listen for yourself. As with other mid- to late-1960s Warner Bros. scores, the ½'' three-track masters yielded exceptional sound quality. What a dream project!
Retrograde 80126: A Man Called Adam (Benny Carter): We made 1500 units and have 730 in stock. I had hoped to reach a jazz market with this, Benny Carter’s score to a rare film starring Sammy Davis Jr. with vocals by Davis, Louis Armstrong, Mel Tormé and others…is there a jazz market anymore? It was part of Rhino’s holdings and our sales rep there recommended it, as it is one of his personal favorite rare, obscure LPs. It’s quite a good album—great sound, informative liner notes by Jon Burlingame—but it was of little interest to our audience and we have discounted it to $4.95. Please take a chance!
Vol. 10, No. 8: The Bridge at Remagen/The Train (Bernstein/Jarre): We made 3000 copies and have 285 in stock. These are the last copies that will be available—don’t miss out! Two great, albeit different WWII scores by Bernstein and Jarre, respectively. I had tried to release The Train several years prior but the tapes were confusing and I didn’t know what to pair it with until we discovered Bernstein’s personal tapes for Bridge at Remagen in his estate holdings. At the last minute, we were instructed to obtain the permission of Burt Lancaster’s estate for his photos from The Train and had to pay a ransom to use them—very annoying. This is a great CD and I hope people pick it up while it lasts.
Vol. 10, No. 9: Ride, Vaquero!/The Outriders (Kaper/Previn): We have made 1500 copies and have 467 in stock—these are all that will be available. These are two good western scores by Kaper and Previn, respectively—Ride, Vaquero! is like Kaper’s version of Viva Zapata! and The Outriders has a fantastic main theme. I think by this time (2007) the CD market was getting flooded and people were reluctant to take a chance on these types of good but obscure scores.
It’s not an FSM CD but around this time I produced an expanded edition of The Wind and the Lion for Intrada: they had the rights, but Warner Bros. had the master tapes, and it made sense for me to act as a go-between. I made a mistake in the liner notes about when the love theme first appears—sorry! That still eats me up, to work so hard on something and make a mistake. What a magnificent score, and project! Over the years, Douglass Fake at Intrada has helped with several FSM CDs (The Flim-Flam Man, The Ice Pirates) so this was a chance to return the favor.
Vol. 10, No. 10: The Unforgiven: Classic Western Scores From United Artists (Various): We made and sold all 1500 units—SOLD OUT! I wish we had made more units, but I didn’t realize how popular this would be. By this time I wanted to challenge myself with more ambitious projects and thought combining five UA westerns would be a good way to bundle obscure material into something more attractive (and affordable) for the collectors. My favorite on this album is Raksin’s unusual and beguiling Invitation to a Gunfighter. Guns of the Magnificent Seven was an interesting opportunity to hear in excellent stereo a version of Bernstein’s classic western music (adapted by Shuken and Hayes for the new film). I knew about the tapes because I had been at MGM one day when Chris Neel received some boxes from England, including Guns. An elephant never forgets!
Vol. 10, No. 11: The Silver Chalice (Waxman): We have made 2300 copies and have 771 in stock. Up to this point, we had been limited to doing Warner Bros. films one at a time, but after a lunch with WB’s Keith Zajic and George Feltenstein I asked if I might be able to do a batch of five or six, and though the look I got was along the lines of “you’re killing me, kid,” Keith made it happen. The Silver Chalice and Land of the Pharaohs (below) were mastered from the 24-track protection units of the monaural masters. These are difficult to work with because the slates are typically cut off, but between the logs and the scores in the Warner Bros. music library they are decipherable. The Silver Chalice is a great Waxman score for a legendary biblical turkey starring Paul Newman. I probably haven’t listened to the music since the CD was finished but in playing through a few tracks now to jog my memory…wow. It’s not a flashy or flamboyant type of score (or else we would have sold more copies), but rather intimate and at times austere—the depth and scope of Waxman’s musical architecture is stunning.
