Sunday, 15 May 2016

"You Only Live Twice - Original Soundtrack Album" by JOHN BARRY (2003 EMI/Capitol CD – Doug Schwartz Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Improper Advances..."

When the entire James Bond musical catalogue turned up on remastered CD in 2003 - many fans got excited under their immaculately groomed tuxedos - quietly pawing their wallets in Soundtrack glee. I was one of those nerds and was/still am - giddily proud of it. I immediately ran out and purchased 1964’s “Goldfinger” and 1971’s “Diamonds Are Forever” on 2003 CDs - and this – for me the big daddy of them all – 1967’s “You Only Live Twice” – so brilliantly scored by the mighty JOHN BARRY.

Dugout volcanic lairs, cars being dropped into the ocean from helicopter magnets, capsules being gobbled up in space by a man with a dodgy eye and a purring cat, the self-assembly gyrocopter Little Nellie in four suitcases and Japanese babes Kung-Fu-ing their way through a dozen ugly bad guys before their lentil breakfast. What’s not to love? “You Only Live Twice” began the template for Bond that we’ve known and loved for more than 40 years and its music hasn’t aged – only grown in stature.

Not only that – but there’s also a huge haul of primo previously unreleased material made available for the first time here (most of it better than what was released). And like the other titles in this massive catalogue reissue series – DOUG SCHWARTZ has remastered the original master tapes for  “You Only Live Twice” with real skill. Everything about the stunning Audio Quality on this CD rocks. Here are the Bond Sab details...

UK released March 2003 (February 2003 in the USA) - "You Only Live Twice (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)" by JOHN BARRY on EMI Capitol 72435-41418-2-9 (Barcode 724354141829) breaks down as follows (72:45 minutes):

1. You Only Live Twice (Title Song) - Sung by Nancy Sinatra
2. Capsule In Space
3. Fight At Kobi Dock - Helga
4. Tanaka’s World
5. A Drop In The Ocean
6. The Death Of Aki
7. Mountains And Sunsets [Side 2]
8. The Wedding
9. James Bond – Astronaut?
10. Countdown For Blofeld
11. Bond Averts World War Three
12. You Only Live Twice (End Title) – Vocal Sung by Nancy Sinatra
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "You Only Live Twice: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" - released July 1967 in the UK on United Artists ULP 1171 (Mono) and SULP 1171 (Stereo) and in the USA on United Artists UAL 4155 (mono) and UAS 5155 (Stereo). The Stereo mix is used throughout.

13. James Bond In Japan
14. Aki, Tiger and Osato
15. Little Nellie
16. Soviet Capsule
17. Spectre And Village
18. James Bond - Ninja
19. Twice Is The Only Way

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 (Donald Pleasance as Blofeld, the Toyota 2000GT, Connery in Little Nellie etc).

But the big news here is the SOUND - this CD sounds utterly glorious. It opens with the ominous creep of “Capsule In Space” where Barry builds the music to a swirling climax – strings, wind instruments, the kettle drums – it all comes at you with such power and majesty as to be positively off-putting. It’s followed by the wicked “Fight At Kobe Docks – Helga” where Bond encounters baddies on the ground and rooftops of warehouses. It starts out warm but then the bass and keys kick in and that brass refrain as Connery punches his way out of trouble (unbelievable clarity). “The Death Of Aki” is merely the theme music played in a Japanese style and again there’s incredible depth in both the music and the transfer. Then you’re clobbered with true cinematic genius – Barry’s instrumental “Mountains And Sunsets” which literally conjures up the magic and glamour of Bond in your living room. Pure 007 comes in with “Bond Averts World War III” where all the themes we know and love about James come together in one climatic piece. Utterly brilliant...

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. "James Bond And Japan” lasts a fulsome 10:41 minutes and brings together all the best incidental music the movie has in a sort of mini Bond fest - menace and intrigue – warmth and beauty – danger looming - back to triumph - its just brilliant. But thrill of thrills is the brilliant 3:45 minutes of "Little Nellie" which will surely reduce most Bond devotees to a quivering wreck of nostalgia. As those plucked strings leads to big brass – it slinks along until you can see our Gyrocopter hurtling through the air being attacked – then you’re hit with the “007” theme which is too brill for mere words – wow is the only response...

BLOFELD: "We are now impregnable!
Goodbye Mister Bond!”

Well he wasn’t impregnable and James didn’t go bye-byes. Open your heart to your inner 007 and get this Ernst Stavro of a CD into your Little Nellie. Improper advances indeed...

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