Howl: The Grunts And Groans Of All Toho Monsters

Howl: The Grunts And Groans Of All Toho MonstersHow many people drag out their CD of Halloween sounds every year and play them loudly for the trick or treaters, and the rest of the neighborhood? That is so ordinary. Pour out the boiling cauldrons. Reject the Rabid Dogs. Close the creaking door. For a change, how about whipping this bad boy out instead? Howl: The Grunts And Groans Of All Toho Monsters will probably make your house the one they remember the most. Not only is it quite different, but some of the sounds are unearthly.

This is the most complete collection of Toho Monster sounds up to the release date in 1993. All the usual suspects are here, Godzilla (several versions), Rodan, and Mothra. There are also many of the lesser known beasts, such as Varan and Manda. As far as I can tell, they are organized in chronological order, according to their appearances in various movies, not all of which are Godzilla movies, such as Dagorah and even Toho’s Frankenstein.

In addition to pulling this CD out for Halloween, if you’re inclined to use unusual sounds for Windows events, this CD would be handy because the sounds are clean, without voices or musical cues.

The weakest point of the CD is actually an attempt to spice it up a bit. It opens with an electronica instrumental edited to include many of the monster sounds. “Godzilla’s Coming To Town” is interesting as an experiment and works reasonably well, but it sounds like an extended dance-club remix of a lesser Miami Vice track.

Taken for what it is, however, Howl is a dandy collection of sounds.

  1. Godzilla’s Coming To Town Monster Mix (5:44)
  2. Godzilla ’54 (0:22)
  3. Anguirus (0:14)
  4. Rodan (0:30)
  5. Insect Creature (0:17)
  6. Varan (0:20)
  7. Mothra Larva (0:26)
  8. Mothra Adult (0:15)
  9. Walrus Monster (0:19)
  10. King Kong (0:31)
  11. Godzilla (Kong) (0:31)
  12. Manda (0:18)
  13. Growing Jellyfish Thing (0:24)
  14. Godzilla (Kong) 2nd Generation (0:32)
  15. Ghidorah (0:30)
  16. Barugon (0:23)
  17. Frankenstein (0:23)
  18. Brown Gargantua (0:23)
  19. Green Gargantua (0:19)
  20. Ebirah (0:19)
  21. Gorosaurus (0:26)
  22. Mecha Kong (0:21)
  23. Minya (0:27)
  24. Kamakiras (0:17)
  25. Spiga (0:16)
  26. Anguirus 2nd Generation (0:21)
  27. Gabbara (0:26)
  28. Gezora (0:15)
  29. Ganime (0:17)
  30. Kameba (0:21)
  31. Hedorah (0:32)
  32. Gigan (0:17)
  33. Megalon (0:24)
  34. Jet Jaguar (0:15)
  35. King Cesar (0:28)
  36. MechaGodzilla ’75 (0:37)
  37. Titanosaurus (0:20)
  38. Godzilla 3rd Generation (0:41)
  39. Shokilas (0:14)
  40. Biollante (0:35)
  41. Godzillasaurus (0:27)
  42. Drats (0:16)
  43. King Ghidorah (0:45)
  44. Mecha-King Ghidorah (0:20)
  45. Mothra Larva 2nd Generation (0:20)
  46. Mothra Adult 2nd Generation (0:57)
  47. Battra Larva (0:23)
  48. Battra Adult (0:43)
  49. Godzilla 4th Generation (0:37)

Released by: Sony
Date of release: 1992
Total run time: 25:38

Julianna Raye – Something Peculiar

Julianna Raye - Something PeculiarThere were two deciding factors in my getting this album – it was in a 50-cent CD cutout bin, and it was produced by Jeff Lynne. Well, maybe that’s a bit harsh – it turned out to be worth at least 50 cents! I must confess that I know absolutely nothing at all about this particular artist, her history, previous or later releases (if any), outside of this one album (though I have since found out that she sang backup on a Claudia Christian single). Most of it is good, even if – in a very rare instance – the music is overpowered by Jeff Lynne’s production in a few spots. Standout tracks include “Limbo” and, my favorite, the title track, both of which benefit from the trademark sound of their producer. Several other tunes, however, suffer from an 3 out of 4identity crisis – who’s more responsible for the sound we’re hearing, Julianna Raye or Jeff Lynne? In many cases, it’s a toss-up, and results in my first criticism of Lynne’s production work being too thick – the producer’s job should be to support, not overpower, the talent. Worth a listen, perhaps for no other reason than so you can figure out what I’m talking about here!

