The Score Keeper Catches Up

Friends and roamin’ countrymen, lend me your ears, because I have soundtrack news to pour into them. That’s actually kind of a disturbing image now that I type out the words. Ever said something where it sounded a lot more clever before you said it out loud? This may be one of those cases. But hey, soundtrack news.

La-La Land Records has unleashed a brand new box set from what would now be called the Irwin Allen Cinematic Universe, and this is three discs’ worth of music from one of my favorite Irwin Allen TV series of the sixties – The Time Tunnel! I honestly never figured out how this show didn’t catch on like Lost In Space, or how it missed out on at least a two-season run like Land Of The Giants, because I love a good time travel show. And if it’s a good time travel show with good music, all the better! This box set covers early episodes such as “Rendezvous With Yesterday”, “One Way To The Moon”, “The Day The Sky Fell”, “Crack Of Doom” and others. That means music from such ’60s TV mainstays as Johnny Williams (I wonder whatever happened with his career?), Lyn Murray, Paul Sawtell, and Robert Drasnin. There are even bonus tracks, including alternate takes and, of course, several permutations of Williams’ memorable theme music. Over three hours of music from the series in all, with the promising “Volume 1” subtitle hinting at more to come! Only 1,000 copies of the set are being pressed, so you better snatch one up now – or be working on a reliable means of time travel so future you can come back to the present and snatch one up now. Really, snatching one up now is your only option, no matter how you slice it.

Jason’s back and he’s brought tunes – La-La Land is also rolling out a limited edition score release for Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, the first score in the Friday franchise with no involvement from composer Harry Manfredini. Part VIII was the first chapter scored entirely by Fred Mollin, who had composed additional music for Part VII and had scored the Friday TV spinoff. Not only does this release feature Mollin’s first solo film score for the franchise, but four songs featured in the movie, which haven’t featured on any prior releases. 2,000 copies of this soundtrack will be released.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY Forever Horror Video Archive.

La-La Land has been plenty busy this year, with some earlier 2021 releases still available, including the first-ever release of Quincy Jones’ score from the 1967 Robert Wagner golfing movie Banning (3000 copies), Christopher Young’s music from 1998’s Hard Rain (1000 copies), and one of my early favorites among this year’s soundtrack releases, the 2-CD set of music from the second season of The Orville, featuring music by John Debney, Joel McNeely, and Andrew Cottee, a release with epic widescreen sci-fi action music that, frankly, makes me wish that season three of The Orville would hurry up and get here.

Intrada Records has also been busy; their most recent releases are the world premiere CD release of Jerry Goldsmith’s score from 1959’s Face Of A Fugitive, an expanded 2-CD release of Michael Kamen’s score from Company Business, Elmer Bernstein’s score from Legal Eagles, and a 2-CD collection of music from Frank DeVol’s The Flight Of The Phoenix.

And our friends at Dragon’s Domain continue to be a powerhouse as far as releasing underappreciated scores – such as Joel Goldsmith’s score from Vampirella, Fredric Ensign Teetsel’s music from Adventures In Dinosaur City, and the third volume of the Mark Snow collection, gathering two Snow TV movie scores (Murder Between Friends and Shadows Of Desire) in one place.

In the realm of digital releases, very much like the first season (but not the second season) of The Mandalorian, the Disney Plus Marvel series Wandavision had a soundtrack release for each new episode. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier seems not to have followed this pattern, however; watch this space for news of any eventual release of that show’s music.

And lastly – an apology for not doing a great job keeping score so far in 2021! As some of you might have heard, I’ve been writing, editing, and occasionally even hosting a new podcast at the Roddenberry Podcast Network called Sci-Fi 5 – five minutes of science fiction history poured into your ears every weekday. Generally, if you hear a segment about a TV show that didn’t last long but had amazing theme music, I probably wrote that bit. Give it a listen and a follow if you like what you hear – and I’ll try to do a better job of staying on top of this year’s soundtrack releases.

