Wednesday, 22 February 2017

"The Real…John Barry" by JOHN BARRY (2016 Sony/Legacy 3CD Compilation of Remasters - 1965 to 1995) - A Review by Mark Barry...

 




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"...From Prendergast With Love…" 

The last half-decent CD I had officially issued by Columbia/CBS covering John Barry's magnificent Movie Soundtrack output was "Themeology" - a stunning 23-track 'Best Of' singular CD issued in 1997 – still available to this day and for peanuts money too. "The Real...John Barry" feels like a massive triple-disc 'Expanded Edition' of that much praised CD Compilation - but typically it's a tale of two cities - much to recommend and yet another missed opportunity.

This 2016 'Ultimate Collection' 3CD-set stretches to 54-tracks covering 1965 to 1995 on Columbia, CBS and Epic Records and even after all these decades – has many 'first time on CD' moments that will thrill fans to the core of their dapper beings. It's also very cleverly sequenced – an art form in itself for compilations like this.

That doesn't mean that "The Real…John Barry" isn't without problems. It won't take a Mensa Membership for folks to notice that some of the Bond stuff has copyright dates that doesn't match up – "From Russia With Love" listed as 'recorded prior to 1972' and the title song to "Diamonds Are Forever" and "All Time High" from "Octopussy" done in 1995 – so obviously these are not the United Artists original releases of 1963, 1971 or 1983. But more importantly to me and other fellow lovers of 'Sounds Good' music - this triple-CD set is a 'Columbia/Legacy' Reissue - so therefore comes with genuinely great Remastered Audio despite not advising where, when or by whom these were mastered.

And what a journey of memories this triple is - listening to "Space March" from 1967's "You Only Live Twice" or "Who Will Buy My Yesterdays" from 1970's "Ready When You Are J.B." (a rarity on CD) or the uber-cool of Harry Palmer's "The Ipcress File" (Michael Caine's dapper British spy) will blow most people's socks off.  Not only is the music utterly wonderful – swirling strings and echoed pianos steeped in that fantastic 60ts sound and Barry's knack for hooky melodies – it sounds toppermost of the poppermost.

So even if it is a mishmash or originals vs. re-recordings (and I can't emphasise this enough) - "The Real...John Barry" is a fantastic listen throughout all three discs. Here are the Mister Kiss Kiss Bang Bangs and Midnight Cowboys…

UK released 14 October 2016 – "The Real…John Barry" by JOHN BARRY on Sony/Legacy 88985373242 (Barcode 889853732425) is a 3CD/54-Track compilation of Remasters and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (52:09 minutes):
1. The James Bond Theme (re-recording from the 1967 CBS LP "John Barry Conducts His Greatest Movie Hits")
2. 007 (original from the 1965 United Artists Original Soundtrack LP "Thunderball")
3. From Russia With Love (re-recording from the 1972 CBS LP "Theme From "The Persuaders!")
4. Goldfinger (re-recording from the 1967 CBS LP "John Barry Conducts His Greatest Movie Hits")
5. Thunderball (re-recording from the 1967 CBS LP "John Barry Conducts His Greatest Movie Hits")
6. Mister Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (original from the 1965 United Artists Original Soundtrack LP "Thunderball")
7. Vendetta (original 1966 UK 7" single on CBS Records 202390, A-side)
8. The Danny Scipio Theme (original 1966 UK 7" single on CBS Records 2020390, B-side)
9. Wednesday's Child (original from the 1966 Soundtrack LP "The Quiller Memorandum" on CBS Records)
10. Sleep Well My Darling (original non-album B-side to the 1966 UK 7" single of "Theme To The Quiller Memorandum - Wednesday's Child" on CBS Records 202451)
11. You Only Live Twice [Instrumental] (original from the 1967 Soundtrack LP to "You Only Live Twice" - also A-side of Track 18 on Disc 2)
12. Space March (Capsule In Space) (original from the 1967 Soundtrack LP to "You Only Live Twice")
13. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (from the 1970 UK CBS compilation LP "Ready When You Are, J.B. - John Barry Plays His Great Movie Hits")
14. Try (from the 1970 UK CBS compilation LP "Ready When You Are, J.B. - John Barry Plays His Great Movie Hits")
15. Who Will Buy My Yesterdays (from the 1970 UK CBS compilation LP "Ready When You Are, J.B. - John Barry Plays His Great Movie Hits")
16. The More Things Change (from the 1970 UK CBS compilation LP "Ready When You Are, J.B. - John Barry Plays His Great Movie Hits")
17. Diamonds Are Forever (re-recording from the 1995 Epic CD compilation "Moviola 2: Action And Adventure")
18. All Time High (From "Octopussy") (re-recording from the 1995 Epic CD compilation "Moviola 2: Action And Adventure")