Order this CD

  1. Limbo (3:12)
  2. I’ll Get You Back (3:42)
  3. Tell Me I’m Alright (3:09)
  4. Taking Steps (3:14)
  5. Peach Window (2:12)
  6. Something Peculiar (3:45)
  7. Roses (3:24)
  8. Laughing Wild (3:56)
  9. In My Time (3:04)
  10. My Tribe (4:02)
  11. Nicola (3:08)

Released by: Reprise
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 37:01

Roy Orbison – King Of Hearts

Roy Orbison - King Of HeartsWhere Mystery Girl succeeded in adding luster to Orbison’s posthumous legend, this album, despite a number of great songs, comes across as one too many trips to the well. Whether for the money or the publicity, this may have stretched it too far. The usually elegant production values associated with Jeff Lynne deteriorate to home demo standards with “I Drove All Night” and “Heartbreak Radio”, neither of which offers any glimpse of Lynne’s future skill in restoring deceased artists’ demo recordings. The best songs on King Of Hearts include “After The Love Has Gone”, “You’re The One” (featuring k.d. lang), and “We’ll Take The Night”, all of them as well-produced as anything from Mystery Girl. Perhaps better filler could have been found than another rendition of the previous 2 out of 4album’s “Careless Heart “which doesn’t differ enough from the original to merit much attention, though I welcomed the inclusion of an earlier duet recordimg of “Crying” with k.d. lang that had previously languished in the obscurity of the soundtrack of a Jon Cryer movie. I can recommend this album to dedicated followers of the late, great Roy Orbison, but honestly can’t advise casual listeners to seek it out.

Order this CD

  1. You’re The One (2:59)
  2. Heartbreak Radio (2:57)
  3. We’ll Take The Night (4:55)
  4. Crying with k.d. lang (3:48)
  5. After The Love Has Gone (4:38)
  6. Love In Time (5:31)
  7. I Drove All Night (3:46)
  8. Wild Hearts Run Out Of Time (3:32)
  9. Coming Home (4:00)
  10. Careless Heart original demo (5:15)

Released by: Virgin
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 41:21

Doctor Who: The Greatest Show In The Galaxy

Doctor Who: The Greatest Show In The Galaxy soundtrackThough I’m a big fan of late 80s Doctor Who composer Mark Ayres, I’m afraid his personal favorite of his TV scores has to go down as my least favorite. Of course, it could just be that my view of the episode in question, a zany but sinister romp with evil robotic clowns in a twisted circus called – you guessed it – The Greatest Show In The Galaxy – is that it’s less than a classic, and maybe I’m lumping my opinion of the music in with that as well. In many places, especially the more eerie passages, Ayres’ music held the show together and even sounds good away from the little screen, but the action cues 2 out of 4threaten to break into a dance beat at any moment, and the “source music” (music which is played in a scene which the characters can hear, as opposed to the usual “incidental music”) which puts slightly different twists on age-old circus themes, is positively grating. Proceed with caution if you get this album – it’s a circus in and of itself!

Order this CD

  1. introduction – Doctor Who Theme (1:35)
  2. The Psychic Rap (0:49)
  3. Invitation to Segonax (3:55)
  4. Bellboy and Flowerchild (1:43)
  5. A Warning (0:50)
  6. Fellow Explorers (1:51)
  7. The Robot Attacks (1:06)
  8. Something Sinister (2:47)
  9. “Welcome, One and All!” (1:16)
  10. The Circus Ring (2:17)
  11. Deadbeat (0:38)
  12. Eavesdropping (4:06)
  13. “Let Me Entertain You” / Stone Archway (4:12)
  14. The Well (4:23)
  15. Powers on the Move (2:42)
  16. Sifting Dreams (3:14)
  17. Survival of the Fittest (2:01)
  18. Bellboy’s Sacrifice (2:59)
  19. Plans (2:11)
  20. The Werewolf / “Request Stop” (5:50)
  21. The Gods of Ragnarok (3:42)
  22. Playing for Time (10:21)
  23. Entry of the Psychic Clowns (3:28)
  24. Liberty Who (2:25)
  25. Psychic Carnival (2:03)
  26. coda – Kingpin’s New Circus (0:36)
  27. epilogue – Doctor Who theme (2:56)

Released by: Silva Screen
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 75:56

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With MeThis intersting soundtrack is about the only thing worth remembering from this largely reprehensible big-screen prequel to the confusing ABC-TV series of the same name. I’ve spent years trying to block my traumatic memories of this generally bad, murky, confusing flick which has few (if any) sympathetic characters whatsoever. But oddly, the music for the movie incarnation of Twin Peaks is a bit more lively and varied than the soundtrack from the TV series. The melodies gain complexity while keeping the ethereal, light jazz feel of the TV show’s tunes. This album includes a vocal contribution from Julee Cruise, and another from 4 out of 4Jimmy Scott, both of which are almost worth the price of the whole album; unfortunately, Angelo Badalamenti also makes a couple of vocal appearances in the guise of “Thought Gang,” which I could’ve just as easily done without.