Tales From The Score Keeper: Thieves & Smugglers & Ghosts

The September smorgasbord of soundtracks just keeps spinning – and there’s a little something for everyone this time around.

If thieves are your thing, you can’t do much better than the Prince of Thieves, as in Robin Hood – as in Intrada’s four-disc remastered release of the late Michael Kamen’s complete score (and then some) from 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. Now, this has been released before – as a single CD alongside the movie’s original release, and as a 2-CD collection by Intrada just a couple of years ago. But with help from Kamen’s estate, missing material that had to be omitted from the 2018 release now comprises a third CD – that’s three discs of the score as composed for the film, and, on a fourth disc, the score suite from the 1991 CD release in remastered form.

Before you ask: no, the Bryan Adams songs – you know the one – is not to be found on the 4-CD set, nor is the much more obscure (but much desired by ELO fans) Jeff Lynne song “Wild Times”. The entire 4-CD set is simply Kamen’s score – but what a score it is.

To help you contain your disappointment that it’s not on the otherwise amazing 4-CD set, here’s That Bryan Adams Song. Video courtesy Bryan Adams

From BSX Records comes a trio of releases, including one that has been very near the top of the Score Keeper’s soundtrack holy grail list for several years. Just in time for Halloween, two spooky scores by Howard (Flash Gordon) Blake arrive in remastered form on a single CD, The Canterville Ghost and Amityville 3-D. The latter of these was previously available on a now-out-of-print limited edition CD along with Blake’s Flash Gordon score (you know, the bits of music that weren’t done by Queen), but it finally gets, shall we say, a more “official” release this time around.

BSX is also releasing Conrad Pope’s score from the movie Lloyd, a comedy for kids filmed in the ’90s but not released theatrically until 2001. (It’s almost as if the movie and its score were competing to see whose release could be delayed longer. With a 19-year gap between movie premiere and the soundtrack, I think the soundtrack wins.)

The third BSX release is one that yours truly has been wanting on CD for ages, but gave up on ever actually seeing or hearing. It’s Don Davis’ score from the 2004 BBC docudrama Space Odyssey: Voyage To The Planets, the first volume in what will hopefully be a series of releases of Davis’ soundtrack work. The two-night BBC miniseries was a project Davis took on almost immediately after The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, and a little bit of the Matrix trilogy’s style can be heard rubbing off on the epic music for the fictional (but educational) documentary about a crewed space mission spanning the entire solar system, from Venus to Mars. I’m particularly fond of this oddball piece of television and its fantastic score, so if you’re looking for an endorsement, just know that I ordered this one immediately.

Video courtesy Mike Combs

In fact, thanks to BSX’s policy of making a digital download (with a PDF digital liner notes booklet) available immediately upon purchase, I’m listening to it right now before the CD even goes in the mail. Each of the three BSX titles have very limited print runs: only 500 copies each. (I have it on good authority that Space Odyssey’s down to 499 already.)

Varese Sarabande has another of its expanded deluxe releases on tap, and this one is both movie music and rock ‘n’ roll. The new single-disc release of music from The Buddy Holly Story offers previously unavailable film versions and alternate versions of songs featured in the film, with songs performed by Gary Busey (in character as Buddy Holly), Jerry Zaremba as Eddie Cochran, and Gailard Sartain as the Big Bopper (hellooooooo, baby!)

Finally, exciting news of an upcoming digital-only release on the horizon, one that will make Star Wars fans feel like they’ve just pulled off the galaxy’s biggest heist with their favorite smuggler. Composer John Powell posted a trailer on Instagram announcing the imminent release of over two hours of the complete, unedited (!) score from Solo: A Star Wars Story, featuring the complete end credits suite and a wealth of other material not available on the previous single-disc-length release. Find me a Wookiee sidekick and count me in.

See? Something for everyone.

Also missing from Intrada’s 4-CD set, here’s the Robin Hood song you don’t remember by ELO’s Jeff Lynne.
Video courtesy Music From Movies