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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

CD REVIEW - Joe 90

Joe 90
Music by Barry Gray
Silva Screen SILCD1209
28 Tracks 78:22 mins

The latest in this great series of recordings from the 1960s Gerry Anderson shows is 1968's Joe 90, a series which didn't really do it for me, but which nevertheless had the usual high quality music present in other shows like Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet.
The Joe 90 theme, whilst not the classic that Thunderbirds is, still is a highly catchy tune, with guitar leading the orchestra, with Gray's trademark electronic touches well in evidence. If you don't immediately warm to the theme over the "Main Titles" you'll have plenty of opportunity to let it grow on you, as it appears in variations throughout the score. There's so much excellent music on display here that it's hard to single out any extra special cues. Really, more or less all of them have something to offer, but I would mention the Russian styled and martial music in "The Most Special Agent; the down-home banjo and comical moments of "The Race;" the easy listening source of "Double Agent Entertainment;" the suitably exotic touches to "Jungle Fortress;" the carefree tunes of "Dr. Darota's Alpine Clinic" and "Balloon Flight;" the Spanish guitar of "Porto Guavan;" the middle-eastern flavour to "King For a Day;" the fabulously punchy theme for "Mission tango 120;" the classical piano solo of "A Piano Recital by Igor Sladek;" the cool jazz theme in "Splashdown;" the suitably rousing "The Colonel's March;" the pseudo-Westernisms of "Lone Handed 90;" and the string and bass-lead variation of the main theme in "End Titles." And, as a bonus, the "Opening Titles," which features the main theme, shorn of its electronics, closes the disc.
As always in this series, there is a splendidly illustrated accompanying booklet, featuring Ralph Titterton of Fanderson's episode guide, plus the first part of a feature on the "Barry Gray Orchestra," and a detailed breakdown of the musicians who performed on these recordings.
Another superb entry in this splendid series, and I'm still hoping for a Stingray compilation in the not too distant future.


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