Disc 2 (49:35 minutes):
1. The Ipcress File (re-recording from the 1966 UK CBS Records compilation LP "The Great Movie Sounds Of John Barry")
2. A Man Alone (original from the 1965 Soundtrack LP "The Ipcress File" on CBS Records)
3. Barbra's Theme (non-album original B-side to the UK 7" single for "A Man Alone (Theme From The Film "The Ipcress File")"
4. The Syndicate (original from the 1965 Original Cast Recording for "Passion Flower Hotel" on CBS Records)
5. What A Question (original from the 1965 Original Cast Recording for "Passion Flower Hotel" on CBS Records)
6. Zulu (original from 1964 Soundtrack LP to "Zulu" on Ember)
7. Séance On A Wet Afternoon (re-recording from the 1966 UK CBS Records compilation LP "The Great Movie Sounds Of John Barry")
8. The Knack (original from the 1965 Soundtrack LP to "The Knack...And How To Get It")
9. King Rat March (original from the 1965 Soundtrack LP "King Rat" on United Artists)
10. The Wrong Box (re-recording from the 1967 CBS LP "John Barry Conducts His Greatest Movie Hits")
11. Main Title: The Chase (original from the 1966 Soundtrack LP "The Chase" on CBS Records)
12. Born Free (re-recording from the 1967 CBS LP "John Barry Conducts His Greatest Movie Hits")
13. The Whisperers (re-recording from the 1967 CBS LP "John Barry Conducts His Greatest Movie Hits")
14. Dutchman (re-recording from the 1967 CBS LP "John Barry Conducts His Greatest Movie Hits")
15. Theme From "Romance For Guitar and Orchestra" (from the 1970 UK CBS compilation LP "Ready When You Are, J.B. - John Barry Plays His Great Movie Hits")
16. The Lion In Winter (from the 1970 UK CBS compilation LP "Ready When You Are, J.B. - John Barry Plays His Great Movie Hits")
17. Theme From "The Appointment" (from the 1970 UK CBS compilation LP "Ready When You Are, J.B. - John Barry Plays His Great Movie Hits")
18. The Girl With The Sun In Her Hair (B-side to the 1967 UK 7" single for "You Only Live Twice" on CBS Records 2825)

Disc 3 (68:56 minutes):
1. Midnight Cowboy (original 1969 UK 7"single on CBS Records 4468, A and from the 1970 UK CBS compilation LP "Ready When You Are, J.B. - John Barry Plays His Great Movie Hits")
2. Fun City (original 1969 UK 7"single on CBS Records 4468, B-side and from the 1970 UK CBS compilation LP "Ready When You Are, J.B. - John Barry Plays His Great Movie Hits")
3. Walkabout (re-recording from the 1992 Epic CD/LP compilation "Moviola")
4. Afternoon (from the 1970 UK CBS compilation LP "Ready When You Are, J.B. - John Barry Plays His Great Movie Hits")
5. Mary, Queen Of Scots (re-recording from the 1992 Epic CD/LP compilation "Moviola")
6. Body Heat (re-recording from the 1992 Epic CD/LP compilation "Moviola")
7. Frances (re-recording from the 1992 Epic CD/LP compilation "Moviola")
8. Until September (re-recording from the 1995 Epic CD compilation "Moviola 2: Action And Adventure")
9. The Cotton Club (re-recording from the 1992 Epic CD/LP compilation "Moviola")
10. Out Of Africa (re-recording from the 1992 Epic CD/LP compilation "Moviola")
11. The John Dunbar Theme (original from the 1990 Soundtrack LP/CD "Dances With Wolves")
12. Journey To The Buffalo Killing Field (original from the 1990 Soundtrack LP/CD "Dances With Wolves")
13. Theme From "Chaplin" (re-recording from the 1992 Epic CD/LP compilation "Moviola")
14. Moviola (re-recording from the 1992 Epic CD/LP compilation "Moviola")
15. The Specialist (original from the 1994 Soundtrack LP/CD "The Specialist")
16. Coney Island (original from the 1995 Soundtrack CD "Across The Sea Of Time")
17. Cry, Cry The Beloved Country (original from the 1995 Soundtrack CD "Cry, Cry The Beloved Country")
18. End Title (original from the 1995 Soundtrack to "The Scarlett Letter")