Order this CD

  1. Theme from Twin Peaks – Fire Walk With Me (6:40)
  2. The Pine Float (3:58)
  3. Sycamore Trees – with Jimmy Scott (3:52)
  4. Don’t Do Anything I Wouldn’t Do (7:17)
  5. A Real Indication (5:31)
  6. Questions in a World of Blue – with Julee Cruise (4:50)
  7. The Pink Room (4:02)
  8. The Black Dog Runs At Night (1:45)
  9. Best Friends (2:12)
  10. Moving Through Time (6:41)
  11. Montage from Twin Peaks (5:27)
  12. The Voice of Love (3:55)

Released by: Warner Bros.
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 56:10

Lindsey Buckingham – Out Of The Cradle

Lindsey Buckingham - Out Of The CradleThis album was rather quietly released with the support of the single “Countdown” which was a rather tame iteration of many staples of Buckingham’s Fleetwood Mac style. But despite that, it was one of the better songs on the album. For all the hoopla surrounding his departure from Fleetwood Mac in 1987 and all the immense talent he brought to both the Mac’s 70s/80s sound and his own previous solo work, this album, about five years in the making, was a bit disappointing. That said, Out Of The Cradle isn’t a total loss either. The opening track “Don’t Look Down” is much more exemplary of what I’m looking for if I listen to Lindsey Buckingham, and “All My Sorrows” and “Street of Dreams” come in close behind. One of the really neat things about this CD is that some of the songs have extended intros which are separate tracks. This may not seem like a big deal, but since I was working in radio when this album was released, I thought it was just incredibly handy (but it’s a real bugger if you’ve got a random or shuffle button on your CD player!). The final two tracks, a beautiful acoustic guitar instrumental cover of a Rodgers & Hammerstein number called “This Nearly Was Mine” (I honestly can’t say where the song comes from, though) followed by Buckingham’s own sentimental “Say We’ll Meet Again”, make me wish that he’d done more of the album in this style than trying to rekindle Fleetwood Mac vibes. One of my biggest gripes with the album is a song which sounds like a rough keyboard demo of “Big Love” from Buckingham’s last album with Fleetwood Mac. It’s a blatant attempt to make it sound like you don’t need Fleetwood Mac for the Fleetwood Mac sound (and I liked the Mac’s post-Buckingham Rating: 1 out of 4Behind The Mask quite well, thank you). There are commercial considerations, of course – one must have reasonable sales from one album in order to make the next – but there are some artists who forego commercialism in order to be interesting and experimental. Lindsey Buckingham used to be one of those, but you’d hardly know it from listening to Out Of The Cradle.

Order this CD in the Store

  1. instrumental introduction to Don’t Look Down (0:25)
  2. Don’t Look Down (2:47)
  3. Wrong (4:19)
  4. Countdown (3:21)
  5. All My Sorrows (4:01)
  6. Soul Drifter (3:27)
  7. instrumental introduction to This is the Time (0:41)
  8. This is the Time (4:49)
  9. You Do Or You Don’t (3:37)
  10. Street of Dreams (4:28)
  11. spoken introduction to Surrender the Rain (3:39)
  12. Surrender the Rain (3:39)
  13. Doing What I Can (4:05)
  14. Turn It On (3:50)
  15. This Nearly Was Mine (1:38)
  16. Say We’ll Meet Again (2:28)

Released by: Reprise
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 51:14

JFK – music by John Williams

JFK soundtrackThis is an interesting mix of new sounds and musical ephemera of the early to middle 60s accompanying Oliver Stone’s hotly debated film on a conspiracy behind the Kennedy assassination. Perhaps most surprising are the dark, despairing and brooding pieces concocted by John Williams, whose usual musical style always seems to be stuck in a celebratory mode. The original score segments are heavy on synthesizers and electronic percussion, with harsh and sometimes even violent retorts from the traditional orchestral complement. If you thought you’d heard it all where Williams was concerned, you may like this distinctly different work. The oldies but goodies on this album are also nicely selected, from “El Watusi!” to some wonderfully selected classics – not rock ‘n’ roll, mind you, but very good easy-listening, especially “Maybe September”. Capping it all 4 out of 4off is Williams’ beautiful 8-minute “Arlington”, a funereal piece mourning the loss of America’s innocence, accompanying the film’s scenes of Kevin Costner honoring the eternal flame that marks the dead president’s burial plot.

Order this CD

  1. Prologue (4:00)
  2. The Motorcade (5:14)
  3. Drummers’ Salute (2:55)
  4. Theme from JFK (2:23)
  5. Eternal Father, Strong To Save For Those In Peril On The Sea (1:19)
  6. Garrison’s Obsession (2:33)
  7. On the Sunny Side of the Street (Sidney Bechet) (4:23)
  8. The Conspirators (4:04)
  9. The Death of David Ferrie (2:47)
  10. Maybe September (Tony Bennett) (4:03)
  11. Garrison Family Theme (2:14)
  12. Ode to Buckwheat (Brent Lewis) (3:54)
  13. El Watusi (Ray Barretto) (2:41)
  14. The Witnesses (2:46)
  15. Concerto #2 for Horn & Orchestra K 417:1 Allegro Maestoso (6:29)
  16. Arlington (6:29)
  17. Finale (3:14)
  18. Theme from JFK (reprise) (2:23)

Released by: Elektra
Release date: 1992
Total running time: 63:51