Saturday, 14 May 2016

"Diamonds Are Forever - Original Soundtrack Album" by JOHN BARRY (2003 EMI/Capitol CD – Doug Schwartz Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Bitten By The Bug..." 

When the entire Bond catalogue turned up on remastered CD in 2003 - many JOHN BARRY fans got fidgety - quietly pawing their wallets in Soundtrack glee (from 1962's "Dr. No" through to "Diamonds Are Forever" in 1972 and beyond). And having mitched from school six times in 1971 to see "Diamonds Are Forever" at Dublin's Savoy Cinema on O'Connell Street (which I thought was the coolest thing in the world) - this little beauty was always going to be my first port of call when it reappeared in decent remastered form. And what a winner it is...

Not only is there a huge haul of previously unreleased material made available for the first time here (most of it better than what was released) - it's tastefully presented and has been remastered with pure love from the original master tapes by top Engineer DOUG SCHWARTZ (assisted and remixed by Michael McDonald) to truly spectacular effect - much like the films would be with the Lowry Process a few years later (frame-by-frame restoration). Here is the Dastardly Blofeld and comely Tiffany Case details...

UK and USA released March 2003 - "Diamonds Are Forever (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)" by JOHN BARRY on EMI Capitol 72435-41420-2-4 (Barcode 724354142024) breaks down as follows (75:48 minutes):

1. Diamonds Are Forever (Main Title) - Sung by Shirley Bassey
2. Bond Meets Bambi And Thumper
3. Moon Buggy Ride
4. Circus, Circus
5. Death At The Whyte House
6. Diamonds Are Forever (Source Instrumental)
7. Diamonds Are Forever (Bond and Tiffany)
8. Bond Smells A Rat
9. Tiffany Case
10. 007 And Counting
11. Q's Trick
12. To Hell With Blofeld
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "Diamonds Are Forever: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" - released December 1971 in the UK on United Artists UAS 29216 and in the USA on United Artists UAS 5220.

13. Gunbarrel And Manhunt
14. Mr. Wint And Mr. Kidd/Bond To Holland
15. Peter Franks
16. Airport Source/On The Road
17. Slumber, Inc
18. The Whyte House
19. Plenty, Then Tiffany
20. Following The Diamonds
21. Additional And Alternate Cues

The 10-page booklet has affectionate, witty and informative liner notes from JEFF BOND (no relation) with Page 5 being a double foldout sporting an array of colour stills from the movie - Sean Connery as James Bond swinging from pulleys outside the penthouse apartment of Willard Whyte's Vegas skyscraper, Jill St. John as Tiffany Case in a bath washing 007's hairy chest (I'm glad someone is), Charles Grey as Blofeld posing with a sword and a menacing look, Lana Wood as Plenty O'Toole at the crap tables (posing with as little as possible) and a brief glimpse of the wonderfully camp killer couple Putter Smith and Bruce Glover (as Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd) trying to dispense with our James via a Bomba Supreme and some flaming kebab skewers (nice). Alas there are no photos of Lola Larson and Trina Parks as the acrobatic Bambi and Thumper kicking the crap out of 007 like he deserved it. The last page has reissue credits and some discography info (United Artists released the theme song as a 7" single in the UK and USA where it charted at 38 and 57 respectively).

But the big news here is the SOUND - this CD sounds utterly glorious. Recorded in October 1971 by Barry at CTS Studios in London (Engineered by John Richards) - it was afforded all the luxury of modern recording facilities - and man does it show. The moment the brass of "Diamonds Are Forever" hits you followed by Shirley Bassey's superb vocal - you know you're in for a thrill. The brilliantly scored "Moon Buggy Ride" is pure Bond - all blasting brass and strings building until it goes into that strings only centrepiece - the audio is truly fabulous. The slinky lounge piano of "Source Material" is gorgeous too but the absolute bees knees is surely "007 And Counting" where Bond is wrestling to stop the laser satellite from space starting World War III - it's just magisterial - beautifully recorded and transferred.

As if the Soundtrack itself isn't the Georgie Best - you're hit with a wad of Previously Unreleased material from the original film that's been in the can for 40 years too long. "Gunbarrel And Manhunt" is like a mini Bond fest all rolled up into one - first you get the Sixties 007 theme we know and love - then blasting brass - then smooching strings - then menace and intrigue - back to triumph - its just brilliant. But thrill of thrills is the brilliant 4 minutes of "Mr. Wint And Mr. Kidd/Bond To Holland" where the "bitten by the bug" duo of scorpion killers are gingerly dispensing with anyone who gave them diamonds. It's masterful John Barry - slinking along - adding so much to the film (you see the thing in your mind's eye).

"If God had wanted man to fly Mister Wint...
He would have given him wings Mister Kidd!"

Well now the dapper chap has been given wings. Open your heart to your inner 007 and get this fabulous CD in your Bath-O-Sub. La Bomba Supreme indeed...

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