The foldout three-way card digipak is hardly anything great to look at but does at least have track lists beneath the three see-through plastic trays. But there's no booklet and correspondingly no real appreciation of the goodies on sale. The AUDIO as I say is fabulous and even though the versions from the 60ts are re-recordings - they're done within grasping distance of the originals so sound amazingly similar. Much of it is in glorious Stereo too. Many of us will recall the Sunsilk adverts which tapped into the superb B-side "The Girl With The Sun In Her Hair" - Roger Moore and Tony Curtis suave in the 70ts TV show "The Persuaders" and think of Rizzo played by Dustin Hoffman in "Midnight Cowboy" as he takes his last ride on that bus into Miami - all of this music sublime. But few of us will know later soundtracks like "The Specialists", "Across The Sea Of Time" and "Cry, Cry The Beloved Country" - and they're discoveries worth savouring.

Also - on a personal note - the "Ready When You Are, J.B. - John Barry Plays His Great Movie Hits" CBS/Columbia Records compilation LP released in February 1970 had 12 tracks - and all except "We Have All The Time In The World" are here as far as I can see (CBS Records 63952 in the UK - Columbia CS 1003 in the USA). It's a stunner - a forgotten and lost nugget from the decade's first year that rarely ever gets mentioned outside of Soundtrack circles. But as a musical and evocative listen - it's practically flawless and along with its new 1969 re-recordings of film themes it also offers other exclusive JB tracks like "The More Things Change" and "Afternoon" that aren't on anything else. And as it's never been officially on CD before - its 'almost' total presence here is welcome news indeed for rabid fans and the casual listener alike. Using tracks across all three discs - you can CD sequence that forgotten LP as follows...

Side 1
1. Midnight Cowboy [Track 1, Disc 3]
2. We Have All The Time in The World
3. Theme From 'Romance For Guitar And Orchestra' from "Deadfall" [Track 15, Disc 2]
4. Who Will Buy My Yesterdays [Track 15, Disc 1]
5. Fun City [Track 3, Disc 3]
6. The Lion In Winter [Track 16, Disc 2]
Side 2:
1. On Her Majesty's Secret Service [Track 13, Disc 1]
2. Theme From "The Appointment" [Track 17, Disc 2]
3. Try [Track 14, Disc 1]
4. The More Things Change [Track 16, Disc 1]
5. Afternoon [Track 4, Disc 3]
6. Theme From "Born Free" [Track 12, Disc 2]

Downsides - die-hard aficionados will know that beautiful music from "Somewhere In Time" and "High Road To China" and huge dollops more is all missing because they're linked to MCA and other Record companies outside of the Sony remit (you can't have it all). And it's arguable that every one of the Bond CDs - which were expanded and remastered by EMI Capitol in 2003 with huge dollops of previously unreleased tracks in stunning audio - are both must buys and conspicuous by their 'original issue' absence. John Barry's name is so synonymous with James Bond 007 that at least some of it should have been represented here (see my separate reviews for the Expanded Edition 2003 CD Remasters of the original soundtracks to "Thunderball", "You Only Live Twice" and "Diamonds Are Forever"). And I wish there was better annotation.

It's been said a hundred times before - SONY need to treat their most famous Soundtrack son (John Barry Prendergast) with the respect of a genuinely decent and properly annotated 5 to 6CD retrospective Box Set.

But in the meantime (and on face value) - for less than six post-Brexit pounds you can have the well-endowed 3CD digipak "The Real...John Barry" and wallow in a film-music genius who (along with John Williams) won five Oscars and is still sorely missed...

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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