Vol. 10, No. 12: Hotel/Kaleidoscope (Keating/Myers): We have made 1500 copies and have 349 in stock. These are two terrific Warner Bros. Records albums from the mid to late 1960s that I adore. Hotel in particular is a great, jazzy romantic score by British bandleader Johnny Keating, who only scored a few films, but this one is first-rate, with wonderful tunes. Kaleidoscope is an early score by Stanley Myers, a British mod piece with catchy, infectious tracks. Our friend Bruce Kimmel loves this stuff, so it was fun to release these just for his reaction. For Hotel, we had the ½'' four-track masters and the sound quality is terrific—though I remember the songs were ½'' three-track, but not labeled, and we discovered through trial and error that two different tape stocks were intercut.
Vol. 10, No. 13: Sex and the Single Girl/The Chapman Report (Hefti/Rosenman): We have made 1500 copies and have 430 in stock. These are another two jazzy ’60s WB Records albums together on one CD. Sex and the Single Girl is first-class Neal Hefti, while The Chapman Report features Leonard Rosenman in a more pop-tune mode than his usual avant-garde style, though with a fair number of quirky Lenny flourishes. In both cases, the original soundtrack performances still exist at WB in monaural sound—I hope someone releases them one day. The stereo album recordings, presented here, are good in their own right, but quite different.
Vol. 10, No. 14: Navajo Joe (Morricone): We have made 3,000 copies and have 862 in stock. This is one of Morricone’s most insane western scores (written under a pen name, Leo Nichols). I liked how John Bender described it in the liner notes: the music doesn’t just score the story of Navajo Joe (played by a young Burt Reynolds), the score IS Navajo Joe! (Please listen to the main title!) I worked with B-movie king and huge movie music fan Jim Wynorski to create the definitive Navajo Joe presentation—getting the few stereo tracks from an old EMI Morricone western compilation and sorting out the rest in mono from the MGM vaults. I still have no idea what most of the main title lyrics are: Navajo Joe, Navajo Joe, never so bold, never so fearless, Navajo Joe, never so bold, never so fearless, etc.
Vol. 10, No. 15: Kings Row/The Sea Wolf (Korngold). We have made 2000 copies and have 449 in stock. I had hoped to do more with the Korngold archives and hopefully another label will get to them. The backstory: decades ago Warner Bros. was discarding their pre-1950s music masters (typically on optical, I guess), but someone sneaked out tape dubs of the Korngold scores to George Korngold, and eventually the tapes were returned to the studio—but they are not well documented and working with them is quite difficult. Kings Row and The Sea Wolf are, fortunately, almost complete, and this is a terrific 2CD set that I’m proud we were able to release. Korngold was a one-of-a-kind talent (even compared to his contemporaries) and it’s breathtaking how his scores are nonstop melodies and harmonic motion.
Vol. 10, No. 16: Klute/All the President’s Men (Small/Shire): We have made 3000 copies and have 499 in stock. This is my kind of “Silver Age” pairing—two great scores to ’70s paranoia masterpieces directed by Alan Pakula. Klute by Michael Small was a real trendsetter with its breathy “stalker” theme (vocals by Sally Stevens) and creepy piano—plus innovative source cues and a romantic theme for pop trumpet in the style of the day. It was previously booted by those Harkit creeps but we went back to the multitracks and did what I hope is the definitive presentation. All the President’s Men is a subtle score by David Shire but masterful in its support of the Watergate movie. I love the little note from Shire we included in the packaging from his work-process—it gives you a sense how much thought he put into what he was doing. This is a great CD and I hope people pick it up!
Vol. 10, No. 17: Land of the Pharaohs (Tiomkin): We have made all 3000 copies of the limited edition and have 491 in stock. Another bootleg (several versions, in fact) bites the dust! We went to the monaural music tracks (see Silver Chalice description, above) for the definitive 2CD set of this Dimitri Tiomkin mega-score—I guess it was an historical epic at the time, though I can’t imagine any description for it now besides “camp classic.” If you listen carefully, you can hear the kitchen sink that was thrown into the pyramid-building music… I kid, but it’s truly over-the-top, and absolutely glorious.
Vol. 10, No. 18: Dark of the Sun (Loussier): We have made 1800 units and have 407 in stock. I swear I went through most of my life thinking the theme was by Morricone—I had heard it on a couple of compilations. This is an unusual and very good score by French composer Jacques Loussier to the Rod Taylor African mercenary film that I know has a following so I am glad we were able to release it.
Next Time: Vol. 11 (2008) CDs—and “the Blue Box”!