Sunday, 26 June 2016

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

"...Mister Kiss Kiss...Bang Bang..."

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", 1967's "You Only Live Twice" and 1971's "Diamonds Are Forever" - all so brilliantly scored by the mighty JOHN BARRY.

With those under my belt - I started hoovering up the rest of these brilliant discs - and 1965's "Thunderball" was the next obvious purchase. Also laden with a heap of primo previously unreleased material made available for the first time here (most of it better than what was released) - it's all remastered to perfection by DOUG SCHWARTZ at Mulholland Music from original tapes (79 minutes playing time). Bit of a no brainer really. Here are the jet packs...

UK released March 2003 (February 2003 in the USA) - "Thunderball (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)" by JOHN BARRY on EMI Capitol 00724358058925 (Barcode 724358058925) breaks down as follows (79:06 minutes):

1. Thunderball – Main Title (Vocal Tom Jones)
2. Chateau Flight
3. The Spa
4. Switching The Body
5. The Bomb
6. Café Martinique
7. Thunderball [Side 2]
8. Death of Fiona
9. Bond Below Disco Volante
10. Search For Vulcan
11. 007
12. Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "Thunderball: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" - released December 1965 in the UK on United Artists ULP 1110 (Mono) and United Artists SULP 1171 (Stereo) and in the USA on United Artists UAL 4132 (Mono) and United Artists UAS 5132(Stereo). The Stereo mix is used throughout.

13. Gunbarrel/Traction Table/Gassing The Plane/Car Chase
14. Bond Meets Domino/Shark Tank/Lights Out For Paula/For King And Country
15. Street Chase
16. Finding The Plane/Underwater Ballet/Bond With Spectre Frogmen/Letter To The Rescue/Bond Joins Underwater Battle
17. Underwater Mayhem/Death Of Largo/End Titles
18. Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Mono)

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. We get former Miss France – the beautiful Claudia Auger in varying swimsuits (what a nice surprise for James), Italian actress Luciana Paluzzi as Fiona and Martine Beswick as Paula (oddly enough also in a bikini) with the eye-patched Adolfo Celi as the evil Spectre head-honcho lording it over a bevvy of lovelies and hungry sharks on board his super yacht – the Disco Volante.

But the big news here is the SOUND. Like all the other 007 remasters in this full-on series – the AUDIO on this CD is utterly glorious. When the Tom Jones theme comes blasting in on that huge clump of brass instruments and thumping kettledrums – your speakers may want to run for cover. Don’t get me wrong. The music isn’t amped up or trebled for effect – its just 'there' – clear and powerful and dripping with that John Barry 60ts magic. "So he strikes! Like Thunderball!" roars the Welsh boyo with a set of lungs designed to level housing blocks. But from that you get Barry's beautifully atmosphere "Chateau Flight" – all those plucked strings where you can just see the creeping double-agents and the fisticuffs that will ensue.

“Café Martinique” is silky and smooth land immaculate like Sean Connery’s Saville Row tailoring – shimmying along on its beautifully orchestrated string arrangements. The almost boppy “Death Of Fiona” makes you think of the scene at the restaurant when he deposits a dead body in a chair. Better is the fab four-minutes of “Bond Below Disco Volante” – slinky strings building to that moment of danger. And the Audio is awesome...

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. The four-part "Gunbarrel etc" lasts just over four minutes and includes that cool 007 refrain bookended by brass and frantic strings as Bond scraps his way out death’s clutches. The second extra "Bond Meets Domino etc." is twice as long at 8:18 minutes and will thrill aficionados with its interwoven Bahamas-rhythms - quickly followed by all that under-watery strong music as James goes snooping round someone’s shellfish. Real 007 freaks will love the fact that "Street Chase" contains what many consider to be Barry's most magnificent moment - often simply called '007' - it's incorporated into the song to great effect. The near 10-minutes "Finding The Plane etc" is the same - gorgeous music that will make you swoon and sway and drag out that fully restored BLU RAY and sit there in your tuxedo and martini (yeah baby).

You remember when Bond was fun, fruity and full of fab gadgets you wanted to stab the school-bully with - well then 1965’s "Thunderball" on CD is your jet-propelled poison. Barry would go on to his two masterpieces - 1967's "You Only Live Twice" and 1969's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" - and I can't be rational about either.

“Thunderball” is a fabulous CD Remaster and presently priced at less than five post-Brexit bent pound coins. You go James...

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